LIVE: Bring Me The Horizon @ PRYZM, Kingston

By Adam Rosario

Independent record stores are fast becoming the lifeblood of physical music media, with unique variants only being available at certain stores, exclusive shows and signings and, in more recent times, hosting online Q&A sessions. Tonight sees one of the biggest bands in the country take to the stage twice in one night to perform their latest EP in full for a local record store. Yorkshire’s Bring Me The Horizon are fast becoming one of the most creative bands from this country, with their latest offerings taking in everything from their back catalogue, blending it, and resulting in a release that Linkin Park would’ve been proud to put their name to.

‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ is Horizon’s first step into a new style of releasing music. With plans to release four EPs that make up ‘Post Human’, ‘Survival Horror’ is the opening offering, and proves to be their heaviest release in eight years. Released in digital format only in November 2020, it debuted at number five in the official UK charts before being physically released in early 2021 and going straight to number one. These two sets tonight played their part, announced during physical release week, fans could buy a physical variant and a ticket for the show together for a very kind price. Both sets sold out within an hour of release, unsurprising given BMTH are fresh off of the first full arena tour of the pandemic, selling 63,000 tickets for those dates. Punktastic were in attendance at Pryzm for the first set of the night in this overly intimate venue for a band of this size.

To start, BMTH play the record in full. ‘Dear Diary’ gives guitarist Lee Malia full licence to riff, harking back to their early days as a deathcore band, and frontman Oli Sykes releasing full guttural screams, his vocal cords all but ripping themselves from his tattooed throat. BMTH have become a band who look genuinely happy to be on stage, and tonight they wear big smiles throughout the opening song, gazing out at the carnage that is ensuing in front of them. ‘Parasite Eve’, was the first single to be released from this EP, and has clear pandemic influence. Having been the song that the fans have had longest, the singalong is almost deafening, feeling very poignant for where we currently stand as a human race. With restrictions having been all but lifted, “When we forget the infection / Will we remember the lesson?” in particular is a lyric is very true to the world right now.

‘Teardrops’ is quite clearly the highlight of the night, though. Leaning very heavily on the Linkin Park influence, this track would not sound out of place on ‘Hybrid Theory’ or ‘Meteora’. Baring his soul, Oli Sykes delivers his lyrics with venom. ‘OBEY’ follows, complete with Yungblud’s vocals being played on a backing track, which is feels a bit flat after his surprise appearance at the O2 Arena to close BMTH’s tour. The band become very flat during this part of the set, seemingly unsure about what to do in the absence of Yungblud, before locking back in to finish the track. ‘Kingslayer’ also features Babymetal’s vocals on a backing track but, in contrast, this song still sounds massive. If and when BMTH can play it with Babymetal on stage with them, it has the potential to go down as their best live track, but for tonight, ‘Kingslayer’ is clearly the highlight of the record, mixing the big chorus with the growls and an over the top anime feel, the band have crafted one of the most mental songs but also one of their best.

‘Ludens’ from the Death Stranding video game is another welcome addition to the group’s setlist, taking cues from Billie Eilish before crashing into one of the best breakdowns they’ve ever written. The band close this portion of the show with ‘One Day the Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death’, which shows the growth that Sykes has been through as a singer. From a teenager who just wanted to scream so he could be in a band, to a man who can pull heartstrings with just clean vocals, Sykes has grown into one of the most versatile frontmen this country has to offer.

With the EP played in full, front to back, the band then treat the crowd to some of their biggest hits. ‘MANTRA’ opens this encore of sorts, bringing screams from the crowd, before new single ‘DiE4u’ is aired. From the next release of ‘Post Human’, ‘DiE4u’ points to a more pop sound, bringing the big synths and falsetto vocals from Sykes, but with a chorus which is stadium ready. BMTH prove once again why they are one of the most creative bands in the country. ‘Drown’, which was initially met with scepticism upon its release, is now an anthem for fans and is a song so versatile that it works in an arena setting as well as it does in a small nightclub like tonight.

Bring Me The Horizon close their set with energy, crashing through ‘Throne’ and ‘Can You Feel My Heart’, before exiting the stage, to do it all over again. After their sold out arena tour, this show is further validation that the band are fully equipped to play any venue this country has to offer. Sold out shows up and down the country and the demand for tickets tonight proves that they are at the peak of their powers. It feels genuinely amiss that they have not been given the opportunity to headline a full festival yet. Bring Me The Horizon are a band who have become can’t miss – a band who are guaranteeing the fans at least a spectacular show, and they duly delivered. The future is bright for the band, who are basking in the light of the present. Now. Someone put them on a main stage at a festival on a Saturday night, they’ll rise to the occasion and make it look as easy as playing a nightclub in Kingston.