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Bring Me The Horizon’s sixth studio album ‘amo’ can fall under a plethora of genres — and that’s not necessarily a good thing. (Photo via @billboard on Twitter) 

Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon shows change doesn’t work for all bands on ‘amo’

Creating an album overwhelmed with EDM-based instrumentation, Bring Me The Horizon has indicated that its metalcore days are not sempiternal after all.

The English five-man band — previously known as a metal band but now create music that can fall under a plethora of genres — released its sixth studio album, amo, on Friday. Deviating from the band’s roots almost entirely, amo serves as a reminder all bands are bound to eventually experiment with their sound — and that it’s not always going to be good.

The band has been through a whirlwind since its last LP, That’s The Spirit, in 2015. Frontman Oliver Sykes announced his divorce from his first wife, model Hannah Snowdon, in 2016, after just a year of marriage. The following year, Sykes married model Alissa Salls. This eccentric album in amo exhibits the ups and downs of the past few years. It’s inevitable for musicians to experiment with their sound and attempt to create music that feeds their desire for change, but they have to be careful. Diverging immensely from what caused you to attain notability may earn you problems, especially when it sounds like this.

Sykes said in August 2018 that amo would be an album “that’s more experimental, more varied, weird and wonderful than anything we’ve done before,” and all but the last adjective hold as true. “why you gotta kick me when i’m down?” features monotonous, bland vocals; and although it includes thought-provoking lyricism, it’s entirely ruined by the dreadful instrumentation. “Ouch” hurts as much as the title expresses. It’s an ambient song that is set between two rock-laden tracks, and it just doesn’t make sense to be on the album at all. “Sugar honey ice & tea,” besides a roaring guitar line, lacks anything engrossing. Granted, there are a few tracks that are noteworthy for their profoundness, catchiness and overall likability. This goes to show Bring Me The Horizon is here to make music that, despite massive changes, can still capture the attention and love of many. Here is a breakdown of those standout songs:

5. “nihilist blues (feat. Grimes)”

The synths in the beginning may be off-putting, but the track gets better as it continues. “Nihilist blues” unveils Sykes’ genuine inner thoughts as a disconsolate individual. Sykes stated in an interview with NME that he doesn’t consider himself a nihilist, but he relates to a lot of notions associated with nihilism, including cynicism. Sykes can’t seem to understand the complexities intertwined in his thoughts, pleading: “paradise is in my soul and I’m terrified I can’t get out / I’m lost in a labyrinth / We are lost in a labyrinth.” The instrumentation during pop artist Grimes’ eerie verses is entrancing, and allows this unexpected yet delightful collaboration to wholly beguile listeners.

4. “heavy metal (feat. Rahzel)”

Ironically titled, “heavy metal” calls out hipster fans who oppose the band’s departure from its old metal sound. Backed by an invigorating guitar line and intricate synths, Sykes reveals he knows just how much fans despise the band’s new sound: “and I keep picking petals / I’m afraid you don’t love me anymore ’cause a kid on the ’gram in a Black Dahlia tank says it ain’t heavy metal / And that’s alright, that’s alright.” To put the cherry on top, Sykes screams “no, it ain’t heavy metal!” at the end of the track, implementing the heaviest vocals in a Bring Me The Horizon song in years. Put simply, the track is clever, well executed and riveting.

3. “wonderful life (feat. Dani Filth)”

Arguably the heaviest track on the album, “wonderful life” showcases grim lyricism, passionate vocals and a fiery guitar riff. Alongside “heavy metal,” irony remains an integral part of this track, with lyrics like: “I’m on the edge of a knife / Nobody cares if I’m dead or alive / Oh, what a wonderful life.” The rasp of Sykes’ voice is prevalent throughout the track, giving listeners a glimpse of reminiscence to the band’s older, heavier albums. “wonderful life” is a crucial reminder the band is evidently not finished producing aggressive music.

2. “MANTRA”

Released as the first single for the album, “MANTRA” ponders on the correlation between cults and toxic romantic relationships. Backed by roaring guitars — which remain prominent on the album even amid the excessive use of synths — Sykes asks listeners to cut ties with anyone who drags you down: “before the truth will set you free, it’ll piss you off / Before you find a place to be, you’re gonna lose the plot / Too late to tell you now / One ear and right out the other one / ’Cause all you ever do is chant the same old mantra.” The word ‘mantra’ is spoken by Siri, further elevating the notion of technology getting in the way of everyday life. The track is groovy and presents an alternative, intriguing viewpoint on the dangers of making unpredictable interrelations.

1. “mother tongue”

“Mother tongue” is a pop-rock song that Sykes told Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe is “probably the most gushing, out there, just straight up love song we’ve ever written.” Driven by luring piano keys, feel-good drumming and some of Sykes’ smoothest vocals to date, “mother tongue” is Sykes’ way of telling Salls, his wife, who is of Brazilian descent, to speak in her native language. The album’s title, amo, is part of the way to say “I love you,” in Portuguese, meaning Sykes is saying the language barrier between them doesn’t matter. He still loves her regardless, and nothing can ever stand between them: “so don’t say you love me; fala, amo / Just let your heart speak up and I’ll know / No amount of words could ever find a way to make sense of this, so I wanna hear your mother tongue.” The track may digress from the band’s old, lovable sound, but the adorable message and captivating instrumentation surrounding “mother tongue” makes it clearly the best on amo.

Rating: 6/10

@bre_offenberger

bo844517@ohio.edu

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