If you’re a follower of heavy metal in all its forms and you haven’t heard of Bring Me the Horizon, then you’ve clearly been hiding under a rock for the best part of five years. The five-piece from Sheffield crashed onto the scene with 2008 release Suicide Season and immediately divided opinion across the board, with views ranging from the diehard lovers to the extreme haters. Even now, a single post about them on the internet can kickstart a maelstrom of comments that praise them one moment and attack the band (and in particular frontman Oli Sykes) the next.
Not that they care too much, mind you. Their last album There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret received critical acclaim from the vast majority of reviewers and led to a high profile tour supporting Bullet for My Valentine and a spot on Machine Head’s ‘Eight Plague Tour’ after DevilDriver and before the headliners themselves. And now their fourth effort Sempiternal is about to drop, with an international release date pushed forward from April 29th to April 1st.
Unfortunately, for the people who try pathetically to voice their negativity on forums and social networks, BMTH aren’t about to leave the music scene just yet and for two very good reasons. Firstly, they’re enjoying what they’re doing and secondly, they have produced an album of such quality and excellence that it will appear in ‘Album of the Year’ lists come the end of 2013. I’m not joking, Sempiternal is a masterpiece and has shown to the world that BMTH have found another gear to propel themselves above the lofty heights set by There Is A Hell… and into the metal stratosphere. From the moment ‘Can You Feel My Heart?’ kicks in and right up until ‘Hospital for Souls’ dies away, the band show no mercy in proving to everyone why they are head and shoulders above their competition right now. Credit must also go to producer Terry Date and mixer David Bendeth, because one of the strengths of the album is just how MASSIVE it sounds from start to finish. The band are maturing and evolving perfectly: they’ve taken the best of There Is A Hell… and moulded it into something completely fresh and modern. Oli Sykes is improving as a frontman all the time and his diversity is clear to see: from the angry protests in ‘The House of Wolves’ and lead single ‘Shadow Moses’, he also shows off his more tender side with an almost entirely sung performance in ‘And the Snakes Start to Sing’, which is nailed with the highest precision possible. Speaking of precision, we also cannot leave the rest of the band unmentioned: they are as tight as a nut and so crushing it’s staggering that you can get so much force out of a guitar and drumkit. The inclusion of Jordan Fish on keyboards and programming has also been a total success, giving an extra dimension to an already impressive arsenal of musical talent. True, the dispute over how much was provided by former guitarist Jona Weinhofen will continue, but that’s insignificant in the long run.
Best of all though is the lyrics. Some of the words that come out of Sykes’ mouth are simply phenomenal. The aforementioned ‘The House of Wolves’ informs us all that ‘when you die the only kingdom you’ll see is two foot wide and six foot deep‘. ‘Shadow Moses’ is a defiant stand against everyone who has tried to trip the band up, saying ‘Can you tell from the look in our eyes? We’re going nowhere!’. But for sheer anarchy and fury, ‘Antivist’ takes the cake and eats it as well – ‘Middle finger ups/if you don’t give a fuck/I’m sick to death of swallowing/every single thing I’m fed’ making way for the simply outrageous ‘You can say I’m just a fool that stands for nothing/Well to that, I say you’re a c**t!’ – there are moments throughout the entire album where you’re left fired up and wanting to throw a chair across the room before being left stunned into calm and silence the next, such is the awesome power of the lyrical content.
Put simply, Bring Me the Horizon are going to be one of the biggest bands on the planet by the time 2014 rolls around, and they thoroughly deserve to be. This isn’t just an album – this is a leviathan that will knock every single listener for six and hopefully make some of them realise they should have listened to them earlier on in their life. Utterly astonishing in every single way. 9.5/10
Oli Sykes – lead vocals
Lee Malia – lead guitar
Matt Kean – bass guitar
Matt Nicholls – drums
Jordan Fish – keyboards, programming
1) Can You Feel My Heart?
2) The House of Wolves
3) Empire (Let It Sing)
5) Go to Hell, For Heavens’ Sake
6) Shadow Moses
7)And the Snakes Start to Sing
8) Seen It All Before
10) Crooked Young
11) Hospital for Souls