Bring Me The Horizon

amo

Written by: KW on 24/01/2019 20:21:42

Back in 2010, Linkin Park caused quite the stir in their fanbase with the release of ”A Thousand Suns”. ”Errr… what the fuck?”, were the very first words our editor-in-chief PP exclaimed in his review, a reaction to the drastic change in sound from the alternative rock/nu-metal roots that the massive fanbase had grown to love, to creating experimental electronic tracks. Now it seems it’s time metalcore-turned-almost-pop-rock giants Bring Me The Horizon (evident on their last record That’s The Spirit) to cause that very same confusion within their audience, or at least myself. However, where “A Thousand Suns” had a very original sound and interesting ideas, even though Linkin Park had all but abandoned their metal upbringing, this cannot be said for this new Bring Me The Horizon record titled “amo”. Granted, I didn’t exactly have the highest expectations going into this album after hearing the first few singles, but as it turns out, it is much worse than what little hope I had left for this band. Much, much worse.

If you’ve already heard the single “Wonderful Life” featuring Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth fame, with its nu-metal inspired, bouncy riffs and shouty singalong chorus, or perhaps the groovy pop-rock jam “Mantra” (that admittedly has grown on me quite a bit), and hoped there was still some balls left in this band on the rest of the album, you will be sorely disappointed. The former is quite clearly the heaviest of the bunch and, granted, a pretty decent angsty banger, but almost the entire rest of “amo” is a giant mess, seemingly put together by taking every trending mainstream top 40 sound and putting it into a blender of unbearable cheesiness. “In the Dark” has the most obnoxious, Ed Sheeran-esque funk guitar riff, only made somewhat listenable by the crunchy guitar tone and airy atmosphere in the choruses. “Medicine” incorporates synth basslines and electronic drumbeats with funky r’n’b verses that fall completely flat due to the heavily overproduced and whiny vocal delivery from frontman Oli Sykes. “Mother Tongue” follows somewhat the same aesthetic of delivering pop music without an ounce of rock feeling left, but turns the stomach-churning sweetness to sickening degrees, with tasteless background synths and one of the most uninspired choruses I’ve heard in recent memory, and the obligatory “whoo-ooa whoo-ooa” stadium chants that are only put in there for the inevitable sold out Wembley-show that this type of shift in style will of course trigger. It is the single worst track the band has ever produced; it is offensively bland, and I cannot fathom how anyone can tell me this is a good pop song when there are so many much better pop artists out there that actually try to push the genre forward rather than peddle the same old shit over and over again.

One of those better artists in my opinion comes in the form of Grimes, who has been producing interesting art-pop music for the last decade (recently, the fantastic industrial banger “We Appreciate Power”, which is incidentally heavier than almost anything found on this record), and Grimes also features on one of the most confusing moments on the record: “Nihilist Blues”. You probably won’t believe me when I tell you that Bring Me The Horizon also turned to ‘90s/early ‘00s eurotrance on this record, but that’s exactly what has happened. Pumping bass and bright, multilayered, raving synths take center stage here — bring your own glow sticks. But while this is truly one of the funniest tracks on offer here thanks to its sheer surprise-factor, it’s actually kind of enjoyable for what it is, and I would much rather the band take bold moves like this than hear them churn out another forgettable stadium pop song ever again. Another pretty bold move comes in the form of “Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down”, but this bastardization of rattling trap hi-hats, child choirs, mumble rap and dramatic synthwave just doesn’t work at all; hearing Sykes triplet rap like Lil Pump makes my skin crawl, but props for having the guts to produce something at least a little interesting all the same. “Heavy Metal” is a pretty cocky, no-filter dig at older fans expressing their dissatisfaction with the direction the band has taken lately. The disjointed, bassy riff and general sound design are actually pretty cool, but it’s hard to not get a bad taste in your mouth when Sykes decides to alienate the very people that brought him to this point in his career with the words:

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

Yeah, I keep picking petals

I'm afraid you don't love me anymore

'Cause some kid on the 'gram said he used to be a fan

But this shit ain't heavy metal

Sure, I am not a proponent of the entitlement that often comes from fans when these drastic changes happen, but this just seems petty. Well, at least the album ends on a good note, I guess; the cinematic epic “I Don’t Know What to Say” is filled to the brim with strings and dramatic sensibilities, but it once again just feels a bit out of place because of the wide range of sounds at play throughout the album. I am not against trying out new things at all (I actually commend it); the worst offenders are definitely the painfully generic, middle-of-the-road pop songs here. But this album is such a 180 in style that I feel like it’s not even the same people behind it anymore — there is almost nothing left from the carcass of their former self they left behind. Sometimes this can lead to better things in the future and keep a band from growing stale, and sometimes you end up becoming as musically insignificant and bland as Thirty Seconds To Mars is today. There are definitely moments here that work, but as an album this thing is all over the place and a chore to get through. “amo” might just be a completely confusing transition into something coherent in the future, but right now there is nothing more to say than: the King is dead, long live the… whatever the fuck this is.

4

Download: Wonderful Life, Mantra, Nihilist Blues
For the fans of: Don Broco, Gigi D’Agostino, Justin Bieber, Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds To Mars
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.01.2019
Sony Music Entertainment

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