Formed in Sheffield back in 2004, Oli Sykes and the lads have been raising more eyebrows than The Rock since their debut “Count Your Blessings”…their early energetic deathcore assault was ambitious, and their youthful vitriol and intensity was applauded, but the recklessness and inexperience that came with it drew criticism. Over the years that have followed however, BMTH have gradually toned down their initial brutality, becoming a household name in UK metal in the process, and also one of the fastest rising bands in recent times…but there’s only so far you can really get in metalcore; so in 2015 the band decided to split opinions even further. “That’s The Spirit” was a total departure from their original sound as they’d now started incorporating more electronica and pop production…alienating some fans and metal purists, but finding themselves riding high in the UK charts. Some people don’t like change, but the band are now bigger than ever as they continue down this path, releasing their latest album “amo”…the Marmite of the UK metal scene, or under-appreciated genius? Let’s find out…
The album opens up with an appropriate forewarning entitled “I Apologise If You Feel Something”, and while already a well-executed anti-ballad, it also doubles down as an ironic jab at their critics. A case of sorry / not sorry as they continue to explore new sounds and arrangements, moving further away from their heavy roots, emphasised by the soft, echoing synths and hushed vocals; a cleverly confrontational start. This though is followed up by lead single “Mantra” and the lads are back on anthemic form. Keeping in line with the previous albums sound, the vocals are clean, there’s all of the groove and an incredible hook through the chorus. Despite the heaviness of the lead riff and the pounding percussion at times this is polished with a rich pop production quality and it sounds HUGE.
It’s this type of production that upset so many metal fans last time around, and unluckily for you things haven’t changed a bit this time round either…”Medicine” is oozing the influence that LINKIN PARK had Oli growing up as it blends rock and electronica with a subtle R’n’B vibe, it’s easy to imagine Mike Shinoda guesting on this one. “Sugar Honey Ice & Tea” returns to a more guitar driven core sound but retains the accessibility of the bands recent musical direction, and though while ironically “Heavy Metal” again has some surging guitars it’s far from abrasive.
The majority of this record is comprised of a band happy to experiment and explore; with the album unafraid to shake things up stylistically. With the sweeping, elegant string sections of closing track “I Don’t Know What To Say”…the trance / hard house qualities of “Nihilist Blues” bringing out your inner raver, and the dark, low-fi grime influenced street ballad that is “Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down?” all take the band on different musical directions and it makes for a roller coaster of a listen. Even though on face value BMTH have stayed on this, mainstream path, the evolution is still there for all to see…they have no shame in trying new things, toying with new styles and crossovers and frankly that’s how it SHOULD be. Too often we’re hypocritical of the current scene we’re meant to uphold…band does the same thing over and over? Boring, stagnant, dull…band changes up their sound as they grow as artists? BOOOO traitor! You sold out! You’re meant to be a rock band! Bring Me The Horizon in their current guise might not be for everyone, I totally get that, but what’s wrong AT ALL in one of our own going out there and fucking owning it? Nothing, that’s what…well done lads, shots have been fired.