Review Summary: This album is fast and brutal, invoking elements from thrash, metal, hardcore and somehow making it all catchy. It suffers from a little bit of repetition, but that flaw is overshadowed by the superb musicianship of these British youngsters.
Bring Me The Horizon is one of those bands that you're either going to love or hate. You're going to think they're amazingly talented, or that a baby could play an instrument better. I've not really heard many opinions on this band that say something to the effect of "Oh...they're OK. Not bad." So, I suppose I'm going to have to fit myself into a category.
Personally, I think BMTH takes a lot of *** for the way they dress and the way they look. In a scene that is way too concerned about looks, the fact that their looks resemble much more "un-metal" bands like Escape The Fate or Silverstein is enough to turn off a lot of listeners. Couple that with the fact that they have lyrics like "Oh, if you need me/I'll be tying a rope to the tree/Where our love used to be" and most hardcore kids are going to be running the other direction.
However, when you actually listen to Count Your Blessings
, you'll realize one thing: Damn, these kids can shred.
From the opening track "Pray For Plagues," (one of the strongest songs on the album) it is clear that BMTH are anything but emo. Vocalist Oliver Sykes ranges from high-pitched black metal wails to the classic death-metal cookie monster growls. The guitars are brutal, distorted, and have the kind of fast-paced thrashery that cites influences from Swedish melodic death metal meistros In Flames and At The Gates. From there, on through the rest of the album, Bring Me The Horizon stays pretty true to form. Each track is seemingly more heavy than the last, with at least one breakdown in every song. The guitars stay fast, the drumming stays tight, and the vocals stay harsh. There isn't an ounce of singing anywhere on this record--something that should definitely separate out BMTH from many of their metalcore peers.
In my opinion, some of the strongest tracks on the album are "Pray For Plagues," "Tell Slater Not To Wash His Dick," "For Stevie Wonder's Eyes Only" and "Off The Heezay." With the song titles and some of the random interludes they have (such as the vocal "dun dun dun" in the background on "Off The Heezay") it is clear that Bring Me The Horizon don't take themselves too seriously. They don't sing about raping girls or going on pillaging or summoning Satan. Most of them are barely out of their knickers, and they're singing about what they know. Girls and partying. Even in "Pray For Plagues," which contains a few lyrical snippets that seem to allude to the Biblical plagues brought upon Egypt, there are still some parts about--you guessed it--girls. The lyrical content may be a little cliche, but it is overshadowed by the sheer brutality and presentation that Bring Me The Horizon has.
However, this album is not without its faults. For all of the breakdowns, heavy riffs, and technical guitar flourishes, this album suffers from a big lack of originality. It is hard for even the most seasoned metal/hardcore listener to differentiate between the tracks. Also, many times the breakdowns seem to be placed in odd areas, and seem to be somewhat pointless, with virtually no lead-in whatsoever. The album is also extremely short. With ten tracks, two instrumentals and a couple songs under the three-minute mark, Count Your Blessings
seems to end far too quickly.
All in all, this is an album that will appeal to a wide range of listeners, and it is easy to see why Bring Me The Horizon have gained all the popularity that they have. Granted, some of said popularity may be due to the "hotness" of the lead singer, but that shouldn't take away from the massive amount of potential that this band has. It's unclear whether or not the generic deathcore formula is going to allow for any longevity out of this band, but for now, they've succeeded with a strong debut.