Review Summary: An album that starts off with a lot of potential but whittles it away with every passing minute.
Bring Me The Horizon have consistently been a target for mass hate and criticism since their inception and the release of their debut music video Pray For Plagues. The band has been hated on for their generic music, image, persona and the fact that their vocalist gargles mindless nonsense in quite possibly the worst screamed vocal passages of all time. Since then things proceeded to go down hill some more with the infamous incident involving Oliver Sykes supposedly smashing a bottle over a girl's head after she refused to perform oral sex on him, and then pissing on her, and of course the release of their sophomore album that is notorious for being absolutely appalling. Following Suicide Season and the accompanying remix album the band released the only album in their discography that is considered by the majority of people to be worth any money whatsoever, and are gearing up to release their fourth album Sempiternal.
Count Your Blessings is an album that got its name from the lyrics to the hit song Pray For Plagues and is the closest the band has ever been to being pure deathcore. The album mixes dense but simplistic instrumental work with clear production values and a mixture of low grunts and high shrieks throughout its forty minute duration. The band were under constant label pressure during the writing sessions for this album and therefore the songs were produced considerably faster than the usual time frame for writing an album, and was recorded in Birmingham despite the band's complaints that the scenery there would distract them due to the studio being directly in the middle of the city, with various entertainment sources located around it. Some could go as far as to say that the album was set for failure before it was even released but the band persevered and in 2006 Count Your Blessings hit the shelves. To promote this album Bring Me The Horizon released two singles of which history speaks for itself with the first of the two, the aforementioned Pray For Plagues, having enjoyed mass success among the commercial metal scene and made the band icons to scene kids everywhere unfortunately with 25 million views contributing to this.
The album itself revolves a lot around tremolo picking and quick alternation of two or three notes to create a feeling of intensity whilst the drums thunder along in an attempt to crush the listener's skull with heaviness. In reality this is all just a gimmick as the album is fast without any feeling of direction and quickly becomes dull after the first few songs. On top of this the album is plagued by an awful vocal performance and some terrible soloing that would feel out of place on any album by any band. The quick scaling solo found in the center of Pray For Plagues is the first of many examples throughout the album of why idiots like Lee Malia should not be allowed close to a fret board as this solo almost single-handedly ruins a song that has a few vicious riffs that are actually the best on the album. The vocal performance from Oliver Sykes is his best in terms of straight up aggressiveness but still falls miles short of the mark with some high screams that make Chris Barnes sound tolerable and lows that feel too forced and throaty as though he needs to stop to take a breath mid-word. It is obvious from his performance on this album that Sykes was pushing his own limited abilities as well and from the next album onward his vocals would only deteriorate further.
The first two songs on this album are actually rather listenable however and have a few points of merit. Pray For Plagues is the first song on the album and kicks it off to a decent start with a great faster section toward the end and some riffs that really stand out. The riffing on this album is too stale to really be memorable but on Pray For Plagues Curtis Ward obviously pushed himself to write a song that is at least partially cohesive. The riff that opens the song is a good enough one to kick-start the album and they are all rather great and even the break down on this song is actually really enjoyable. This album falls curse to one of the many flaws of most -core bands with the constant use of breakdowns that do not suit the music and feel forced in an attempt to be both catchy and heavy, and on most songs this really is a problem but Pray For Plagues makes good use of its breakdown to lead into the best section of the song. The second song is a shorter number that starts off very angry and fast and has a couple of decent riffs but is far below the caliber of the first song and grows boring after a couple of minutes which is unfortunate as it showed a little promise. This really is the problem with many of the songs that are over three minutes on this album because they do not need to be this long and have neither enough good ideas nor enough inventiveness behind the riffing to make the most of the time. The other songs on the album are all boring, chugging, breakdown-infested songs. It really is as though the band were only interested in writing songs that would be filler on other deathcore albums as they feel lazy and half-arsed without any real love put into writing them. Of the ten songs, two are instrumental numbers clocking in at under two minutes and both go absolutely nowhere and have no fresh ideas to break up the flow of the album as one would presume they would from reading that they are instrumental songs on the back of the case.
Bring Me The Horizon's much maligned debut has a few good points to it but is unfortunately weighed down by the abundance of filler and once it gets its two good songs out the way, it becomes an abominable snooze-fest that should be avoided. This is not the worst deathcore album ever and is certainly not as bad as the album the band followed it up with but the flaws are too numerous to avoid. There is not enough creativity behind the guitar work and the soloing is a travesty that involves re-hashing the same idea over and over again, before the solo ends and Oliver Sykes opens his big trap again. Bring Me The Hairspray failed with this album as should be expected from a band that gets this much hate.
haha funny you reviewed this, cause I just listened to it last week. Still, these guys are a bit over-hated, but still not that great though. Its better than Asking Alexandria, but anythings better than that shit.
I agree ChopSuey, they are too hated. All their albums are listenable in my opinion, even Suicide Season, they just aren't that great. I shall probably review their new one assuming that it doesn't get an influx of fifty reviews before I get chance when it's out.
And thank you TheBigLebowski. I put a fair bit of time into this one.
Spot on; the first couple of songs are actually really energetic, albeit sloppy, deathcore (guilty pleasures), but a full-length is unnecessary and grating. Have a pos, but try to break up your run-ons next time.