Review Summary: Not for fans of the previous shit that was BMTH, but more-so for fans of singing, emotional charged lyrics, and post-rock influenced metalcore. This album isn't quite worthiy of a 4, but is great in its improvement on the past releases, which were purely
A wise man once showed me the secret to the evolution of music, rock music in particular. He said "Over time, rock music will continually switch from being about the message behind it, to revolving around the true talent of the artists. Neither of the two is more right or wrong than the other, but that is the natural progression of [rock music]."
While that is a perfect description, there are some degrees to which an artist can succeed or fail when attempting to create music to fit the current standard of the respective time. In the past, the UK's Bring Me The Horizon has fallen flat on their faces in attempts to see mainstream success and to develop a fan base other than the usual "Hot Topic Breakfast Club." However, as reluctant as I was to listen to another release from what I had previously dubbed "an abysmal excuse for a metalcore band," I listened to Sempiternal. What I heard was not typical of BMTH, nor typical of most of the Hot Topic elevator music that one can hear from the next 3 stores over in any mall in the country. What I heard was new, emotionally-driven rock music, with hints of metalcore influences (e.g: breakdowns, screamed vocals). It seems that a transformation has come for this band, and it's definitely a step in the right direction.
The album opens up with a very tasteful electronic synth melody, and a powerful vocal delivery on "Can You Feel My Heart." Something to be noticed here is the new approach front-man Oli Sykes has taken to his vocals. Gone are the days of screeching and death-growls, as we now hear emotionally charged guttural yell/screams, accompanied by a new found passionate singing element. The vocal performance on this album is, aside from the change in overall style, the main point that contributed to the major improvement that is Sempiternal.
Overall, the change in style from BMTH is a great one; transforming from a band that relied on fast-paced blast beats and vocals that could be likened to the sounds of a cat being placed into a blender, into a powerful rock/metal blend. There are still overused and cliche generic metal concepts in Sempiternal: chug patterns, breakdowns, and overuse of the word "***," but the pros definitely outweigh the cons in the big picture. The album has its great high points; singing, non-formulaic song structure, (mostly) emotional and well written lyrics, but it is not perfect. Each of the songs on the album are, for the most part, memorable and meaningful. However, there is still a song that seems to have been written for the fans of their earlier work, "Anti-Vist," in which Oli opens with "Middle fingers up, if you don't give a ***." This song is just pure aggression, with no lyrical sense of maturity of creativity shy of what an angry middle-school anarchist could write, coupled with the inclusion of the ever popular "cunt," for extra vulgarity. The album closes on a high note, however, in the apex-building "Hospital for Souls," arguably the most passionate, emotional song on the record. Where "Anti-Vist" basked in immaturity, "Hospital for Souls" nearly makes up for it in depth and powerful lyricism. The album opens, and closes on a high note, which- to a degree- shadows the mishaps that occur in between the bookends.
Overall, BMTH has progressed in leaps and bounds from the terrible albums that were Count Your Blessings and Suicide Season, and become a band that has some serious potential, if they continue to improve in the direction they seem to be heading.