Review Summary: A band that has grown leaps and bounds but is still held back by some immature moments
Much controversy was brought to Bring Me The Horizon following the release of their third album There Is A Hell because of the quality of that particular album compared to their others. Where Count Your Blessings had contained nothing more than stagnant deathcore attempts; the band actually created something listenable with TIAH. They then continued this on Sempiternal and the fruits of their labor turned out to be very sweet indeed. This is by no means a perfect album but is one with a lot of substance to it that deserves much of the praise it has garnered since it leaked two months early (fail on the band's part). But what is it that makes this such a good album compared to the previous piles of *** the band has put out?
For starters the vocal performance from Oli Sykes has gone from being the worst ever recorded to something that is not only listenable but outstrips many mainstream metal vocalists of today. And The Snakes Start To Sing is a song that makes heavy use of clean singing in its introduction alongside thought provoking lyrics that actually really suits this album. Quite why Oli has never used clean vocals in the past is beyond me because he really does put in a great performance on Sempiternal. His screaming is a lot more intense than on the past three releases (although he does not use gutturals as on their debut which is a sad loss). It is neither the overly high pitched style found on Count Your Blessings nor the over the top shouting style he took on Suicide Season and There Is A Hell but actually sounds very decent. Empire is a good example of this where he throws himself into the lyrics head first with some demented shrieks that actually have a lot of emotion behind them unlike the piece of *** vocalists on bands such as As I Lay Dying and Black Veil Brides; no disrespect intended to fans of either band.
The instrumental work does not have a whole lot of substance to it but still has a lot of impact. Bring Me The Horizon are not akin to many metalcore bands such as Asking Alexandria who over-use open strings to no effect whatsoever but actually work well together and craft a solid experience with some tight riffing. The House Of Wolves and album low point Anti-Vist both have fast-paced hardcore punk riffing that sounds like a much more refined version of some of the faster cuts off of There Is A Hell. The album opens up with a song that will shock almost everyone who has heard the band's previous works to the core. If you thought that Don't Go was the pinnacle of the band's experimenting then prepare yourself as Can You Feel My Heart actually has a lot of dubstep and electronic elements to it that cause it to stick out as one of the most unique songs the band has ever done. It is on this song that we first see the massive uphill climb in quality of the lyrics. Whilst there are still ridiculous moments such as "You say im a fool who stands for NUFFINK? Well to that I say you're a cunt" but for the most part the lyrical content has massively been improved. "I can't drown my demons; they know how to swim" was a personal favorite line. There is also the token anti-religious song found on the majority of modern metal albums in the song The House Of Wolves with a particularly memorable breakdown "and when you die, the only kingdom you'll see is two foot wide and six foot deep".
The real problem with this album is that; whilst it is definitely a massive improvement in terms of quality; it still feels just like the past album did-as though the band have not really pushed themselves enough. Sure, there are some fantastic songs on here with some cool riffing and brilliant lyrics but there are also the bags of *** the band is renowned for pumping out. Anti-Vist has some ridiculous lyrics and one of the most god awful vocal performances out there, Shadow Moses starts out promising but the last minute and a half of it let it down and Empire is the most drawn out songs ever. "*** your faith" Oli Sykes declares in one of the final songs of the album and it is by this time that you realize the man has not grown up at all and is in fact still immature as ***. This is still an excellent album however with some great songs that stand out; but also a couple of rotten apples.