Review Summary: Count Your Blessings stands out among most deathcore as being considerably better written, with some cool riffing and the occasional great lead fill, as well as a far better vocal performance than on anything else the band has done, but is unfortunately p8 of 10 thought this review was well written
Many people seem to have heard the name Bring Me The Horizon and almost everyone has one of two opinions on the band. They either absolutely worship the ground the band walks on, or else they consider them the largest abomination to touch the music industry aside from Asking Alexandria, Emmure and Blood On The Dance Floor. The band initially grew themselves a significant amount of people in each bracket for the release of their first single, Pray For Plagues, and the accompanying album, entitled Count Your Blessings. Ever since this album, the band seems to have never been able to recover their reputation, no matter what they do, despite the fact the album wasn't all that bad in the first place.
Ten songs make up this deathcore debut from Bring Me The Horizon, and whilst the majority of them follow the same structure (fast riffing, slow breakdowns, quick lead fills scattered throughout), they are a surprisingly strong set of songs. There are a few shorter cuts such as heavy instrumental track Slow Dance and A Lot Like Vegas, both of which have almost a grindcore song length, and there's even a clean instrumental that takes up the penultimate slot on the album. Only two tracks surpass the five minute mark, so the tracks are all relatively short and therefore easy enough to digest in a small space of time. This is also an album that is rather heavy for much of its duration, straight from the introduction of Pray For Plagues through to the closing minutes of Off The Heezay. So for those looking for just a good album to headbang mindlessly do, this should tick all the right boxes.
The riffs on Count Your Blessings are its strongest point by a long shot, and are incredibly strong for a deathcore outfit that is almost universally hated on. The guitar work here uses a lot of techniques, such as an influx of pinched harmonics on several songs, the occasional trill, many hammer-ons and pull-offs and some slow sweep picking in the solo to Pray For Plagues. This album primarily thunders along at a quick pace, but there is at least one breakdown per song (usually two or three) that helps break up the flow of the album and make it easier to take in, so as not to overwhelm the listener. Highlights in the guitar department would be the introductory section to Pray For Plagues, which straight away shows a good musical knowledge in how to write a fast but enjoyable riff; several of the riffs to Liquor & Love Lost, including the one at around 45 seconds, and the great use of hammer-ons throughout For Stevie Wonder's Eyes Only.
The other members of the band do not slack on Count Your Blessings either, and this is perhaps Oli Sykes' finest hour. This is a far cry from the half-shouted style of screaming he would use on later albums, and he sounds more like a black metal vocalist than anything else for the majority of this. Tell Slater Not To Wash His Dick gives a great inclination as to the monstrous presence that Oli provides behind the microphone on this release, whilst For Stevie Wonder's Eyes Only shows off some great lows and even occasionally dips into the half-shouted style he uses on their other albums to a much better effect. The drumming is varied here, with some thrash beats, blast beats, groovier beats during the slower sections, and the usual breakdown beats that the guitars will follow during those sections very well. The bass is near enough inaudible, but it is there and with a trained ear it can be heard, and essentially just creates another backdrop for when the guitarists occasionally take a break from playing as fast as possible.
The main problem with Count Your Blessings is the exceedingly immature lyrical content, with lines such as "I'll take everything you f*cking bitch". What makes this even worse is that the last word carries over into a breakdown so as to put a greater emphasis on it, and it really detracts from the serious nature that the heavy tones would imply. "I will dance on your f*cking grave" is another perfect example of how immature Oli is throughout this record. He has a fascination with the use of the F-word and is not afraid to show it at every given moment. Other problems that could be highlighted is that this is not exactly original in any way, shape or form, and that the clean instrumental song does nothing for the album. The songs here still suffer from being breakdown infested but they are a lot better executed than many other deathcore bands could achieve and therefore sound a lot better.
Count Your Blessings is a fantastic debut from Bring Me The Horizon but unfortunately it is plagued by the immaturity throughout in the lyrical department. One thing that always perplexed me is the fact that the production here is as tight as can be, whilst on the follow-up album the production values were massively decreased, but that is neither here nor there. The riffs here are fantastically written, the other members of the band more than keep up the pace, and this is generally a great album for those just looking for a heavy and enjoyable selection of metal tunes.