Review Summary: BMTH tweaks their style with a much more matured Metalcore release.
I don't really like Bring Me The Horizon
, I won't lie about this. I considered Suicide Season
a confusing endeavor, and Count Your Blessings always sat as a little overrated in my book, and everything I've heard about the band itself ranges from nauseating to disturbing. All things considered, I didn't expect a good album from them any time soon, so I just chalked it up to me not liking the bands style.
Then I heard their single "F*ck". I have to be honest, that song alone arose interest in this release for me. So I held out, and waited, listening to "F*ck" several dozen times, and wondering what exactly it was about the song that was different from the rest of their work, and it finally hit me the other day at work. It's the guest vocals. The clean vocals meshed perfectly with their style, and made them sound respectable even given the cluttered layout of the song.
So now the album is out there, and since the name is kind of ridiculous I'll just abbreviate it as Hell...
for the remainder of this review.
1. Crucify Me
opens up with Crucify Me
which starts out with a rather melodic introduction that feeds straight into BMTH's metal "wall-of-sound" and Oli Sykes screaming like a maniac. Only about a minute into the song, the song features the first of many Electronic elements that are present on Hell...
and not even a minute later they are heavily used on the song's Chorus which is a rather melodic and slowed down affair featuring Canadian singer-songwriter Lights
. Upon first listening all I could say was; "Well this is new...", and to be honest it was a welcomed change. The incorporation of melodic and rhythmic segments in this album really help it out.
The song is also rather long clocking in at just over 6 minutes, but it doesn't get overly repetitive or thinly spread. It's actually one of the more enjoyable tracks on the album featuring a very unique feel and progression with a mixture of Metalcore, Electronic, and even Pop influences. The addition of Lights to this track was almost shamefully perfect.
Now generally speaking, Anthem tracks annoy the **** out of me. Once you've heard one you know exactly what every single one is going to be, from the sickening sing-along chorus to the nauseating upbeat energy. BMTH apparently felt the same way, so they decided to release a satirical Anthem track titled... Anthem
. Everything is cliche, and it's clearly intentional, but it's also kind of refreshing. It reminds me of the song Ad A Dglgmut
by Between The Buried And Me
, where they poke fun at modern metal bands with such lines as;
"It all makes sense... we're capable of beauty.
Through sounds which make one cringe.
A silent death, a silent scream...
You can't follow me, you sing along to nothing."
This is essentially the feel of the entire song Anthem
. BMTH might not have made a masterpiece, but they at least had fun making it, and that makes it a semi-respectable song in my books.
3. It Never Ends
It Never Ends
features a very odd introduction by BMTH's standards, but is one of the many songs to feature slowed down and echoed segments. The band doesn't really revolutionize, but rather masters their own style. It Never Ends
has a lot of Electronic sections and Bass Booms, as do most BMTH songs, but it sounds a lot cleaner and fresh. It doesn't build on a bland sound like most of the songs off Suicide Season
did. Around 3:30 there is a very nice breakdown that is almost beautiful in it's simplicity. Altogether this song continues to build towards what I consider the highlight track of the album, and continues to prove that BMTH have definitely improved on Hell...
Ah, the first song I heard from the album. This song alone really set the bar for this album. I almost wish BMTH could keep their music entact and mix in more clean vocals, because it really works. Sure, the song isn't as hardcore and pulse-pounding as their other tracks, but it is a lot more enjoyable and unique. Where their songs in the past just blended together and sounded the same, "F*ck" is hugely refreshing and unique by comparison, even given it's sometimes confusing layout and progression. It's not the greatest track I've ever heard, but it is very enjoyable.
5. Don't Go
opens with a rather cliche intro, and features Oli shouting over a combination of violin and drums. It slowly builds into a nicely melodic song with some very nice guest vocals from Lights. Although the lyrics are kind of weak, they fall into that category where you know they are kind of lame, but you still want to sing along. It kind of reminded me of Bullet For My Valentine, where their lyrics are severely elementary, but every time it's on in my car I'll be damned if I don't sing along. The song's slower pace might cause a lot of people to turn away, but with the vocals from Lights it's altogether a very solid track.
6. Home Sweet Hole
At a first listen you'd pretty much expect this to be a pretty straightforward track, but it has a few twists and turns. Firstly, the mixture of Electronic elements throughout help pace the song and keep things varied, and pseudo-breakdowns where first Oli stops yelling and recites his lines as a dull roar, and secondly where all sound fades out followed by a rather predictable bass boom. The song is pretty typical of the band, but it's a rather good listen, even with it's goofy anthem-esque sing-along hook.
7. Alligator Blood
Other than the confusing name this song is another good example of what the band is doing to switch up their sound. It strings together segments of their "wall-of-sound" guitar shredding with varying melodies. It shows that on Hell...
BMTH is taking a much more rhythmic approach to their songs, which greatly improves their listenability. This track does also start to feature the return of Oli's horribly mediocre growls.
Truth be told, this far into the album I was starting to get kind of annoyed by their sing-along chorus'. In just about every track they have echoed hook's that just start to blend together and annoy. But as I mentioned on Aligator Blood
we are re-united with the lesser abilities of Oli Sykes with some very irritating growls throughout the middle of the track. Other than that I really did like Visions
. It featured more rhythmic variation and electronic elements to help pace the song and keep it interesting.
starts out with a sole bass line and builds with a muffled guitar riff and some drum-work. Then it all goes into an Electronic blender with Oli's vocals. It's not necessarily a bad track, but it's very much different from most of the album. If I had to be honest, I do like this track because it slows down the pace of the band which is mostly just screamed vocals with a repeated guitar riff and juxtaposed continuous guitar shredding. BMTH's approach to mixing Electronic elements into their music both shines and fizzles on Blacklist
. I thought it was a great track, but I could easily see the opposite being true, where a lot of people will hate it.
Much like the previous song, Memorial
starts out very muffled, but this time with an Electronica-style intro that isn't immediately int erupted with an onslaught of noise. It's actually an interlude, but is curiously late in the album. That is actually one of the curious elements of this album, it seems mixed up. Not in the traditional sense where people will say the artist is confused or mixed-up artistically, I mean it feels like the tracks are out of order. "Blacklist" would make a great introductory track by some standards, and Memorial
would be much better in the middle of the album to kind of give the listeners a break.
11. Blessed With a Curse
Provided with a perfect transition courtesy of Memorial
, Blessed With a Curse
starts with the now standard progressive muffled build-up and timed entrance of typical BMTH vocals. But this track is different. Instead of cutting to a barrage of guitar and drums like we had seen on Suicide Season
, a more matured Hell...
features a rather melodic approach.
12. Fox And The Wolf
To prevent the album from ending after 8 minutes of slower-paced work, BMTH returns to their more energetic selves with Fox And The Wolf
. It's a rather generic BMTH song, but it has some pretty solid rhythmic elements and features a very forgettable guest appearance, but rather than dragging out the song is only 1:43 and ends rather abruptly. But let's be honest, nobody really wants to listen to 6 minutes of what can be heard on Fox And The Wolf
, so it's an almost fitting ending.
At the end of the album I was almost hoping for a more clear resolution, it had a rather sloppy ending, but as I said earlier, it really did feel like the tracks are unorganized in terms of their physical position on the album. If they had put more time into the orientation of the tracks, it could have easily improved the progression of the album. That's not to say Hell...
isn't a good album because of this, but it's one of the glaring flaws I could find.
BMTH isn't trying to revolutionize music. They are not trying to be the sound of a generation, they are just making music. But they are definitely getting better at it. Hell...
is infinitely better than their other work, and they are fighting an uphill battle for respect amongst most Metal fans, but if they keep growing at the pace they are, their next release should be great. As it stands, Hell...
represents great growth from a band that I honestly expected to continue turning out painfully mediocre work.