Review Summary: Bring Me the Horizon return with their most mature work to date...
When Bring Me the Horizon released Count Your Blessings in late 2006, few would have seen the band’s brutal but generic brand of deathcore giving them much commercial success. But when the Sheffield five-piece returned with Suicide Season two years later, they found it with a change in melody and sound – gone were the piercing screams and brutal death-growls and in their place were more traditional metalcore vocals, electronic influences and melodic instrumentals.
And now another two years brings us to the group’s third effort There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret. The album title is derived from lyrics in the opening track Crucify Me, which is perhaps the most experimental Bring Me the Horizon song to date. The song features Canadian pop-star Lights, and her auto-tuned, electronic vocals give the song’s chorus an interesting sound, making this song one of the strongest of the band’s career. The vocal variation throughout the album is very notable, and this song shows it at its best, with all of the growls, shouts and singing displayed impressively.
Anthem is reminiscent of the band’s music from their previous album, and is a simple, but effective post-hardcore track. It leads nicely into It Never Ends, which is Bring Me the Horizon’s most significant single to date. The song is full of orchestrations (including a female choir and almost poetic spoken-word verse) before the chorus comes in with vocalist Oli Sykes screaming, “it never ends!” towards the end of the song. It is one of the most accessible songs of the group’s career and it should go a long way to ensuring healthy album sales.
Elsewhere, the band dabbles in guitar-driven ambient influences in the moody Blacklist and includes their custom instrumental in Memorial which is another keyboard-orientated song. F*ck features Josh Franceschi of alternative rock band You Me at Six and the song is another of the album’s highlights, featuring a brutal and expletive-ridden first half and a melodic, tuneful second. However, the album’s true gem lies in the emotional Don’t Go. The lyrics are some of the most personal and introspective ever written by the band and Oli Sykes and Lights (who features once again here, this time allowing her natural, soothing voice take over) turn in an inspiring and passion-filled vocal performance. The two work superbly in combination here and their duet-like singing of “tell me that you need me cos I love you so much” is beautiful.
However, the album is definitely not without its flaws. Despite There Is a Hell... being Bring Me the Horizon’s most consistent album so far, there are far too many songs towards the end of the record that are uninspiring and weak. Alligator Blood, for all its viciousness comes across as a poor attempt at a return to the band’s death metal roots. Lyrics such as “put a gun to my head and paint the walls with my f***ing brain” come across as ridiculous and trying too hard to conform to death metal stereotypes. Visions isn’t much better, and the band loses the melodic edge that makes the rest of the album such an enjoyment in the first place. Final track The Fox and the Wolf is as much of a disappointment, trying too hard to sound like guest vocalist Josh Scogin’s band The Chariot.
But despite these flaws, there is no denying that There Is a Hell... is Bring Me the Horizon’s best album to date. Everything is there to make what could have been a truly brilliant piece of work. If the band can build on this they will undoubtedly be a massive force to be reckoned with in the future.