Review Summary: BMTH makes a significant change to their sound - and it's one for the better.
On the back of successful debut albums, bands can pursue different paths with their sophomore releases. Some continue in much the same vein, sticking for the most part to tried-and-tested winning formulas, while others take the riskier approach of diversifying considerably from the sound that brought them initial success. On Suicide Season, Bring Me The Horizon choose the latter option – and do so to devastating effect.
Far better production, more coherent songs, more experimentation with vocals and instruments – these are the hallmarks of BMTH’s second album. Blast beat drum beats and deathcore chromatic riffs are few and far between, while the strained shouting of Oli Sykes that only featured very sporadically on Count Your Blessings has become his prominent vocal style. It’s a change that might take some getting used to for fans of old BMTH, but it’s arguably one for the better.
Opening songs The Comedown and Chelsea Smile set the scene for the album, featuring heavy Slipknot-esque riffs marked by a huge guitar tone courtesy of Fredrik Nordstrom’s top-notch production. It is this, alongside Oli’s venomous vocals and Matt Nicholls’ busy yet precise drumming, that constitutes BMTH’s crushingly heavy ‘wall-of-sound’ effect that defines the record and is perhaps best exemplified on the pulverising Drop G duo of Football Season Is Over and Sleep With One Eye Open. It may take some getting used to, but it is well worth the rewards of discovering just how good an album this is.
The album is strong throughout, but towards the end the band really steps things up a gear. The anthemic Diamonds Aren’t Forever, now an absolute classic at live shows, features as many trademark lyrical trinkets as is possible to fit in one song alongside venomous screaming, breakdowns and tempo changes – and it works superbly. The Sadness Will Never End is a very melodic song by BMTH’s standards, starting with a beautiful ambient synth intro and featuring luscious clean vocals from Architects’ Sam Carter, both of which complement their trademark heavy sound to great effect. It is in the closing eight-minute long title track, however, that the band really shows what they’re capable of; guitars and synths are used in an incredibly powerful way to capture the raw emotion of the song as Sykes spills his guts with some heart-wrenching lyrics and sheer emotion in his vocals. The song really is a masterpiece, and the crowning piece of a brilliant album.
Suicide Season marks a significant change for BMTH and as such is probably an acquired taste; once acquired, however, the rewards are fantastic.