Review Summary: British metalcore act Bring Me the Horizon ride a haphazard and inconsistent path towards progression.
Oli Sykes, the lead vocalist of Bring Me the Horizon (BMTH), described his band’s third full-length release, There is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep it a Secret,
as a concept album; one that explores the themes of heaven, hell, and humanity. Due to its range of influences and experimentation, the record provides a heavily enigmatic listen. With so much on the table, it can be difficult sorting out everything contained within the album’s 52 minutes. Ironically, There is…
is more easily broken down and digested when using the same themes that Sykes probed while writing lyrics.
- Out of all the members of the band, Oli Sykes is the weak link in There is…. Let’s be honest, famed producer Fredrik Nordstrom (Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth) could only do so much. For most of the record, Sykes’ unorthodox vocal style slowly wears down the listener like sandpaper on wood. Despite being contained within the best track on the album, the first verse of “It Never Ends” features the first of many inappropriate screaming sections from Sykes. The best example of these gaffes, however, comes in the low-tempo “Don’t Go,” which starts with a melancholy violin and some light electronic effects, then builds into the first verse where Oli’s shrieks could only be more out of place at a funeral.
- ”Alligator Blood” represents all that is wrong with Bring Me the Horizon. Apparently the guys didn’t think they appeased the scenesters enough with the rest of the album, so they threw in this song, which I can almost be sure is a Suicide Season reject. It unfortunately brings back the unending chug-a-lugga-lug guitars, the awfully cheesy gore-driven lyrics, the unjustifiably pointless and stale breakdowns, and the indifferent song structure that plagued their previous work.
- ”Blacklist” and following track, “Memorial” are truly a combo from hell. Although a lot of the songwriting on It Never… is solid, I have no idea what the band was thinking when they hammered out these two. “Blacklist” is an awful attempt at a slower tempo headbanger. The four-minute (too long) song is painfully static; the only real variance from Oli ranting over the same boring guitar line is a completely uninspired faux-solo. “Memorial” (which is instrumental) provides a good break for the listener, but should have been shorter. It clocks in at 3:10, and is simply too repetitive to warrant such a long runtime for an electronic song.
- Although Fredrik Nordstrom did a good job cleaning up and tying together BMTH’s sound, there is one flaw that he (or perhaps the band") made that is unforgivable: the layout of There is… simply doesn’t feel right. Because of its length (6:20), dynamic structure, and fade-out ending, “Crucify Me” would’ve made a much better closer than any other track, yet it finds itself rather awkwardly opening the album. On the other end, closure seems to be provided at the completion of the next-to-last song, “Blessed with a Curse,” but instead BMTH hurl into their most chaotic spin, “Fox and the Wolf.” The polarity between these two tracks combined with the unnatural lack of a segue between them makes the latter feel completely irrelevant and sound more like a bonus track than anything. At only 1:43, it is much shorter than any other song on the album, and is also the biggest outlier musically. It probably should have either opened the album or been left out entirely.
- ”Visions” is a good microcosm of the enigmatic style BMTH possesses. It starts with a silly, out-of-place breakdown, then progresses through a decent verse and rallying prechorus that flows wonderfully into the catchy chorus featuring cleans from Sonny Moore. Lap two entertains a bridge, a breakdown, verse two, and another prechorus with a bit more start-and-stop than the first. But instead of diving back into the highlight chorus, they tease the listener by playing it without the vocals. The seed of doubt as to whether of not the full chorus would reappear is then planted along with another bridge (this time with some call-and-answer screams and gang vocals). Right as this seed starts to grow, the song twists wonderfully back to the payoff…then veers recklessly into a nonsensical breakdown, leaving the listener wondering what could have been had BMTH kept away from the metalcore drug of choice.
- ”Don’t Go” is the song that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Lyrically, it begins with the story of a kid being lured into the woods to be murdered with a scythe, but by the end, the male vs. female back-and-forth dynamic curiously ties it to a romantic relationship. The ambiguity is only multiplied by the presence of Sykes, who derails a good attempt at a slow, heartfelt ballad-of-sorts.
- Matt Nicholls is a pretty average metalcore drummer in There is…. He does an admirable job of pounding through a lot of up-tempo passages and throwing in some decent fills here and there, but never pulls anything eye-opening out of his sleeve. Likewise, the guitarwork found on this record is pretty standard for the genre. Although the riffing is a bit more tasteful and less like the rehashed garbage from Suicide Season, it’s still not anything I’d consider to be much more than above average. There are a few pretty short and unimpressive solos on the album, with the one in middle of “Blessed with a Curse” being far and away the best.
- Lyrically, Sykes has improved ten-fold, but that’s not saying much. He still suffers from frustrating unoriginality in seemingly random spurts, the worst of which coming in “Alligator Blood:”
”So put a gun to my head, and paint the walls with my f*cking brain.”
There are also a fair share of deep, thought-provoking lyrics that probably outweigh the poor ones. “It Never Ends” is the most consistent lyrically, and contains the lines:
“I've said it once, I've said it twice, I've said it a thousand f*cking times.
That I'm ok, that I'm fine, that it's all just in my mind.
But this has got the best of me, and I can't seem to sleep.
It's not cause you're not with me. It's cause you never leave.”
In the End:
- Not surprisingly, There is… receives a breath of fresh air from the vocalists who briefly take over Oli’s job. As mentioned above, Sonny Moore owns the chorus of “Visions.” The end of “Crucify Me” gives just a small taste of Lights, but her presence adds to the already compelling track, and she goes on to take a more prominent role in “Don’t Go.” Josh Scogin (The Chariot) appears in the whirlwind that is “Fox and the Hound.” Hands down, the best guest-spot on the album is provided by Josh Franceschi (You Me at Six) in “F*ck.”
- With blistering speed, a couple breakdowns, and lots of spastic fits from Oli, the first half of “F*ck” doesn’t separate itself much from the rest of the album, but the second half of the song completes the job. Around the two-minute mark, some keyboard symphonies pop up, leading to a sharp turn into a dark electronic passage where Franceschi soullessly speaks his lines. Then, out of nowhere, Franceschi and the music explode into a beautiful melodic finale.
- "It Never Ends” is simply the best song on this record. It contains a breathable dose of Oli, a choir in the prechorus, an oddly infectious chorus, a quick electronic break, several uses of keyboard symphonies, and the most consistent (and haunting) lyrics the album possesses.
- By taking on the job of producer, Fredrik Nordstrom was faced with the massive task of making Oli Sykes listenable. For the most part, he did a fine job. Sykes’ screeches are actually commendable in “Crucify Me,” and exude a good deal of emotion in (most of) “Don’t Go.” Nordstrom also helped the band show their experimental side with the ambient intros and outros that are found here and there on the album. These sections add some interesting elements and offer a break from the bedlam that is BMTH. The outros to “Anthem” and “F*ck” exercise extra significance, as they are used as a tool to provide a transition to the following track. In short, Nordstrom did an uncanny job of bringing everything (from choristers to melodic sections to Oli $@*& Sykes) together under the tent that is There is….
Bring Me the Horizon have actually (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) brought new blood into the metalcore genre with There is…
. Although it’s a strong effort as it stands, it could’ve easily been made better with a few changes. The album could’ve really shined had “Fox and the Wolf” either been the opener or been dumped, “Alligator Blood” and “Blacklist” been left out, “Memorial” been shorter, breakdowns been used more sparingly, and the band been more responsible in knowing the consequences of some of Oli’s parts. These issues hold There is…
back from heaven, trapping it in a musical purgatory.
It Never Ends, Crucify Me, Anthem, F*ck
|other reviews of this album|
Simon STAFF (5)
If there was ever a defining moment for the band, this is it....
Love it or hate it, it's still good....
A concept album that features a few good songs but unfortunately falls back to the bland o...
Bring Me the Horizon return with their most mature work to date......
BMTH tweaks their style with a much more matured Metalcore release....
A fantastic and highly varied display of metalcore mixed with other ideas that comes toget...
Bring Me The Horizon display some rays of brilliance on their third full-length, but it’...
Bring Me The Horizon's new album is an intense roller coaster ride, full of energy and hig...
Improvement, but only a minor onr...
I am the ocean, I am the sea...
While most people don't think this bands deserves the light of day, Bring Me The Horizon r...
Summarizing, “There Is A Hell…” is maybe not the best album from British band, but s...
Its no Count Your Blessings, but thank god it isnt another Suicide Season....
Sure, it’s fun for them that they can experiment with their sound. But I’ll be damned ...
You know what to expect from BMTH, Screaming, Breakdowns, and Dark lyrics. And this is wha...
Album Rating: 3.5
I know I'm really late on this, but I figured my take and setup were pretty new. I also apologize for the length.
This is the strangest looking setup for a review that I've come across in awhile. The
bullet points make it look neat and well organized, but on the other hand it makes
the review so bloated and overcomplicated. This breaks itself down too much and as
a result it's a lot to take in and process. I would not use this style ever again.
It's certainly an interesting format, but you did a pretty great job of describing the music, musicianship and themes, so have a POS.
Also I have yet to listen to this band though I have heard good things.
Really good review, like others have said; interesting format.
Have a pos.
If you're gonna listen to any album from this band Hernan, go with this one. Just a
heads up, they're a metalcore band and not exactly one of the best, and I don't
know how much you're into core bands man lol, but they're still worth a shot.
Hey Alex. I was actually mildly into Hardcore for a while, believe it or not. A lot of my friends enjoyed this band and often recommend them, I just never really got around to checking them out. But I really should for old time sake. It's been a while since I've listened to hardcore.
Album Rating: 3.5
"as a result it's a lot to take in and process"
As is the album. I tried to make the review follow a similar path of thinking as that of the record.
Album Rating: 3.5
"It's been a while since I've listened to hardcore."
BMTH is a little more obnoxious than most hardcore. Also, Oli is a terrible vocalist, I know that turns a lot of people off. And rightfully so.
@PaperbackWriter Hey man, I see you're also up at all hours lol. Yeah, I just wasn't
completely sure if hardcore was your area based on what you usually tend to review
is all haha.
I dont sleep much. And yeah, Alex, it has been awhile since I've listened to Hardcore music and I was never that versed in the genre. I was really into The Fall Of Troy, Botch and Fear Before The March Of Flames (When they went by that) for awhile though.
But yeah, I'll take your advice and start with this album. Just to see what my friends have going on and on about. Thanks, mate.
No problem dude. Honestly, I was never personally into hardcore and punk music really, I think it's just too fast paced for me. I mean there's exceptions like At the Drive-In and AFI, but those are special cases for me.
Album Rating: 2.5
great review, and yeah its format is interesting too...
the album isn't bad
Album Rating: 3.0
i don't like the band but great review anyway
Album Rating: 3.0
Very interesting review format, I actually like it quite a bit, and you did a great job of describing everything. Pos.
Digging: Shadow of Intent - Melancholy
Album Rating: 3.5
Cool format choice and well written. Pos.
Album Rating: 2.5
band still needs to get good
i liked the format of this review a lot, good review overall.
Album Rating: 3.5
Thanks to everyone for the compliments.
I don't intend on using this format for other reviews.
It'll be interesting to see with BMTH do with the album they're currently working on.
I read somewhere that they opened it with “Crucify Me” and closed it with “Fox and the Wolf" to switch up the normal metalcore thing of opening with a short and crazy song and ending with the long "epic" one.
Also, good review. I like this format lol
album is so awful