Review Summary: So complacent it hurts.
Using change as a synonym for selling out is pertinent when discussing That's the Spirit
, because Bring Me the Horizon clearly want to evolve their sound and make a lot of money, too. That's not a cynical claim- after all, they saved money by having Jordan Fish work as a producer and used that leftover cash to fund a personal trainer- and I would go as far as to say it's the right move for Bring Me the Horizon at this stage in their career. Sempiternal
and There is a Hell...
moved the band so far away from their erstwhile obnoxiousness that it was worthy of some commendation. That being said, Sempiternal
's underdog narrative was held upright by the scope of its ambition, flawed and impressive in equal measure. That's the Spirit
doesn't make much of a case for relevance because it's not prepared to fail; it's happy to see itself carried on up the charts on the strength of its simplicity.
In that sense, That's the Spirit
is successful by design, a product so friendly it's hard to say it's ever particularly poor; in a word, it exists. That's apparent in its choice of lead singles, "Happy Song" and "Throne", where you'll get little else to accompany the anthemic intent. The production is clean, the synths shimmering, the guitars weaving in and out of standard rhythms and serviceable vocal hooks ('Throw me to the wolves', while competent enough in its wording, is a particularly apt showcase for the lack of content to be found). The calculated and tasteful formula doesn't relent and rarely incites anything beyond an ear-worm here and a toe-tap there; where Sempiternal
made headway towards maturity with its amalgamating metalcore with other pop experiments, That's the Spirit
is unashamed in its desire to ape the aesthetic of Linkin Park circa Meteora
or '90s Metallica. Mutt Lange famously rationalized to Def Leppard that arenas and sports fields weren't built for cavernous and labyrinthian song structures; clearly thinking likewise, there's nary a moment approaching "Hospital for Souls" to be found here. Instead, you get "Run", a competent little ditty that inoffensively marries Oli Sykes' angsty shout to a radio conscious rock sound. That's the Spirit
is so content to flit away from excitement and into complacency it hurts; you almost want Bring Me the Horizon to trip up on their material, if only because then the element of excitement may come into play. It doesn't, and what we're left with is That's the Spirit
, the most soundly generic rock album you'll hear this year.