Review Summary: That's the Spirit is too busy filling its bag with water, it doesn't notice the giant hole at the bottom.
In 2013 Bring Me the Horizon broke the collective consciousness of millions in the Rock and Metal community; Sempiternal was the band's biggest release to date, an album with solid structures, accessibly catchy choruses and generally a step closer to a sound that caters to a mainstream audience but also maintaining the bands core heavy sound. The band have since gone on to enjoy success from the positive consensus the album brought, selling out arenas like Wembley stadium. And if you look a these guy's from their early years and the divide they created in the metal underground, many wouldn't have bet money on them selling out arenas like Wembley stadium.
Love the band or loathe them, they certainly know how to experiment with their sound. Every album has always brought a different dimension to their sound, but, whatever your favourite album is from these guy's previously, the band's discography has generally always kept that same "something" in all their albums that makes you recognize it's them. Unfortunately That's the Spirit
goes too far to the left and loses a lot of what makes BMTH, well, BMTH. This album is largely pop orientated, with Oli using his whiny, melodic singing, rather than his harsh vocals, as the guitars are overshadowed by Fish's keyboard throughout the entire album..
I personally have no issues with a band pushing the boat out and creating something completely different, as long as it's done right. With that said That's the Spirit
's biggest problem is that it isn't done right, and suffers from being mundane, with songs feeling stretched a little too thin. The LP's 11 tracks only have a couple of tracks that manage to stand up and say what they need to in the right way: Oli manages to bring some genuinely nice and infectious melodies to first single "Drown" and the opening track "Doomed", while the music just so holds its weight in water. Musically, however, the album is rather boring and forgettable, with the exception of "Blasphemy" which has some really nice guitar sections, and brings some really nice experimentation to the song.
The biggest problems lie in the albums simplicity. As previously said, the guitar and drum heavy sound of the old days has well and truly sat at the back of the room. The album fires wave after wave of synth-pop, and the occasionally memorable ambient sprinkles to help link compositions and bring a certain mood to tracks -- again, "Doomed" and "Blasphemy" are the only two that successfully manage to bring the right ideas to the table with a pay off at the end of it. So what you're left with for the rest of the album is a record that lays to waste; rarely does anything jump out at you, and you're left looking at tracks like "Happy Song" and wondering why a 4 minute song feels like its 8 minutes. And it's basically down to its repetitive song structures that play over and over again. It's also worth mentioning Oli's lyrics this time round are awful: angst riddled dog sh*t that offers little for the band other than self-destruction. "True Friends" opening vomit inducing melody is further plagued by Oli pouring out lyrical garbage like:
"I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was you,
Cause' I’ll forget but I’ll never forgive you,
Don’t you know, don’t you know",
True friends stab you in the front."
And you'll find crap like this more often than not.
It's a shame to see where the band have shifted with this LP. Listening to the album is like ordering the Wagyu steak at a fancy restaurant, only to realise it's nothing more than well presented plate of spam. This album reminds me a lot of the problems that plagued 30 Seconds to Mars' 2013 album Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams
, which had little to offer other than the hope of reaching a wider audience. And while That's the Spirit
isn't pretentious like LLF+D, and has the odd rare moment of enjoyment here and there, it is ultimately the same shallow and contrived experience, with no intention other than drawing in a broader audience. And the sad thing is, BMTH will no doubt succeed in cashing in on this dull collection of songs.