Review Summary: If there was ever a defining moment for the band, this is it.
Bring Me The Horizon have literally morphed their sound from one extreme to the other as the years move on. If you line up the band's discography you'll see quite a startling change of sonic diversion. Starting off as a generic deathcore band, with an EP so raw and badly produced it sounded like they recorded it with a £5 computer headset microphone. Their first album was better produced (just), but the band seemed to be in limbo: anyone who didn't like deathcore hated it and fans of the genre condemned the band for spending more time on their hair than their music. The turning point came with 2008's Suicide Season
blending metalcore and melody; making real progress with their single "Chelsea Smile". In retrospect, BMTH adapt their influence to who is in the band at the time. After the release of Suicide Season
rhythm guitarist Curtis Ward left the band due to waning relationships with other members in the band, which brought in Australian guitarist Jona Weinhofen, best known for playing in I Killed The Prom Queen. Jona's stay was short-lived and would only lasting one album, but it would be the defining moment in their career.
Now, if you look at the member change of Curtis and Jona, to the firing of Jona and inclusion of Jordan Fish, the styles and influences dramatically change from album to album. And this is where BMTH's diversity and preference come into play. It's probably the main reason they've stayed so relevant over the years. And for me, There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret.
is undoubtedly the band's magnum opus. Jona's contributions to this album create a soundscape that pins its metalcore tag to the floor and brush several other styles over it: ranging from post-rock and punk, with a steady amount of electronic and ambient parts that create a spacey, Hollywood feeling.
There Is A Hell...
is by far the band's most experimental effort, as they throw loads of ideas at the album, honing in on what they've learnt and making ideas more effective. Breakdowns in particular are used to great effect, songs like "Anthem" and "Vision" place breakdowns at crucial moments, making them come across even more powerful; rhythms are all over the place, making their sound a little more intricate; but it's the David Gilmour guitar effects that push this band into a new ball game. The heavy rhythm section holds down a fat sound, while the guitars create a beautiful soundscape that make Oli's vocals and lyrics to songs like "It Never Ends", that much more emotional. The album's production is crushing and diverse: everything sounds chaotic and brooding -- tracks like "Alligator Blood" and "Blacklist" sound like they could bring walls down -- but the album's slow ballads of "Don't Go" and "Blessed With A Curse" don't go unnoticed either, and bring onion layers of emotion and melancholy.
This third effort follows the same trend as Suicide Season
and has several guest appearances from other musicians such as: Josh Franceschi (***); Lights (Don't Go, Crucify Me); and Josh Scogin (The Fox And The Wolf) to name a couple. But the album has had a lot of hands in the pie, with guest spots from other musicians, programmers and producers such as Skrillex who does programming and backing vocals for the track "Vision". This is where the album comes out a little bumpy. While I hold this album in such high regard, it isn't a very cohesive experience. Tones and ideas are all over the place, and with the guest spots being so frequent it's hard to sit comfortably on one thing for long. But that really is this albums only flaw.
It's hard for me to say anything bad here, this really is an amazing effort from BMTH. Emotionally troubled and plagued by drug use at the time, Oli's vocal performance is the best it's ever been: powerful and genuine. But the whole band are ridiculously tight and bring their A game from start to finish. There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret.
is honest, heavy, experimental and undoubtedly interesting -- something the band lose a lot of post There Is A Hell...
. This progression for the band is something I wish they'd have explored more, and it's clear that when Jona left the band, this sound died with him.
Editions: M̶P̶3̶, CD, V̶i̶n̶y̶l̶
Packaging: Standard Jewel Case.
Special Edition: There wasn't a release that contained any extra tracks, but a CD and T-Shirt boxset was released at the time of its release. It's also worth mentioning the lyric booklet comes as an interesting gatefold.