Review Summary: Bring Me The Horizon come full circle on 'Amo' embracing electropop but failing to do anything interesting or enjoyable with their new sound.
Bring Me The Horizon are not a band that are unfamiliar with drastic shifts to their sound. After all, 2015's 'That's The Spirit' effectively divided their fanbase in two with its shift from the band's earlier metalcore and deathcore outings to a more radio friendly, alternative rock style. 'Amo' continues this path towards radio appeal by embracing pop music fully, but much like it's predecessor, it sounds stale, dated, and insincere.
Whether it be the electropop of "Nihilist Blues," which sounds like it could have been produced by Avicci back in 2014, the Maroon 5 esque radio funk of "In The Dark," or "Medicine" which legitimately sounds like an edgier 1975 track, BMTH struggle to find any sense of identity in their new sound. Most of these songs just seemingly copy and paste from other successful pop rock acts instead of owning the style for themselves. Remember a couple years back when singer Oli Sykes had a minor feud with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin" Now BMTH are ripping Coldplay off with opening track "I Apologize if You Feel Something" being an almost blatant copy of Coldplay's Ghost Stories era style.
Speaking of Oli Sykes, his vocal performance on 'Amo' leaves a lot to be desired too. His singing is often drenched in reverb, outdated autotune, and other effects that are clearly there to disguise the fact that the man just can't sing very well. To be fair, he has suffered legitimate damage to his vocal chords in the past when he was still screaming and growling, but the vocals on 'Amo' sound like he's not even attempting to put in a decent performance, relying too much on studio effects to make himself sound passable as a pop singer. His lyrics aren't much better either, as he still relies on the same tired heartbroken lyrical tropes as he has for the last decade, with edgy usage of profanity thrown in likely to appeal to their primarily teenage fanbase.
'Amo' isn't totally without redeemable qualities, songs like lead single "Mantra" and "Wonderful Life" invoke the same feelings as the heavier cuts on their previous record. Most importantly, they actually sound like Bring Me The Horizon, not Bring Me The Horizon trying to imitate other artists. "Heavy Metal" also tries to sound like a throwback to their heavier days but utterly fails with its phoned in breakdown, cringe worthy lyrics, and unfitting feature from the supremely overqualified Rahzel.
'Amo' isn't a disappointing album because it's "soft" or "poppy," its a disappointing one because its lacks originality and depth. Plenty of formerly heavy bands have made pop albums while still retaining a sense of identity- just look at Ulver. To be fair, BMTH were never the most original band, and they never particularly excelled at the various styles of music they played, whether that style was sloppy deathcore ala 'Count Your Blessings' or the slick metalcore of 'There Is a Hell...' but those records at least had genuine heart, and the latter even demonstrated that the band can actually be somewhat creative and forward thinking. 'Amo' doesn't have heart, its not creative or fresh sounding in any way, it's just a lazy attempt at capturing more commercial appeal from a band who may be destined for even more massive popularity, but who's artistic peaks are well behind them.