Review Summary: Oh no.
It's getting hard to believe at this point that once upon a time, Bring Me the Horizon was a deathcore band. Since then, they've evolved to being more straight metalcore, and then just mainstream hard rock with their last effort That's the Spirit, a very divisive album. While the style of TTS actually seemed to fit BMTH's and vocalist Oli Sykes' abilities better, it still got blasted either for being too complacent with mainstream rock standards, or just for not being as heavy as their previous material--or both. Despite now being in pretty much the perfect place to follow the mainstream rock train (for better or for worse), expecting this band to not go in a different direction again was probably a fool's errand.
While most of That's the Spirit was pretty rock-oriented, the final song "Oh No" dipped straight into pop territory. Despite that being probably the biggest misfire of that album, that is exactly the direction that BMTH has chosen to explore further. This doesn't necessarily become apparent right away, as lead single and opener "Mantra" (because "I Apologise if You Feel Something" is basically just an intro rather than a song) mostly keeps the same rock edge of TTS. But then the album immediately takes a turn with "Nihilist Blues" and "In the Dark," which both are bigger indicators of what most of this album is going to sound like.
BMTH has long abandoned the metal part of their sound, but they get pretty close here to abandoning even the rock sound as well. Despite "Mantra" seeming to set a more fast-paced tone, the only other rock-oriented songs you'll hear are "Wonderful Life," "Sugar Honey Ice & Tea," and to a very small degree, "Heavy Metal." (More on that later.) Basically everything else here falls into pop and even EDM territory. This could've been easier to put up with if they had balanced things out more evenly with heavier songs, but instead those heavier songs actually feel a bit out of place on here. If it wasn't clear, this is a pretty disjointed album. Going straight from "Mantra" to "Nihilist Blues" and then "Wonderful Life" just a couple songs later does not work flow-wise.
To be fair, the poppier material isn't a complete failure. "Medicine" is surprisingly catchy and infectious, and has some of Sykes' best vocals on the album. "Nihilist Blues" is pretty interesting as well. But the majority of the pop-oriented songs do not work. Namely, "In the Dark," "Mother Tongue," and "Fresh Bruises" are just boring and forgettable. On the other hand, "Why You Gotta Kick Me When I'm Down" is just awful, featuring some almost rap-esque vocals from Sykes and some rather silly lyrics as Sykes attempts to take on his critics. There's so few of the heavier songs to balance it out, but when they're there, they do stand out; "Wonderful Life" is the one that does so most of all.
Things arrive to a bit of a crux on "Heavy Metal." As a song on its own, it's relatively okay. But it has a misnomer of a title (just like Linkin Park's "Heavy") and instead of being really that heavy at all, it proceeds to mock those who wish they were still doing heavier material. Now it does take some acceptable shots at the general kind of fans BMTH used to attract, which many will likely find amusing. But this kind of song just comes across as taunting. They seem to be saying, "This is what we're doing now, and if you don't like it then f*ck off." Now, I'm all in favor of an artist doing what they want to do musically. But having that kind of spiteful attitude about it is quite ill-advised, and it actually makes things worse especially when the direction they've chosen to go musically is not that enjoyable in the first place. Having that kind of song on there makes me wonder why they bothered to put "Wonderful Life" or "Mantra" on here at all.
Amo is a mess of an album; while most of BMTH's works have been fairly cohesive, this one is just all over the place and doesn't seem to fully know what it is. And most of the poppier stuff is either dull or just flat out awful. While there's certainly a fair share of listenable songs on here that one could probably jam separately from this album, the work as a whole is a confused, jumbled failure. Where BMTH goes next doesn't really matter, because this album is career-defining. If it wasn't crystal clear before, this is a band that is perfectly comfortable doing big genre switches on basically every album. If that's what they want, more power to them. But I doubt that hardly anyone will be able to hold on for the ride for the rest of their career.
Song Highlights: "Wonderful Life," "Medicine," "Sugar Honey Ice & Tea"