Review Summary: The British shapeshifters take yet another form.
For the last couple years Bring Me the Horizon have been known for the significant stylistic changes on every next album since 2011's There is Hell... Sempiternal, released in 2013, saw them going towards more accessible yet unique post-rock-ish sound while retaining some of their heavier influences. In 2015 they released That's the Spirit that leaned even more towards the radio rock style, which a lot of people were not fans of. After a little break and great revaluation of things and views they finally came back with their newest offering — amo.
The amo's promotion campaign started off with the release of MANTRA in August last year followed by Wonderful Life two months later. Both of the singles had a mainstream bouncy flavour to it, very reminiscent of That's the Spirit's general feel. But interviews and rumours had it that the album was not going to be what fans expected it to be. With that being said Bring Me the Horizon really showed people what the edges of their seats were made for. The band ended up dropping 3 more singles prior to the album's official release — Medicine, Mother Tongue and Nihilist Blues that features Grimes. That's where it really backfired since the first two songs are arguably the poppiest tracks BMTH have ever written and the latter is almost an EDM song from start to finish. But is amo as bad as the YouTube like/dislike ratio says"
The album starts with a dark atmospheric intro track «i apologise if you feel something» that sets a good tone for the whole record because of an eerie and gloomy touch to it. Even though «amo» is dedicated to the topic of love, it's still a pretty depressing and bitterly ironic experience in every way possible. The intro track is followed by MANTRA that dwells on a more traditional BMTH soundscape of the TTS era with its dirty guitar riffs and catchy radio-orientated choruses. However it doesn't add much to the record on the whole being mostly a track the band wanted us to hear first and does not encapsulate what the act was going for with this project either. Same thing happens with another single — Wonderful Life that features one of the best riffs of the album, which was written as part of Bring Me the Horizon–Limp Bizkit short-term collaboration of sorts. And the album's inconsistency is the first problem I stumble upon. Amo wants and tries to be everything for everyone but falls short to provide a general idea of what it actually sounds like. Miles of musical landscape are explored on here but those are so distant and unrelated they cannot be represented by just one song. I have mad respect for Bring Me the Horizon for trying so many new things and bringing so much to the table not only for their music in particular but the rock scene in general, but as a band who seeks a bigger audience they really failed to get people excited for this new record being unable to show a bigger picture. But if you listen to amo from start to finish you start to hear those templates, narratives and interconnections that you couldn't recognize by listening solely to the singles.
While That's the Spirit was the album full of potential singles and hits as the band stated themselves, amo was a pure experiment. Tracks like Nihilist Blues featuring Grimes, Why You Gotta Kick Me When I'm Down and both Fresh Bruises and Ouch really showcase how much is going on in Oliver's and Jordan's heads. They put together elements of the genres that shouldn't really work well together and surprisingly managed to pull it off. Nihilist Blues despite the fact that it's mostly an electronica-driven track is probably the darkest, heaviest and most melancholic song on the entire record. It perfectly utilizes the eerie synths, lots of vocal effects and glitches to create this grotesque fusion of EDM and rock culminating in the vibrant mixture of early 30 Seconds to Mars and Can You Feel My Heart in the last quarter of its runtime. Why You Gotta Kick Me When I'm Down is another complete shot in the dark for the band. It features rapping from Sykes combined with a massive strings arranged choruses and overall sounds so drastically different than anything they've written before but at the same time shows how far they've come as musicians and that they are able to be good at almost everything that try. Why almost you ask"
Amo has still got a handful of tracks besides the old-school and bold sounding ones. The real problem is that most of them, despite being pretty catchy, are rather derivative compared to the both more experimental and more traditional jams. They don't have much to say in terms of verses and bridges while relying heavily on massive choruses that are almost too repetitive and overused. There is also a duration issue with some songs that only makes choruses feel even more redundant.
Overall amo is a unique experience that gives you a lot more than most modern artists have to offer. It has a little self identification crisis trying to be everything at once but does not try to capture every dot on the spectrum keeping all the experiments within the scope of remnants of Bring Me the Horizon's signature style.