Review Summary: First a thing that hasn‘t changed: Bring me the Horizon are still one of the most polarizing bands in an alternative genre of heavy rock music more dead than living.
Second another thing that hasn‘t changed: Some obviously still think Bring Me murdered whatever they thought is very metal or very hardcore, not noticing that with all it shortcomings and failure, at least this band tried to reach the frontier of a genre that has shown the same unwillingness to adapt that is a very promising route to go extinct. I know I‘m not very fair, but admit that you aren‘t either, that‘s all I want.
Sincerely must admit here that I follow Bring Me for a good while now, and they‘re the only pals left having left a heavy teenager metalcore (day)dream. As everyone should I will try to be very objective anyways, and as is possible having read a couple of reviews before being able to write this one.
I was really stoked to hear new music from Oli and Jordan, since last summer their effort „That‘s the Spirit“ really kicked into my world. To be clear here: I hated it when it came out in 2015. I liked Drown as a single, but I didn‘t liked anything about their new poppy sound, I loved Sempiternal and was wondering were the ideas of electronic aesthetics were going. (south) Thinking that the synth sounds of „can you feel my heart“ and the overall ground covered by „sleepwalking“ had to be worth something, the unedgyness of „That‘s the Spirit“ was despisable in my eyes.
But than something changed, listening to the song „follow you“ I changed my mind. (How can a music video ruin a song? that‘s really a mystery) It‘s not their best album, but it‘s a fun album. The filler songs in the second half are concerning, but overall the thing isn‘t bad, the lack of will to really sound out of the box being a bummer, but cut me open if you want.
Amo for sure isn‘t the second coming of OK Computer, but doing it in a couple of ways. I still think Jordan Fish could get a little bit more tropical with his synth, anyhow it‘s a step in the right direction, without doubt.
Not willing to abandon their pop rock style they established in Spirit, Bring Me show an eagerness to explore and experiment with various kinds of electronic music, that‘s the news, most prominent some little bites of drumnbass and hip hop, changing sound from song to song being connected by Oli‘s catchy vocals and his signature nihilism, the attitude that also held together Spirit in a ‚if there‘s no hope, there‘s nothing to be afraid of‘ way.
Mantra is the track i wished for most, being reactionary at heart as it shows. Just well crafted with crunching guitars, a catchy hook and tongue in cheek lyrics it brings together the best of both worlds.
The horns section of Beautiful Life is really well crafted, undergoing the expectations of the listener in admirable fashion, and that‘s how a good comedy works in the end. Despite the silly lyrics, especially the cloud sentence, Medicine is a really fun track, playing with the ancient theme of poison. (medicine in it‘s etymology means both, poison and antidote). Same is to be said about In the Dark, a really nice track to bang with your not so metal or emo friends. Nihilist Blues works for me as it translates 90‘s techno in a tune even I can understand, never thought it would come to this. Contrary to the public opinion I do like the 2 skits a little, as they stitch together the album as whole, and function as ying to the attention seeking yang pop parts.
The dark guitar in sugar honey ice and tea is powerful, but killed by the hook, they shoudn‘t have done this. Also the track Oli directly speaks to his fans doesn‘t do it for me, too strange, but not backed up by quality. The last track is OK, but that‘s not what you want from a closer, leave alone a very sad song of some guy you liked dying.
Mother Tongue is what get most people totally freaked out, my opinion on this one is just singing it when I see them live, that‘s what it‘s so awfully made for with the nice little side effect that it works.
Closing, the review, not the album, with a pleasing experiment, Why do you need to kick me when I‘m down impresses with a mighty trap inspired sound and a catchy verse, being heavy in an unexpected way.
Amo thinks it discusses romantic love, but really it‘s a deep interaction between Oli and his fan base, but also his so called haters. Thinking that being the object of either unreasonably love or devastating hate wouldn‘t affect the way a person interacts in his personal life is a thought that I oppose with great passion.
Which means he is in some kind of way out for the hate of a specific group of people, who, once again, totally fell for it. Oli is playing the same game of love, hate, fighting and forgiveness with his audience, as he lives it in his relationships with women.
In this manner he tries to fix the relationship to his fans by both teaching them, seeing himself in the role of a cult leader (mantra), but also in going a few steps back to screaming (also mantra and other songs, also he blew his chords out at a concert to please his fans). Heavy Metal is the clear one to back up this interpretation, but also the intro is speaking this language, speaking to break the prison, which means the expectations of his fans. But he isn‘t like the parents letting their life being commanded by the wishes of an child that never got any opposition. Oli tries to really school his fans to like the music he likes, and doing it with as much passion as he can. He is almost using reason to do it, showing much more patience in his musical persona, (although sometimes he still is a dick and giving it straight to the face like in Heavy metal), than he shows in interviews or previous records.
Amo has some kind of musical integrity in this way and I appreciate that. It‘s fun and celebrates it‘s own weirdness but also leaves you thinking: What‘s next? for better or for worse.