Review Summary: Taking up the sonic space Oliver's hero left behindamo
is sixth record coming from Sheffield based outlet Bring Me the Horizon. Coming nearly 4 years after the succesful shift in sound That's the Spirit
, BMTH had a lot to prove and a lot of expectations on their back. Now let's see if they moved more into radio-friendly territory or if they chose to do something new.
The way it often is, they did both. First two singles, MANTRA
and wonderful life
would almost have you think BMTH are stagnating with their sound if it wasn't for interesting little bits, which also are mostly the only saving graces of the songs. Particularly brass section on last chorus of wonderful life
really elevates the song and makes it so much more exciting, but unfortunately it's way too late in the song. The song also features legendary Cradle of Filth vocalist, Dani Filth. Sadly though, his voice is mostly wasted on almost spoken-word section and little bits of pig squeals when intro/breakdown riff enters(which could've given so much energy to the song, but are way too low in the mix).
Fortunately, the band actually does a fair amount of unexpected things, and it's those tracks that make the album good. The opener i apologise if you feel something
is a great way to open the album with very spacy, bright sounding synths, which build before explosion of sounds, creating beautiful, electronic soundscape with strings and rapid electronic percussion taking the space. Here, the band also shows the main focus of this album, love, and everything surrounding it. Heartbreak, falling in love, highs and lows.
I saw you staring out of your own abyss again
Waiting for something you're not sure even still exists
Don't be afraid to wonder, don't be afraid to be scared
It should never be a prison
i apologise if you feel something
is one of the three tracks that the band themselves have referenced to as "jams". The other one of the two remaining is dark, glitchy, with almost jazzy feel in drums, ouch
, which directly references a track off of their previous record, Follow You
, with its lyrics.
So you can drag me through hell
If it meant I could hold your hand
I will follow you
Cause I'm under your spell
I know I said I was under your spell
But this hex is on another level
And I know I said you could drag me through hell
But I hoped you wouldn't fuck the devil
The last one of the "jams" is mostly instrumental fresh bruises
, which features melodic motif which first appeared on 2008's The Sadness Will Never End
and on several songs from 2010's There is A Hell...
. These three songs are some of the highest points on the album.
Interesting take on the motif of love are tracks why you gotta kick me when i'm down
and heavy metal
, which focus on bands relationship with fans. heavy metal
is the only great track out of the more rock focused ones, with amazing electronic beat in the verses, where Oli and Rahzel of The Roots fame trade verses, before going into heavy chorus. The song explodes as the end comes with breakdown and Oliver's guttural vocals, which we haven't heard from him for nearly ten years, making for the heaviest moment the band has has since Sempiternal
. The former of the mentioned tracks sees band move into trap territory with Oliver rapping in triplets over fairly interesting beat featuring with vocal backdrop and children's choir(reminescent of 2015's Happy Song
before exploding in the chorus. Another song worth mentioning is mother tongue
, which, even with its weaker bridge, is one of the most beautiful moments on the record despite being the most straight forward pop song on here, with Oliver singing his love out with beautiful falsetto(which might or might not be more of Jordan Fish's work, given that he became the main songwriter and producer of the band)
So don't say you love me, 'fala amo'
Just let your heart speak and I'll know
No amount of words could ever find a way
To make sense of this, so I
Wanna hear your mother tongue
Despite all the praise I've given and despite it being what makes this album so good, BMTH's way of trying new things creates a problem with the album, since there is little to no consistency in sound pallete and quality. While in the dark
and nihilist blues
featuring Grimes are some of the greatest moments this band has crafted(especially the latter, with heavy beats inspired by 90s rave), the songs suffer by being stuffed between mediocre MANTRA
and wonderful life
. sugar honey ice & tea
is another of the offenders in this case, being boring middle of the road alternative rock song which, worst of all, doesn't sound honest(which also is the case, arguably even worse, in MANTRA
). The band shows well in tracks like mother tongue
and nihilist blues
that they're at their very best when trying new things and being out of their comfort zone. Also, while not related to quality of music, following Chester's death BMTH seem to have taken up the sonic space Linkin Park used to be in with easy to listen to rock music with light amount of experimentation.
Overall, amo is good addition to BMTH's discography, showing another step in their career and conforming, that their change is honest and not a move of selling out(which was understandable to feel about That's the Spirit, where even Oliver himself admitted that every song was written with the thought of it being a single in mind), no matter what the crowd of angry metalheads might tell you. The album is far from perfect and suffers from consistency issues, both soundscape and quality wise, being dragged down by boring songs, which bring nothing interesting, new, and, most importantly, good. It can be a great entry record for someone new to genre of "heavy" music, which even was an intent, and while beside a few individual songs the record never goes above what I'd call "great", it never sinks to truly horrible.
i apologise if you feel something, in the dark, nihilist blues (feat. Grimes), ouch, fresh bruises, mother tongue
MANTRA, wonderful life, medicine, sugar honey ice & tea