Sunday, December 19, 2010

TNM Review: Bring Me the Horizon's "Two Sentence Album Title"

Despite its very obvious metalcore status, in recent months there has been one particular phrase-long band name that keeps rearing its pimple-cream covered face on the forums I frequent, the news sites I peruse, and the magazines I read. I'm speaking of course of Bring Me The Horizon, a British metalcore outfit hailing from Yorkshire. As if we didn't have enough of this garbage in the States, the Internet had to be invented, and someone found more of it across the Atlantic. So even with the teased hair, the full sleeve tattoos, and the plunging v-necks, I had to make the mistake of seeing what all the fuss was about. I decided in an effort to keep myself current with what sucks, that I would listen to, and review Bring Me The Horizon's latest and greatest: "There is a Hell, Believe me I've Seen It. There is a Heaven, Let's Keep it a Secret". Yes, you read that right. As if one sentence wasn't long enough for a screamo band's album title, BMTH pulls a fast one on us and breaks out a twofer...

Also, if you have an issue with me judging the band based on this album as opposed to their earlier works, I will kindly refer you to another article of mine.                                                                                           

I hid myself from the prying eyes of metal judgement, and played the first track, titled "Crucify Me". I suddenly found myself taken back to my former friend's basement at the age of 13 years old. Both of us acne-ridden and mad as hell at the world. The only solution at the time, of course, was to start a metal band. He brought out his cheap black Ibanez, and with a voice with more cracks than the grand canyon, he asked me to “check out this riff” that he wrote himself. Through his 10W amp, he sloppily played a little diddy he came up with on his own, through the clean channel. After playing the same tune 4 times in a row, he tripped over his cheap stomp pedal and played the same exact thing, only with distortion. At the time, I was completely blown away. That kind of musical progression is expected of prepubescents. When I heard the exact same concept in play at the first few seconds of this album, however, somehow it didn't have quite the same effect it did back then. Nevertheless, afterwards I was immediately treated to about what I was expecting... Lead vocalist Oli Sykes shrieks and hollers like a skinny high school student who loses it in the middle of the cafeteria after the bullies push him too far. An impressive feat, considering he's well into his 20's and doesn't wear braces. His English accent doesn't really come through in the squealing, which I found admittedly disappointing, thinking it would maybe set BMTH apart from the rest of the modern day screamo acts, if even just a little. Drop-tuned, fuzzy power chords, speed picking, and hardcore paced drumming jumble together in the mix of noise that provides the soundtrack to Sykes looking at the poem written on his lyric sheet and hurriedly hollering every word of it he sees. Except with a few clean electric guitar sections of the album, this formula is pretty much standard for the verses throughout. 

Something that did surprise me, (and not for the better) was the industrial obnoxiousness of Crucify Me's chorus. The album's long winded title is chirped word for word, remixed and autotuned by female Canadian synthpop no-name "LIGHTS", with your run of the mill open-stringed breakdown riff jug-jug-jugging away in the background. She also sings us out of the musical train wreck with a calm acoustic outro, which massages your ears with a gentle coffee shop open mic melody after they had been so ravaged with nonsense. I knew the calm wouldn't last long when I saw the track title for the song that followed. "Anthem" is a song reminiscent of the Northeastern American hardcore scene, with chanting of the band members as they shout in unison during the f-bomb laden chorus. You can smell the breakdown from a mile away, and almost see the Chuck Taylors karate kicking in front of you when it comes to fruition. At the track's end, the listener is treated to what I can only describe as soothing spa music. I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

Next up is the album's hit single. At the start of "It Never Ends", a synthesized orchestra rings through the mix and I am almost led to believe I am about to hear a song I'll enjoy. The first 20 seconds are definitely the musical highlight of the entire album. Then the verse happens like it always does. The song progresses in the usual chaotic BMTH style, with a couple epic tidbits here and there, such as a singing choir and more of the same orchestral theme. At the end of the track, I am lyrically assaulted over and over with the song's title, and it is a playful reminder that I only managed to muscle through three of the album's twelve tracks. The next track, "F*ck", is another cleverly titled expression of my emotions towards the album at this point. Like any song that has a curse word in a title, we're treated to a little more mayhem than usual, which is all but counteracted with clean vocals courtesy of Josh Franceschi from You Me At Six. I also get to enjoy what could almost be considered an honest to god guitar solo, but it is too early at about the 1:40 mark, and is short lived at a depressing, approximate 10 seconds.

"Don't Go" can only be described as the "ballad" of the album. From a lyrical perspective, this song makes it obvious why BMTH is so often seen on a teenage girl's Myspace page playlist. It is introduced with a synth violin melody, and army-style drum rolls. The vocals then proceed to ruin the moment as Sykes yells the emo lyrics as if his tongue were hanging out the side of his mouth. This sounds especially blood-curdling as the noisy mess of guitar wailing and chugging that usually accompanies him, is replaced with chords played through the clean channel and blended nicely in the mix. This continues close to 2 minutes before the guitars go dirty once more for the chorus, and you are almost thankful to hear BMTH like they should be. It is short lived, and the song goes back to Sykes shrieking like a window licker over the clean instrumentals. LIGHTS then takes her turn to sing, and before you know it, I'm listening to a Paramore song. The two go back and forth with some kind of obnoxious duet, and then I am rewarded with another short, lazy guitar solo, that regardless of how passionless, I just appreciate hearing after everything else I was put through. 

"Home Sweet Hole" brings the album back on track with more fuzzy, sucky guitar noise. Or so you think. When the intro ends, we're taken back to a clean instrumental verse backing Sykes' hollering. If you didn't facepalm at this point of the album, you're either a stronger man than I, or you have bad taste in music. Thankfully, it's only the beginning verse, the distortion kicks in, and the song becomes only as bad as BMTH's typical fare. "Alligator Blood" seems the heavier track of the album, and dare I say, nicely sets the pace for the next few songs. It is an almost genuine deathcore track. No upfront techno, no clean guitars or vocals to upset the flow. I can't believe I was almost at the point of appreciating it, because in truth, it is underwhelming in the brutality department. "Visions" seems to offer more of the same from the former track, until the melodic vocals chime in through the chorus, and the song starts skipping over itself techno remix style. Oh boy.
Hope you feel the same way about that ink when you're 37 and pumping my gas... er... petrol.

"Blacklist" is another deathcore song, but sounds like it has been circa 90's dance re-re-r-r-remixed. It features its own short lived guitar solo towards the end of the track, which feels like its worth mentioning, because listening to music of this caliber makes a true metalhead long for a good solo so dearly. Alas, it is as short, unimaginative and lazy as the ones before it. It seems like former Bleeding Through guitarist Jona Weinhofen certainly doesn't bring a lot to the table. Why either of these bands had to get this guy all the way from Adelaide, South Australia is beyond me. Maybe he's just that cool to hang out with. "Memorial", is three minutes of synthesized filler music, so I'll safely assume it's an introduction to "Blessed with a Curse". We sit through a bit more synthpop, some clean guitar chords and bass lines, then suffer with some more of Sykes doing his bobcat impression over all of it. I beg for the mercy of guitar distortion backing him up once again, and my prayers are hastily answered by the chorus, then dashed just as quickly. On a lighter note, the lead guitarist finds his balls towards the song's end and plays an almost genuine melody for his allotted 10-second BMTH guitar solo time. I'm going to now assume that the guitar solos in this album were so damn short, so that BMTH could leave plenty of room for sucking in each track. The album finally ends with "The Fox and the Wolf". Hands down this is my favorite song of the album, because it's the shortest, and it's the last. It features Josh Scogin of The Chariot, with a completely unnecessary guest appearance, because he's just another screamo vocalist. If you didn't see him being credited, you would have never known he was there. At only a minute and 43 seconds, the band blisters through the final track at a HxC style pace, and with that, my painful journey through "There is a Hell... There is a Heaven..." is over.

A lot of fans claimed that with this album, BMTH broke their genre's standard boundaries and matured as musical artists. I can see in a sense where they come from, as synthpop and techno remixing don't ever belong in metal, and incorporating it may come off as "edgy". The stark reality of the situation is that "There is a Hell..." is just a poorly mixed mess of metalcore noise, out of place synthpop, unimaginative guitar playing, predictable cookie cutter breakdowns, and tone-deaf wailing. This album was track for track, painful to listen to. Bring Me The Horizon, is not only bad because they are metalcore, they are also bad as far as metalcore goes. Bigger name metalcore like Killswitch Engage, Unearth, All That Remains and even Atreyu are musically leaps and bounds above BMTH. If you're a deathcore fan, much higher quality can be found in the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder, The Red Chord, Job for a Cowboy, The Acacia Strain, and Winds of Plague. Hardcore followers are better off with Trapped Under Ice, Stick To Your Guns and Madball. It's not as if I like any of these bands, it's just so easy to see their musical merit when exposed to a suckfest like this. I can't help but be impressed with BMTH's ability to incorporate the very worst of all the genres that inspire them, to conjure up something truly abysmal. 

What seemed like an honest effort to create something musically artistic and progressive, was ultimately the album's downfall. In the pursuit of deepness and musical maturity, Bring Me The Horizon bit off more than they could chew, and the result is a poorly produced, confusing mish-mash of overwhelming noise pollution. Even if you are a metalcore fan, (and if that were the case, then I hate you), I would recommend taking your listening elsewhere. 


  1. HAHAHAHA Awesome.

  2. It's as though they try to be as abysmally paradoxical as their song titles.

  3. Lmao loved this article man, you're a mean one thats for sure haha, you should definitely review their other two albums "Count your blessings - Straight up Deathcore)" and "Suicide Season - Metalcore).

    It'd be funny as fuck to hear what you have to say about them.

    Keep up the good work man.

  4. hilarious like all of your stuff

    but i have to point out that The Red Chord and Job For A Cowboy are not Deathcore.
    maybe the first EP of Job For A Cowboy is Deathcore,but that EP sucked anyway...
    and The Red Chord is just something Death Metalish not Death Metal but more likely Death Metal then Deathcore.

  5. 5 stars on Amazon from 11 i want to see Attack Attack review.........

  6. As a citizen of the UK, I would like to, on behalf of the whole country, offer my sincerest apologies to the rest of the world. We are truly, deeply sorry.



  9. James Thomson11/05/2011 6:38 PM

    Shitty as BMTH are, don't describe them as screamo. Screamo is a subgenre of hardcore punk. BMTH are shitty metalcore. Totally unconnected genres, screamo sounds like Husker Du meets Mogwai meets Napalm Death.

  10. Paul Blarte (mall cop)12/24/2011 9:31 AM

    "With a voice with more cracks than the grand canyon..."

    You, sir, are a journalist!

  11. Ohh yeah oli has to be tho worst screamer ov all times.......... Bmth sucks big time......

  12. Wait, "Adelaide, South Australia?" WHY CAN WE NOT PRODUCE SOMETHING GOOD, FOR FUCKS SAKE.

  13. Sometimes it's best to keep things brief:


All readers that post under the name "Anonymous" and are too frail and weak to represent themselves properly with a title, shall be deemed false metal poseurs for the remainder of their pitiful existence.