Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Bring Me The Horizon - (Smells like) That's The Spirit

I hope you all learned a valuable lesson. I hope this hurts.

I'll admit I'm a pretty stubborn guy. If I decide I don't like somebody, the chances of me ever warming up to them is slim and slimmer. But now I can say that for the first time in my life, my heart goes out to a group of people I've spent a decent chunk of my existence completely loathing and disrespecting. A group of individuals that I never considered would be on the receiving end of my empathy and understanding. A collection of young folks who deserve not only my heartfelt condolences, but my undying sympathy.

I'm referring of course, to Bring Me The Horizon fans.

It was upon the release of 2008's Suicide Season, that I first got my chance to completely despise BMTH. Along with their shrieky, chuggy, chanty, by-the-book deathcore music, their fans came along for the ride of my animosity. The stretched earlobes, the viper bites, the cliche tattoos, the eye-covering, swoopy black hairdos. Scenesters through and through. Weirdos with a set of extreme high-school age sensibilities regarding life, love, hate and rebellion. At the time, BMTH was a bunch of children making music for children. Lead vocalist Oliver Sykes gave voice to the screaming in the heads of every sexually frustrated pubescent adolescent that wasn't willing to conform to the ease and general acceptance of pop radio taste.

And yet, despite the cartoons you all had scarred into your pale skin; time took its toll. The lot of you had to grow up, just as your parents always cautioned with every newly acquired haphazard body mod. You got whatever jobs you could with the newly formed, gaping anuses you've wrought upon your earlobes. You've already long since graduated from, or dropped out of college. Adult life is not only an abyss staring back at you from the edge, it is a black pit that has long since enveloped you years ago. As you desperately try to keep the college loansharks at bay with a measly Mcjob paycheck, you now reminisce back to a simpler, happier time: when you were still copping feels from allegedly willing, raccoon-eyed scene queens, and plugging your iPod Nano into the aux cord of the tape adapter in your hand-me-down Buick; still full of youth and vigor as you raced towards the local Hot Topic while blaring "The Comedown" at top volume with your windows down, purposefully upsetting the peace and quiet of the white suburbia that surrounded you.

It's the reason your dad gets pumped when he hears Led Zep's "Black Dog" for the 48 millionth fucking time on the radio. The music of your youth will always be important to you. But as previously stated, you're not a youth, you haven't been for a while; and BMTH's new music is now not for you. It's for a newer generation of pissed off teenagers who even at their edgiest, still greatly appreciate house music. The very artists that you once idolized are now preparing music for a younger, more open-minded, more well-rounded listener. A new mutant breed of teeny bopper growing up as part of the Spotify generation. Where any song from any artist from any genre of music is just a mouse click away, and it's a fucking miracle if they get through the several minutes of a single song to its completion. With That's The Spirit, BMTH totally accommodates these broad minded, all-loving, entitled little alternative fuckos, and just like 90% of your Facebook friends, BMTH stopped giving any sort of shit about you a little over seven years ago.

Just like many a rock/metal band before them, Bring Me The Horizon adjusted their sound to match the needs of a current demographic. They were once children making music for children, but now, they are men making music for children; in the same vein as Staind and Linkin Park in their prime.

So despair. I welcome thee, fellow poor, unfortunate souls.

Welcome to the sell out:

Well, we can easily call it a sell out. We can bark and hiss and moan and cry foul. It makes sense to say that the reason the bands of our youth so drastically change must be for the sake of continued commercial success. However, if you were to use your head -- you know, the thing you failed to do when you got that sweet ass Tommy Pickles tat -- you would realize that there was a time when BMTH spoke directly to you, when they got your money. And they did all this, when you were exactly a 17-year-old in 2008. If you, a former BMTH fan, is upset with their current musical direction, you only have yourself to blame for mindlessly enjoying these cunts and their edgy Kids Bop in the first place.

Don't feel too bad. Hormones make you stupid.

But you see, this is what BMTH does. They make 17-year-old kid music. There was never a moment in time when these young Englishmen weren't making music specifically for pissed off teenagers. A modern day high school sophomore who falls in love with a song like Throne is highly unlikely to go backwards in the band's discography and find much to enjoy with a song like Alligator Blood. The same is going to be true in the reverse situation. Every album they've released has gotten that much significantly softer, synthetic and various that they are not even remotely the band they were only half a decade ago.

However, can we not say the same of Metallica with their 90's alt-rock? Can we not demand to know from Morbid Angel how one goes about "killing a kult kult"? How can I, with a straight face. blame the irked BMTH fan when I felt that knot in my stomach twist upon hearing Mastodon's ballad of violent goat-related disagreements? Bands good and bad, true and false; they change all the time. Some only to stay current, some for the sake of artistic endeavor. While most will purport the latter in these circumstances, it's often times too easy to tell when the former is true. That's The Spirit is an extreme example of blatant popification. The album cover to cover is chock full of hard rock, uber-catchy, hook-laden, electronic thumping, radio friendly alternative anthems. It's so genre bending from track to track, it may as well be the aforementioned Spotify playlist that BMTH's current demographic lives by. There's simply no way a BMTH fan of former albums can listen to this music and enjoy it. If they outright suggest otherwise, they are Randy Marsh-esque hasbeens clinging desperately to the concept of staying current, so as to stave off the inevitable reaper known as adulthood. This isn't your music anymore. No. It's something much younger, much fresher, and much much worse. Move on and grow up. Take it from any one of us old fart former Slayer fans, it only goes downhill from here.

You know times are tough when I can be disappointed by a band I already very much hated. I'm sorry BMTH fans. You deserved some terrible things, but nobody deserves this.

- Deth Leppard 

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