Bring Me The Horizon pushes past sophomore slump

“There Is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen it. There Is a Heaven Let’s Keep It a Secret”

Pitchforks: 4 out of 5

Artist: Bring Me The Horizon

Label: Epitaph

In the past, British band Bring Me The Horizon has done one thing and one thing only: brought ball-crushing metalcore tracks to the masses. Even with the occasional melodic lull, it has always stayed fairly close to these parameters.

So naturally, after two albums of jaw breaking intensity, it has decided to play doctor and deliver some much-needed Novocaine in its latest effort, “There Is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let’s Keep It a Secret.”

What this September debut aims for is a sound that is far more melodic. In many ways, BMTH has still stuck with its tried but true scream and breakdown formula, but it has made some concise efforts for change — and for the better. Songs rife with slow, ballad-esque qualities now counteract the meaty riffs that made BMTH famous in the past.

As the opener “Crucify Me” begins, the listener is seduced by the haunting beauty of the opening riff, only to be obliterated by the Medusa-like scream of Ollie Sykes, vocally dismembering the listener’s eardrums. After massive chunks have been bitten out your senses, melodic choir singing comes in to remedy the cuts. This juxtaposition of hard and soft dynamics proves to be a winning combination for these Brit-wunderkinds.

On tracks “It Never Ends” and “Home Sweet Hole,” the band’s previous release, “Suicide Season,” definitely comes to mind. But that’s not to say the tracks completely surrendered to the cliché metalcore label. During the most memorable parts, full-blown orchestra and string compositions adorn the auditory beat downs, making it a true listening pleasure.

Songs like “F--k” showcase the classic BMTH sound with almost no sentimentality. On this track, guest vocalist Josh Franceschi of You Me at Six lends his stylings during the song’s riveting conclusion. He is just one of the many vocal cameos that appear throughout the album.

But rest assured, this album is not without its beautiful emotional impact. On “Don’t Go,” violins weep with emotion; Sykes laments the angels and demons raging inside of him. For the second time on the album, guest vocals by Valerie Poxleitner, also known as Lights, are heard, which is an infinitely good thing. Out of all the album’s bits, I can honestly say her vocal part left the greatest impression on my psyche. The tight-pocket work of drummer Matt Nicholls was also an equally well-placed move during her vocals.

Shortly thereafter, more head-banging quickly ensues. Perhaps one of the album’s heaviest tracks is the throat cutting, crimson-drenched “Alligator Blood.” Violence seems to be the appropriate emotional response to tracks like these.

Lyrically, “There Is a Hell … seems to be stronger than any other previous efforts. Instead of rehashing the same anthems about getting drunk and losing sleep, Sykes invests himself heavily into the classic good vs. evil theme — and without being trite. There is less of a frontman with an overly fevered ego and, instead, a budding artist who is readily wearing his heart on his sleeve and finally sharing his true emotions. Such a characteristic is integral to bands hoping for longevity.

Those who are expecting to hear the same 12 angry tracks that came off “Suicide Season” might be shocked to say the least. And why wouldn’t they?There Is a Hell …” does what most metal bands are petrified to do: attempt to encompass a full range of emotion. Now “brutal” is just one of many feelings associated with the band’s heavy jams.

What this third BMTH album does is anything but detrimental. The sophomore slump has been swiftly avoided and, instead, Bring Me The Horizon has solidified its top spot on the metalcore totem pole.

Reach Dane at djarvie@asu.edu


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