Bring Me The Horizon – ‘amo’ (9.5/10)
Bring Me The Horizon have been on a rocket of a journey over the last few years, selling over 2 million albums globally to date, playing sold-out shows in over 40 countries, including two sold out nights at London’s O2 -along with wowing a traditionally non-rock crowd at Glastonbury Festival in 2016. They have gone from a small deathcore band, to global heroes within the rock community, and they go from strength to strength – only getting bigger and better. Poised now to release their sixth studio album entitled ‘amo’, the band have spent the summer writing and recording in Los Angeles, with Oli Sykes and Jordan Fish handling production. What has transpired is one of their most exhilarating, genre-blurring albums to date from the singles we have heard thus far.
Oli adds: “amo is a love album that explores every aspect of that most powerful emotion. It deals with the good the bad and the ugly, and as a result we’ve created an album that’s more experimental, more varied, weird, and wonderful than anything we’ve done before.”
Album opener ‘i apologise if you feel something’ is a sound very much reminiscent of the work on forerunner ‘That’s The Spirit’, and where Oli first experiments with a vocoder – with a synth sound with Oliver uttering the words “it should never be a prison, so I apologise if you feel something” with the first half in a different pitch to the last. With sleek production giving an intense feeling, before throwing you straight into their first single, ‘MANTRA’, released right before their ‘secret’ sets and Reading and Leeds Festivals back in August, 2018 and perfectly timed for an anthemic banger that is close to the Bring Me The Horizon we all know and amo – pardon the pun, had to do it.
Following on from anthemic banger ‘MANTRA’ is ‘nihilist blues (feat. Grimes)’ which is one of the tracks I am most intrigued about from the teasers that we have heard after being sent on a wild goose chase around London a week before this bomb was due to drop! Is this even BMTH? If you were to play this on the radio, unannounced, no one would be able to even guess that this is the same band they were even a half decade ago. Opening with vocals unlike anything we have heard from Oli beautifully singing “please don’t follow” before going into a full dubstep style number, with the deep rumbling synth sound, and the feature from Grimes spooky vocals, making this one of the standout tracks for me on this album. To me, this feels heavy, not instrumentally or vocally – but more in an EDM rave sort of way breaking down into a full-blown rave at around the 2-minute mark, still managing to keep the characteristics of a rock track – these lads are outdoing themselves here!
Fourth track into the already very varied so far ‘amo’ we find ourselves with another genre, more of a poppy sound with ‘in the dark’ setting the sights upon mainstream domination, yet still staying true to their roots and song writing style with lyrics such as “you can give the act up now, go ahead and take a bow”, with what seems like a female computerized synth vocals, repeating the words “in the dark”, with Sykes almost sounding like Ed Sheeran.
From Ed Sheeran style pop, into second single ‘wonderful life (feat. Dani Filth)’ which is again, another different genre, with banging riffs, and a feature from Metal icon Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth this is turning out to be a mixed genre, almost as if it’s a compilation album from all sorts of genres!
Almost halfway through now with ‘ouch’ which is more of an interlude style track from ‘wonderful life’ going into third single ‘medicine’ although still featuring vocals, with reference from their previous hit ‘Follow You’, claiming “I know I said I was under your spell, but this hex is on another level, I know I said you could drag me through hell, but I hoped you wouldn’t fuck the devil”. Heavy stuff, really.
Blending from ‘medicine’ to ‘sugar, honey, ice & tea’ going strength from strength in their pop game, however again, still staying true to who they are, with this being vocally the heaviest so far, with Oliver, progressively getting heavier and heavier “who the hell died and made you the king, we don’t know what we want but we know that we want it” then going heavier with Sykes almost screaming “and we want it right now!”, constantly through the track with again, computerized vocals singing “sugar, honey, ice & tea”.
Into the final quarter of ‘amo’, ‘why you gotta kick me when i’m down?’, Oli gives a go at rapping, right into the start of the track, rapping “you on the edge of your seat, ain’t you got some place to be” continuing, before ending the verse with “ah fuck it”. With synthesized vocals echoing “you always wanna kick me when i’m down”. Toward the end of the track, Oliver getting more aggressive vocally, and the track almost distorting, “oh god what the fuck have you done, I loved you like my daughters, I loved you like my sons” before the track ends there’s a dance/trance solo. I sure am glad I bought the tissues with me, because this is absolute killer!
Again, ‘fresh bruises’ is another interlude style song, giving house DJ’s a run for their money, with beautifully harmonic melodies running through the whole track, still with vocals added to this track “don’t you try and fuck with me, don’t you hide your love”.
The latest song that the fans to hear, before the album officially release ‘mother tongue’ is a love ballad, adding in the word from the title of the album “don’t say you love me, fala amo”. Almost sounding like the latest album from Deaf Havana in this track, gushing about his wife.
Penultimate track ‘heavy metal (feat. Rahzel)’ is basically a big massive fuck you to all the kids that are whining about BMTH not being ‘heavy’ anymore, with a delicious feature from Rahzel beatboxing and adding vocals, this is one of the standout tracks for me. Sykes, slaying the rap style vocals again, “you know what we want, why not give it to us” referring to the screams, with Rahzel adding vocals, replying to him “it’s now or never, but there’s no pressure”. Bringing the song to an end, towards the last 10 seconds of the track, Oliver delivers the scream that you have all been missing, but leaving you wanting more and more.
Final track, bringing in an orchestra and an acoustic guitar ‘i don’t know what to say’ about his friend who tragically died of cancer not that long ago, emotionally delivering a powerful ballad, beautifully produced, setting the mood towards the end of the album, almost as if it should be in a Bond film, Sykes delivering emotional lyrics explaining he doesn’t know what to say before halfway through, the track goes into silence for a second or two, then a big massive explosion of instruments get added again, with a little guitar solo.
In conclusion, ‘amo’ is one solid, genre mixing, hard hitting, delight. Stand out tracks ‘heavy metal’, ‘i don’t know what to say’ & ‘sugar, honey, ice & tea’ for me. What will BMTH do next? They just improve lyrically, instrumentally and creatively, not to mention the fact they put their balls on the line for this album, creating music that some of the older fans may not like – but they’re bigger than ever before, and certainly took lots of chances on the new record. Who needs genres these days anyway?