On ‘There Is A Hell…’, Bring Me The Horizon broke away from the metalcore pack to make something special

The third full-length is where many bands and musicians take the leap into the stratosphere, or at least some sort of pointed artistic brilliance. Radiohead did this on 1997’s Ok Computer, Thrice did the same with The Artist In The Ambulance, and Deftones accomplished the feat with White Pony – just to name three prominent examples. Often, album #3 is where a striking change in sound occurs – especially when a band is initially successful, such sonic shifts often surprise a band’s veteran fanbase.

This was certainly the case for Bring Me The Horizon after the release of their 2010 album There Is A Hell // There Is A Heaven (the title is much longer than this, obviously). It also wasn’t the first major sonic shift for the band, either. Previous album Suicide Season moved away from BMTH’s previous extreme metal influences, showcasing melody and more accessibility for the first time. While rooted in metalcore, there were subtle hints that future material might include more left turns than fans were expecting, especially on songs like “The Sadness Will Never End” and fan favorite “It Was Written In Blood”.

On There Is A Hell, though, Bring Me The Horizon increased their sonic palette in ways that would ensure they’d reach superstardom. The first evidence of this arrives on the behemoth of an opener, “Crucify Me”. A bold and surprising risk-taking move that clocks in at over 6 minutes long, it incorporates a surprising amount of atmosphere and emotional turmoil that gives the song room to breathe. For a band that was previously criticized as being too breakdown-heavy, there’s no doubt it still ranks as one of the most ambitious songs in the BMTH catalogue – and that’s only the first song. It’s also one of two (including “Don’t Go”) to feature Lights, who by that time had started to emerge as one of electropop’s most interesting voices.

There Is A Hell pulls off the neat trick of not completely alienating a band’s existing fanbase, too. Rest assured, there are plenty of metalcore breakdowns littered about the record, especially on mid-album cuts like “Alligator Blood” and “Home Sweet Hole”. “Blacklist” is a left-field surprise, though. The song’s heavy, chugging guitars might be stylistically similar to their previous work, but thanks to the song’s almost sludgy pace (and incisive lyrics, directed at former guitarist Curtis Ward, who they made up with years later), it still manages to have an impact. It’s also a nice change of pace from BMTH’s typical standard metalcore formula. Album closer “The Fox And The Wolf” (which features The Chariot’s Josh Scogin) is one that’s made for the mosh pit, and while it could’ve been ripped from Suicide Season, the addition of Scogin – and both Scogin and Oliver Sykes trading vocal battles – is something to behold despite its short runtime.

What’s really special about There Is A Hell is the atmosphere within. In fact, it’s apparent almost right when the opening notes of “Crucify Me” ring out, but also especially on huge album cuts like “Fuck” and “It Never Ends”. These are also three of the most obvious choices for new fans to get into the band, though that has nothing really to do with their quality either way. Shockingly, the lyrics on the aforementioned songs show some real growth, and much like the album’s other featured guests, You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi adds color to what could’ve been an average song with “Fuck”, where the ending refrain of “we’re young and in love // heart attacks waiting to happen” elicit a depth of emotion that not many bands can touch.

“Memorial” // “Blessed With A Curse” deserves particular attention because of the strong hints it gave BMTH fans as to their future direction, with a massive chorus and lyrics that were destined for Tumblr-edited glory. In fact, if you compare it to future single “Drown”, there’s quite a few similarities – though “Drown” is obviously a more overtly pop-oriented song. Any way you slice it, it took a lot of risk for BMTH to juxtapose an array of styles and ideas together, and while not all of them stick the landing completely, the ambition on display is something to be admired.

It’s evident to almost anyone that There Is A Hell is still a gigantic leap forward for Bring Me The Horizon, both from a songwriting perspective as well as a musical one overall. Unsurprisingly, this wouldn’t be the last time many of BMTH’s peers would seek to follow in their direction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top
New Fury Media