Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit
Oli Sykes powers through every enormous chorus and infectious verse with a confidence and finesse that would have you believe he’s been singing like this for years.
Never failing to surprise and challenge their die-hard listener base with each album, That’s The Spirit sees Bring Me The Horizon push things further than ever with a collection of stadium-standard alt-rock anthems more suited to Glastonbury than Warped Tour. The question is, how much is too much?
In some regards, the content of That’s The Spirit could be seen as the logical next step in their musical trajectory. These sounds and styles had already been more than hinted at on Sempiternal – tracks like “And The Snakes Start To Sing”, “Can You Feel My Heart?” and “Seen It All Before” come to mind – but if upbeat, aggressive cuts like “Antivist” or “House Of Wolves” were Sempiternal’s drawcard for you, be aware that you’ll find none of that here.
It’s that full-bore commitment to a unified creative vision that is That’s The Spirit’s greatest strength, yet also potentially its Achilles heel for heavier-leaning fans. For perhaps the first time, Bring Me The Horizon have produced a record with no throwbacks to the Suicide Season days of outrageous mosh calls and downtuned riff insanity. October 2014 single “Drown” signified a potentially major shift in direction but left fans wondering whether or not this was an outlying soft track or an all-out sonic revolution; it’s now abundantly clear that the band have taken a leap of faith right down the stylistic rabbit hole of “Drown” with no looking back.
The instantly memorable “Happy Song” has proved naturally divisive upon its early release despite being arguably the heaviest track on the album, but the cheerleader chants and nu metal-infused riffing it showcases are only the beginning. Through the driving synths of “Throne”, the RnB beats of the intro to “Follow You” or the moody indie grooves of “Oh No”, flavours ranging from Deftones and Linkin Park to alt-J and The 1975 rear their heads, unexpectedly but tastefully integrated. The entire record is evidence of just how much synth player/producer Jordan Fish has brought to the band since his induction in 2013.
Oli Sykes’ emotive yet tongue-in-cheek lyrics are just about the only thing linking the band to their early material – from the provocative gore of lines like “You make me want to slit my wrists and play in my own blood” (“What You Need”), the clichés of “True friends stab you in the front” (“True Friends”), and gratuitous references to wolves. But it’s Sykes’ ever-increasing vocal range that takes the cake. With barely a trace of screaming to be heard through the album, Sykes powers his way through every enormous chorus and infectious verse with a confidence and finesse that would have you believe he’s been singing like this for years.
Ultimately, the reason this record works is that unlike many other bands who reach their fifth album, Bring Me The Horizon’s audience has aged remarkably well with them. Each installation in their diverse catalogue has filtered off fair-weather fans and trend-hoppers, while taking the rest eagerly along for the ride. Most of those that discovered them in their early days have, like the band, since widened their musical tastes and abandoned their studded belts and dyed fringes and ultimately learned to choose substance over style, and That’s The Spirit has it by the gallon.
That’s The Spirit is out September 11 through Sony.