Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal

bring-me-the-horizon-sempiternal1

Label: RCA Records

Review by Mabh Savage

Bring Me the Horizon are another set of fellow Tykes, hailing from Sheffield and now in their 9th year and on their 4th album. They’ve moved from what’s referred to as deathcore to a much more commercially viable metalcore within this time, and I wanted to have a listen to see just what this means in a musical sense.

The first thing I think when Can You Feel My Heart, the opening track to this album kicks in is did I put Linkin Park on by mistake? The vocals do little to diffuse this worry, although singer Oliver Sykes is slightly more coarse and guttural than our Chester.

The House of Wolves carries on the comparison with a combination of rap-style spoken word and twinkly synth melodies, but despite this the guitars are fat and crunchy, and the beats are fast and sure.

Empire (Let Them Sing) employs anthemic, soaring keys over clichéd but well executed metal guitar riffs, making this a completely perfectly engineered metalcore track and kinda boring.

Sleepwalking is much more melodic, but really, really makes me think of Linkin Park! There’s nothing like wearing your influences on your sleeve and subtlety clearly is not this band’s forte. This is a great tune though, punchy and catchy.

Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake is an awful, awful line in a song; it smacks of someone saying hey what a clever lyric and being surrounded by ‘Yes Men’. The track itself is pretty good though, changing dramatically from dense, guitar based fuzz to light, airy space which allows for some interesting melodies.

Shadow Moses has a sort of call and response thing going on at the start and the chorus which is quite neat, then kicks into what has to be the most metal track on the album so far. This is Sempiternal growls Sykes, in his voice that’s not quite shouting or singing but somehow just works so well with this style of metal-rap.

And the Snakes Start to Sing is such a great title. I have no idea what it means, but this song seems more introspective, and from here into Seen It All Before, it seems like we have moved into a quieter, but angstier part of the album. There are certainly some very emo moments here, but not painfully so. The lyrics are obviously heartfelt and don’t seem to parody themselves as so many emo lyrics can.

We climb out of the mire of misery into Antivist, an angry, screeching rant that has elements of Sepultura in the guitar line and some very nice, harsh vocals. There will be no peaceful revolution apparently. I think there is a very bad word in this song, used appropriately though. I also think this is my favourite track on the album.

Crooked Young is an odd but tasty combo of spicy guitars and sweet strings, before a bite of bitter vocals and a chorus that cries out for seconds.

Hospital For Souls makes me think of Silent Hill; a bit spooky, a bit industrial, and of course the title itself. This track is quite anthemic and large; a wall of sound that builds and builds.

Join The Club is heavy but feel a little disjointed; it doesn’t flow as easily as some of the other tracks. The final track, Deathbeds, starts in a hollow, semi-industrial style that makes me think pleasantly of Portishead or Massive Attack, even more so when the frankly beautiful vocal melodies begin to flow over the beats.

The band cites Pantera and At The Gates as influences, evident in the guitar work, and Pink Floyd, whose influence gleams every now and then in the synth work and track structure. They don’t mention Linkin Park at all. Maybe the similarities are a coincidence? Those similarities certainly diminish as the album progresses, although I can’t rid myself of the comparison entirely.

Sempiternal means everlasting or eternal. I’m pleased to say that the experience of listening to the album doesn’t feel like this! The style isn’t quite my personal cup of tea, but fans of metalcore, even emo and screamo and certainly nu-metal-heads should check this album out. There’s enough differential between the tracks to keep you interested, and enough of a consistent style to keep you tapping along to the catchy yet moshable beats. Bring Me The Horizon, you surprised me. Here, have four stars.

****/5

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