British band Bring Me the Horizon veer even further from their left-field deathcore/metalcore roots to take on an even more eclectic palette, embracing pop, hip-hop and electronic sounds in their sixth album, Amo.
It is a brave move. Fans of heavier genres are not known to take too kindly to bands who abandon their aurally aggressive past for catchy melodies and trade live instruments for synthesizers and DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations).
The fact that Amo became the Sheffield quintet’s first album to top the British charts only fuels the accusations that the band have sold out.
Still, Amo stands as the work of a band unafraid to go beyond their boundaries. In the process, they have also revealed their knack for catchy songwriting.
There is little of frontman Oli Sykes’ trademark screams and screeches and instead of shouting along, fans at the live gigs might find themselves singing a lot more to the new tunes.
Amo is more than prepared to take on detractors. The self-referential Heavy Metal is anything but its title (“Cause some kid on the ‘gram said he used to be a fan/But this s*** ain’t heavy metal/And that’s alright”). Rahzel from American hip-hop band The Roots beatboxes on the bridge and Sykes cheekily ends the songs with a scream reminiscent of the band’s sound from 15 years ago.
The band collaborate with art-pop singer Grimes on the retro, faux-Eurodance track Nihilist Blues, while Fresh Bruises, one of the album’s electronic interludes, is designed like an electronic dance music (EDM) track, complete with build-ups and a drop, with Sykes adopting a falsetto that he utilises several times in the rest of the album.
Mother Tongue, quite possibly the first track from the band that will not feel out of place in an EDM festival, is even catchier, complete with euphoric choral chants.
An orchestral string section sits next to glitchy electronics and a full-on guitar solo on album closer I Don’t Know What To Say, a touching tribute from Sykes to a close friend who died of cancer.
Bring Me the Horizon
Sony / RCA
The frontman lets on a lot more about himself, including his past and present love life, in the rest of the songs.
There are plenty of references to his turbulent and short marriage to tattoo artist Hannah Pixie Snowdon, as well as his current marriage to Brazilian model Alissa Salls (hence the album title, Portuguese for love).
Wonderful Life, which features vocals from black metal band Cradle Of Filth’s Dani Filth, is a rumination on a quarter-life crisis, with Sykes singing about being “domesticated, still a little feral”, which, perhaps, could also be taken as a dig on the band’s new musical direction.
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