Saturday 2 February 2019

Album Review: BRING ME THE HORIZON - amo

Bring Me The Horizon - amo

01. I Apologise If You Feel Something
02. Mantra
03. Nihilist Blues (feat. Grimes)
04. In The Dark
05. Wonderful Life (feat. Dani Filth)
06. Ouch
07. Medicine
08. Sugar Honey Ice & Tea
09. Why You Gotta Kick Me When I'm Down?
10. Fresh Bruises
11. Mother Tongue
12. Heavy Metal (feat. Rahzel)
13. I Don't Know What To Say

I have to admit that I used to really dislike Bring Me The Horizon. I saw them as one of those scene-kid bands playing Metalcore badly, and being extremely popular despite having an absence of any real songs. I started to warm to them when they grew up a bit, honed their craft and released some decent songs like Blessed With A Curse. Then came Sempiternal, which is a truly great album, and sounds almost like a different band. Either their song writing skills and creativity increased ten-fold around this time, or they had lots of outside help. Who knows? Regardless, this new direction, and main-man Olly Sykes' pretty boy face, saw Bring Me The Horizon elevated to stadium band status. Since then, the music has become even more commercial, and this once noisy bunch of kids have become one of the biggest Rock bands on the planet.

We all knew that Amo was going to be a more mainstream record than any of its predecessors, but wow. At times, it really is just pure Pop. I can think of a handful of bands that have taken this gamble to dominate the mainstream. Some fell flat on their arse, such as Sonic Syndicate with their Confessions album, and Linkin Park with their last record One More Light (read my review here). Others have seemingly gotten away with it, such as Thirty Seconds To Mars with America (read my review here). 

I don't have a problem with Pop music, in fact I quite like some of it. However, if a band has built a career as a Metal act, they can expect cries of "Sell-out" and a backlash from their fans, some of whom no doubt feel a bit betrayed by their heroes. When you read about the level of shit Kiss got for releasing a disco song in 1979, the aggression towards Iron Maiden for using keyboards on their Seventh Son.. album, or the response to Metallica's Load when it came out, the aforementioned bands didn't stray from their musical path even a fraction as much as Bring Me The Horizon have with Amo.

The big question is "Is Amo any good"?

It's far from terrible, but overall, I think it's a bit hit and miss. It's certainly an eclectic album, but seems to lack direction. Some songs have audible guitars and bear some kind of resemblance to Rock music such as Mantra and Wonderful Life, but in contrast there are tracks like the EBM Nihilist Blues and Mother Tongue which is full-on Pop. It's as though the band went out of their way to incorporate every genre in the mainstream top 40 into their album. Overall, most of the songs are quite catchy, and I warmed to them more on repeated listens, particularly Why You Gotta Kick Me When I'm Down?, and Medicine.

I think it's a given that Bring Me The Horizon are going to become bigger than ever with this record, especially with the mainstream airplay that they're now getting. For that reason, I can't see them going backwards and alienating 90% of their now vast audience by going back to their Extreme Metal roots. However, it'll still be interesting to see where they go from here.


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