Bring Me The Horizon has been at the forefront of the metal business with their unique, transcendent sounds and epic breakdowns, but they didn’t start out how we would have exactly expected them to. Their first album, Count Your Blessings (2006), debuted them as a deathcore band with many death metal riffs and blast sounds, which they later abandoned for the more clean, melodic sounds of metalcore in their following album, Suicide Season (2008). It should be deemed as one of the most drastic changes in a band’s vision for their music. What would take bands years to perfect, BMTH did in a mere 2 years. To truly see the vast difference between BMTH’s first two albums, you have to hear it first.
In the beginning, they sounded like this:
And in two short years they evolved to this:
When listening to “A Lot Like Vegas”, it is easy to notice that BMTH first album was a little messy, which is expected of many bands when they are just starting out, but it’s hard to believe they were even the same band when Suicide Season came out. They were more technical and the riffs weren’t as chaotic and muddy. They gave their music time to breathe during breakdowns and opened up room for electronic elements to be utilized. Oli was even able to be more eerie with his voice and he went from screaming frantically to meticulously picking the correct moments to be brash. It’s easy to notice that Oli also changed his vocal technique from a deeper growl to a higher scream that occasionally borders upon the line of singing and yelling. In these 2 years early on in their career, BMTH learned from their mistakes (unlike many bands) and perfected their craft in a way that made them a true original in the realm of metalcore.
In the years to follow, Bring Me The Horizon released their album, There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret, and as always they did nothing but please. It is evident, in this album, that Sykes and the band experimented more with electronic sounds and symphonic elements. They even went as far to include haunting, choral pieces into their songs, which added some classical appeal to their music. The album, overall, is well-known for it’s dark aura. This darkness allowed Oli to take a more emotional approach to his signing; you can literally feel his pain in songs like “Don’t Go.” Their lyrical content as well shined in this album. Though they had some great lyrics in years previous, there was nothing quite as phenomenal as the lyrics in There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret. These new elements allowed the album to become personal and enabled the audience to connect with their music on a deeper level. Since the album is the most personal album of BMTH’s to date, it came off as the most genuine piece of work they had released; This as well allowed them to delve into their art on the emotional level which helped skyrocket their success in future years to come. Though the album had a dark tone, it really brought light to just how epic BMTH is. As mentioned above, the lyrical content of this album is among the best. Here are some examples:
I am the ocean, I am the sea
There is a world inside of me
Lost in the abyss, drowned in the deep
No set of lungs could salvage me
Only a shipwreck, only a ghost
Merely a graveyard of your former self
We just watched the waves crash over
I’ve been cast astray
There is a Hell, believe me I’ve seen it
There is a Heaven, let’s keep it a secret
-Bring Me The Horizon, Crucify Me
We all have our horrors and our demons to fight.
But how can I win, when I’m paralyzed?
They crawl up on my back, wrap their fingers round my throat.
Is this what I get for the choices that I made?
God forgive me, for all my sins. God forgive me, for everything.
God forgive me, for all my sins. God forgive me, God forgive me.
Don’t go, I can’t do this on my own.
Don’t go, I can’t do this on my own.
Save me from the ones that haunt me in the night.
I can’t live with myself, so stay with me tonight.
-Bring Me The Horizon, Don’t Go
These lyrics all obviously come from a dark place in Oli’s mind. Sykes recently announced that he wrote this album and the ones previous while addicted to the drug Ketamine. When we reflect upon the previous years and albums, it is easy to see the connection between the music and the dark times he experienced while on Ketamine. Sykes commented on his addiction at the Alternative Press Music Awards by stating, “I want to say something that I never thought I’d actually talk about. Before we wrote ‘Sempiternal’ I was a f–king drug addict. I was addicted to a drug called ketamine; I was on it for years and I was f–ked off my head. My band wanted to kill me, my parents wanted to kill me and my f–king brother wanted to kill me; everyone wanted to kill me, everybody wanted to f–king take me to hell, but they didn’t. They stood by me, they supported me through all of that s–t and we wrote ‘Sempiternal’ because of it.No one f–king knows, no one f–king knows this, but I went to rehab for a month, and through that time, as well as my f–king band and my family, you guys – you had no f–king idea that I was in rehab – but you were sending me letters, you were sending me texts, you were sending me f–king emails. And when I got out of that rehab I didn’t want to f–king scream anymore, I wanted to sing it from the f–king rooftops. And it’s all thanks to you, so thank you very much.” Now that he’s clean a new era has begun for BMTH and their music.
Much like There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret, BMTH next album, Sempiternal, arguably their best album to date, is centered around melodic, electronic, and ambient themes supplemented with beautifully-written lyrics, but this album was meant to represent the beauty of life rather than the darkness. The album is meant to represent clean Oli and through this album he proved to everyone that it wasn’t the drugs that made BMTH so great, it was the exceptional creativeness and innovation of the band members, particularly himself as the lyricist. It was here that BMTH truly flourished on the charts and in the music business. The album could very well be described as BMTH’s work of art. With songs like “Shadow Moses”, “Can You Feel My Heart”, and “Sleepwalking,” the album became revolutionary for their career.
To come full circle, Bring Me The Horizon has now released a single, “Drown,” that shows off Oli’s singing voice and a softer side of the band. In the music video are five, clean-cut members; Perhaps symbolizing Oli being clean from Ketamine. This new direction is exciting, but when has BMTH ever not excited us? The answer to that is never. BMTH knows how to change with the times and they are the best in the business at evolving. Most of the time we see bands devolve, but with each and every album Bring Me The Horizon just keep getting better and we can only imagine that it will remain that way for many years to come.
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