While not the heaviest album of the year, it might be the best…
Review by Kristian Pugh
Release date: 11 September 2015
In January of 2013, Sheffield’s Bring Me The Horizon released Sempiternal. It was a 13-song masterpiece, an album full of intensity and vigour. It took the band to heights maybe the band themselves never even thought were possible, including headlining a sold out Wembley Arena. But most importantly; Sempiternal made the world stand up and take notice of a band that just 5 years earlier were struggling to be taken seriously, stuck in an ever-deepening hole with every other band in their early twenties desperate for a glimmer of the limelight. Two and a half years later and BMTH are back with That’s The Spirit, produced by their own members Oli Sykes and Jordan Fish, the album tackles depression, hypocrisy and “celebrating the darkness” as lead vocalist Oli Sykes has proclaimed on many occasions.
With more eyes on the band now than ever before, releasing a Sempiternal 2.0 would have been both expected and understandable. Instead, the five piece have returned with a sound that none of us will be familiar with, but will be no less impressed by. This is particularly evident on songs such as ‘Doomed’ and ‘Follow You’ which drop BMTH’s high paced, ferocious sound and instead incorporate instrumentals and choruses where Oli delivers clean and clear vocals, more surprising than this change of sound and direction is the fact that these two songs are actually the best on the album, and Oli Sykes and co sound as at home here as they have ever sounded.
Both ‘Throne’ and ‘What You Need’ are as close to a throwback to old BMTH as we get on That’s The Spirit. With Throne’s techno and adrenaline fuelled tone reminiscent of Can You Feel My Heart, it is certain to be a feature in the bands live show for quite some time to come. While ‘What You Need’ is more riff driven, with a titan sized chorus and dark, twisted lyrics such as “You make me wanna slit my wrists & play in my own blood”
That’s The Spirit could be generalised as a collection of huge choruses, this theme is continued on tracks ‘Run’ and single ‘Drown’ which was released to coincide with the bands performance at Wembley Arena last year. ‘Run’ is not only one of the best songs the band has ever written, but is also one of the simplest. With a slow, patient build up leading into a big chorus which includes a vocal performance from Oli Sykes which is difficult not to marvel at.
‘Happy Song’ and ‘True Friends’ are where That’s The Spirit holds its heaviest moments, with both songs home to clean, but still heavy enough guitar to quench the thirst of those desperate for some aggression. Both songs are an interesting marker, that while the bands original “heaviness” may be missing in large parts of this record, it still exists within them, ready and waiting for them to return to whenever they see fit.
That’s The Spirit is an album not made for fans of the sub-genre, in fact; this is as un-metalcore an album that you will have ever heard. However, from a strictly musical point of view; That’s The Spirit is a world conquering behemoth in its own right, which is set to almost catapult BMTH to even more impressive heights. It definitely won’t be the heaviest album you’ll hear this year, but it might be the best.
9 out of 10
- Happy Song
- True Friends
- Follow You
- What You Need
- Oh No