Album Review: BRING ME THE HORIZON amo
As we all know, every new Bring Me The Horizon album should come with a trigger warning. These guys have a long-running reputation for consistently provocative and controversial behavior, and their music has long divided listeners into viciously warring factions. When Bring Me The Horizon breathe in, thousands of people argue about it—and when they exhale creatively, introducing new music to the waiting world, the internet loses its shit.
Haters forget that the bile and vomit they cover their targets with actually helps the hated, by drawing attention to whatever they’re doing. For proof, consider the fact that 2015’s That’s the Spirit topped the Australian and Canadian charts; came in second place in the UK and America; and entered the Top 10 in 13 other territories. Cold, stony-faced indifference kills creative careers; emotional reactions of any kind whatsoever simply fuel the fire.
Bearing the above in mind, amo is practically guaranteed to catapult Bring Me The Horizon to another level altogether. With the exception of the Grammy-nominated “Mantra”; second single “Wonderful Life”; the Don Broco-evoking “Medicine” and “Sugar”, and sneering penultimate track “Heavy Metal”, amo is mainly populated with poppy hooks, synthesizers, digitally processed vocals, and other electronic elements. Bring Me The Horizon may officially give zero fucks, but many fans of heavy music will fill the fuck-vacuum with angry statements – and that’s what counts here.
I’m probably going to be assassinated for pointing this out, but many metal bands (and their fans) listen to more than one genre when they press play on their devices of choice. amo shines a glaring spotlight on this uncomfortable truth and invites listeners to follow BMTH into pastures new. However, many will rage-quit within the first few seconds of opening track “I Apologise If You Feel Something”; the Bieber-esque “Mother Tongue”; or the assortment of dance-club-friendly cuts that make up the majority of amo itself, and promptly dive into the online comment-war bloodbath. That battle will continue for as long as the internet exists.
Despite its faults, amo might well prove useful in one particular situation. Plenty of metal purists—male and female—often find themselves sleeping with someone who, for some insane reason, doesn’t like having sex with bands like Dying Fetus or Pig Destroyer playing in the background, and actually prefers to get it on to a pop-oriented soundtrack. If you find yourself faced with such an awkward situation, amo could offer an amicable compromise. On the other hand, it could equally lead to the kind of breakup scenario that ends with a court case and a restraining order.
Besides that, there are plenty of other albums out there that mix heavy material with poppy moments. Bring Me’s own That’s the Spirit, and even 2013’s Sempiternal, are actually two cases in point. Perhaps this band’s last three albums could act as a kind of metalhead relationship traffic light system.
If you’re dating someone who doesn’t mind making the beast with two backs to Sempiternal, you’re pretty much fine. Green light. Do they insist on That’s the Spirit instead? Yeah, maybe you’d give it a year and see how it goes. Is amo your only option? All bets are off. Anything can happen in the next three and a half minutes.
Overall, if you’re open to electronic music and pop as well as rock and metal, you’ll most likely enjoy amo. If you’re not, you’re probably cracking your knuckles and dusting off your thesaurus, ready to annihilate your keyboard or smartphone screen. Personally, I think that “Mantra”, “Wonderful Life”, and the epic “I Don’t Know What to Say” are some of the best Bring Me The Horizon songs ever – but in any case, to quote Oli Sykes during “Ouch”, this is going to end in tears.