Sempiternal review by Bring Me the Horizon

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  • Released: Apr 2, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.1 (292 votes)
Bring Me the Horizon: Sempiternal
4

Sound — 7
Bring Me The Horizon formed in 2004 from members of several recently dissolved local bands in Yorkshire, and were immediately signed as the first band to Thirty Days of Night Records. They recorded their first EP in 2004, but did not gain any significant attention for it until it was re-released by Visible Noise in 2005. They released their first full length album, "Count Your Blessings", in 2006 and then won the Kerrang! Award the same year for Best British Newcomer. From there their career began to grow and they received gigs supporting bigger acts on tour, including Killswitch Engage. There has been a lot of hate for Bring Me The Horizon, as well, with many people thinking the band was too musically cheesy or were more like metalcore/deathcore painting by numbers. With each new release Bring Me The Horizon has taken another step away from that stereotype. They have gone on to win additional Kerrang! Awards, as well as being nominated for multiple AIM Independent Music Awards. With the release of Sempiternal, they've also lost their rhythm guitarist Jona Weinhofen, and gained keyboardist Jordan Fish. This is also their first release on RCA.

When Bring Me The Horizon first came out I wasn't really digging what they did and quit paying attention to them for the most part. With the video for "Alligator Blood" a few years ago I thought I could enjoy them more than when they first came out and started paying attention again. Now with the release of "Sempiternal" I'm really enjoying what I hear, but not everyone will. They no longer have a rhythm guitarist, though Lee Malia does remain on lead guitar. There is much more keyboard/synth thanks to the addition of Jordan Fish. They still have a predominantly "metalcore" sound, but they have added in a lot of ambient passages in their songs and have minimized the heavy breakdowns. The vocals don't get anywhere near a death metal growl on this new album. There is actually occasionally a little bit of melody (just a touch) in their songs which hasn't really been there before now. To me, this release is so far away from where Bring Me The Horizon started you have to listen to it fresh to really appreciate what it is and what they're doing. There are 11 tracks on the standard edition of the album with a runtime of 45 minutes, or the deluxe edition which adds three additional tracks.

Lyrics — 7
Oliver Sykes is definitely doing his job a little bit differently these days. There is very rarely any type of "death metal" growls, but instead he sings (occasionally) mostly clean or in the realm of "hardcore" or "metalcore" screaming. The internet assures me that he hasn't damaged his voice, but instead has chosen this change in his vocal delivery for creative reasons. They still occasionally use gang vocals on this album, and this seems to be one of the elements that has remained mostly unchanged since they started using it. The addition of Jordan Fish on backing vocals (in addition to his keyboard work) is mostly unnoticeable but occasionally really shines. I personally enjoy the change in vocal delivery, but this will be the thing that loses some listeners.

The lyrics are almost a continuation of the ideas from their last album, "There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret". There is a lot of anti-religious fury going on. From the song "The House Of Wolves" as an example: "Show me a sign/ show me a reason to give/ a solitary f--k/ about your god damn beliefs/ I'm going blind/ but one thing's clear/ death is the only/ salvation you fear." Then occasionally they express a different type of sentiment like on the song "Hospitals For Souls": "and then I found out how hard it is to really change/ even hell can get comfy once you've settled in/ I just wanted the numb inside me to leave/ no matter how f--ked you get/ there's always hell when you come back down/ the funny thing is all I ever wanted I already had/ there's glimpses of heaven in everything/ in the friends that I have/ the music I make/ the love that I feel/ I just had to start again." Some of the lyrics do seem to encourage self analysis and I can definitely appreciate that.

Overall Impression — 7
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this album because while I like some hardcore and metalcore music, it is a very casual interest for me. The use of the keyboards to create ambient passages in the songs, as well as the gang vocals and Oliver Sykes' hardcore/metalcore delivery have created something that is so far very intriguing to me. My favorite songs on the album are "Can You Feel My Heart", "Shadow Moses" and "Hospitals For Souls". My least favorite song is "The House Of Wolves" but I recognize that this is a matter of personal taste and not quality. I would like to mention that there is supposedly some contention on whether Jona Weinhofen was involved in the writing or recording of the album, but as far as I know he is not credited on the album in any respect. I like that it doesn't seem you know what you're going to get with a release from Bring Me The Horizon as their sound so far has changed fairly quickly. I'm eager to see what their next release brings.

104 comments sorted by best / new / date

    RiffReaper
    "The addition of Jordan Fish on backing vocals (in addition to his keyboard work) is mostly unnoticeable but occasionally really shines." Diiiiidn't even sing a word.
    trevors685
    Only a 7? Wow. I personally enjoyed the album. I'm loving the new sound. A lot more emotion, and the fact that they toned down and matured their sound makes each track that more emotional. It seems like Oli knows how to use his voice now.
    ChucklesMginty
    Honestly, I think most of the hate this band gets is undeserved. It seems to be more due to their image than their music. But Nordstrom's production on the last 2 albums was amazing and I found them fun for a while. I think they're gradually becoming more credible.
    Msjhboy
    I think BMTH is slightly more credible now that the lead singer is attempting to actually sing.
    unicornicopia
    Not doing too bad a job, either, I thought. I was surprised he could sing at all since his screams sound so weird.
    alees68851
    This is not singing, still sounds like old BMTH with perhaps a more indie sound
    jesusofpaign
    It's really incredible that, in a single comment, you both established yourself as an ***** AND sexist. Congrats.
    unikorngod
    Is it cool for me to like BMTH now? Is that what's going on?!? But seriously this album is sick from start to finish, even if it's nothing like Count Your Blessings. Nice review man!
    jesusofpaign
    Completely agree. Also, I've realized that the amount of up- and down-votes on BMTH-related posts seems to be completely random. Like, this one gets +4, others get -5?
    lemmon182
    This album is amazing, the best Bring Me have ever brought out. It seems like they've put alot more effort into this album over the previous ones. I love that Oli sings in it, that scream/yell he has on other albums does get a bit irritating. Overall, I love this whole album and think it is easily their best work to date. Now bring on dat dere hate
    dragozan
    I don't mind metalcore/deathcore/whatever, but I could never get into Bring me the Horizon. I found Oli Sykes' voice too unbearable and whiny, especially in the two albums before this. However, I don't know what he's done, but this album vocal-wise is definitely a step forward.
    BackIn84
    I've always hated this band, but I actually really enjoyed this album. I feel like if you listen to it objectively without thinking about how much you know you hate BMTH, it might surprise you.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Problem is, there's many bands that do what BTMH do and do it much better.
    BackIn84
    With regards to their other releases, I'd agree with you, but with this album I feel like they stopped doing all the things that they sucked at and went with this sort of post-rockish sound that you don't hear very often in the genre. I definitely think it could've been done better (specifically with regards to guitars), but I think they've achieved a much more unique and interesting sound.
    crazysam23_Atax
    You're welcome to your opinion, as I'm welcome to mine. (Although, I wouldn't agree about the "post-rockish sound" part, in that there's many bands who use that style of sound in a much better way.)
    captainsnazz
    Came here looking for a hilarious pun to make or something, but found a pretty good song instead. Nice.
    Metallidethium
    Definitely their most thought provoking release yet. I still yearn for the days of their deathcore material because I have a breakdown fetish but I do enjoy this a lot.
    jaybrink101
    Honesty time: I was introduced to Chelsea Smile off Suicide Season as one of the first 'metal' songs recommended to me by a scene kid friend, and I though it was aight. Then I got into metal properly and despite owning both albums released at that time, I never ever listened to them, because, well, they were kinda crap. Then came the third album. I heard It Never Ends, and Blessed With A Curse and bought the album. It was experimental, sounded great, and I loved it. This is even better. As someone who has no fringe, is currently wearing a Behemoth t-shirt, and whose favourite song at the mo is by Bruce Springsteen, I'm not ashamed to say that this album kicks ass.
    Poorbillionaire
    I used to like Bring Me The Horizon, and I'm guilty of calling them "metal" before. But i agree with crazysam on this one they're "Hardcore Punk" not Metal, not even Metalcore in my opinion, if you want to listen to Metalcore, go pick up some As I Lay Dying or All That Remains (Except for All That Remains's "A War You'll Never Win", anything earlier's cool)
    jakeb1479
    I think the reason people hated them was because their first album was average at best, and then on Suicide Season they started to get bigger. They were representing metal to the masses, but many metalheads didn't like this because they didn't look metal, didn't sound like Slayer, and they were popular with people who don't listen to Burzum. After that (especially in the UK) the hate for them gathered its own momentum, completely separate to their music, and it just became cool to hate them. Now we have things such as Blood on the Dance floor, the hate has been shifted away from BMTH
    crazysam23_Atax
    Actually, they presented bad "Metalcore" to the masses.
    jesusofpaign
    Bad is an opinion, metal core is metal, so you're essentially agreeing with what Jakeb said.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Actually, Metalcore is NOT Metal. Anyone in either the Hardcore forum or the Metal forum here on UG would tell you that.
    Redfinton22
    Did you read this aloud before posting it? Because it's absolutely ****ing ridiculous
    unikorngod
    It seems odd that a genre called metalcore isn't considered "metal" by anyone, but I guess elitists will be elitists.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Metalcore is NOT considered Metal, because it is a mix of Metal and Hardcore (Hardcore stands for Hardcore Punk, btw), meaning if anything it's a hybrid genre. Although, to be fair, bands like BTMH and Asking Alexandria (and even KsE) present more of Metal influence than bands like Converge or Hatebreed (which present more of a Hardcore Punk influence). So, I can see how people who only listen to bands like BTMH or Asking Alexandria (and don't listen to bands like Converge or Hatebreed) would be easily confused and think that Metalcore = Metal.
    unikorngod
    Not that it's worth arguing about at all, but I'm pretty sure that "hybrid" genres(I feel pretentious just writing that), as long as they have metal aspects, can be considered metal. There's really nothing to gain from being so pedantic about what genre a band is. Metal is metal, simple enough
    crazysam23_Atax
    Not really. Metalcore has enough aspects of it that don't fit the metal aesthetic, so it's not Metal. I know it has some sonic similarities, but soundings similar is NOT what makes a genre fit within another genre heading.
    The Spoon
    A lot of people I know were freaking out about this album...I can say that the only tracks that stood out for me were Sleepwalking and Can You Feel My Heart or whatever. Most of it is really boring to me. There is a Hell will probably remain my favorite album by them. Their music has always been a guilty pleasure for me, but suddenly it seems like its cooler to like this band among certain circles.
    WhiteSoundD
    Fucking love this album, i don't really like their older stuff, but this is a huge step up. In my opinion, the best album of 2013 so far.
    vppark2
    The Color Morale, Senses Fail and Killswitch Engage were 100x better than this.
    crazysam23_Atax
    No offense, but KsE is very generic too these days. I like their stuff, but it's hardly groundbreaking work.
    Poorbillionaire
    If you want to be awesome and actually listen to some "metal", go pick up some early Trivium, like "Shogun" or "Ascendancy". Or maybe some Meshuggah!
    jaybrink101
    And let's be honest, hating BMTH is as much of a trend as liking them.
    crazysam23_Atax
    So, what? We should just act like hipsters and pretend we're neutral towards bands we dislike?... (That was a joke, btw.)
    viking57
    I agree that we should voice are critisms but at the same time i agree with jaybrink that it is almost like a trend to rag on bmth
    TheBigRobboUniq
    Same goes for Nickelback and Poison, if you don't hate it then you're made to feel like you're not inside the in crowd. While I must say I do dislike this band it's after listening to all of their albums hoping to hear something I'll eventually like given the hype. I just wish more people would actually give it a listen before saying they're terrible based on the fact that the band look like losers
    Disturbed_EMG
    Liked the first album, some of the second, didn't bother with the third. This one had some solid songs on it.
    intothevoid95
    I should preface this by saying I find everything else this band has done to be abhorrent and if asked five minutes before listening to this I would have included them in a list of my least favorite bands. Having said that, this album is actually really good and frankly I'm shocked out how good it is. It's far more coherent than anything they've done and the songs sound like actual songs. However, anyone who thinks this is going to be the "Album of the Year" clearly haven't heard the new AIC songs or the little Sabbath snippet.
    EpiExplorer
    I dont want to write a monologue on how awful this is so I'll just leave it at: its still awful, but worse and with more pointless electronics.
    vppark2
    I sent my review for this awhile ago. 4 overall. Just too repetitive, boring, and not memorable at all.
    Richardbs
    Every time I see you comment on a review, it's you shooting the bands down. Are there any you even enjoy? Your tastes for music are more demanding than Roger Ebert for movies.
    vict1mized
    the f**k is everyones problem man... if you dont like the album than dont brag about it and GTFO.
    EyesWideOpen
    No one is bragging about not liking the album. Some of us like it. Some of us don't. Both positions are equally valid.
    thingstodo
    I just checked out a couple tracks on youtube. I really didn't get into it. If you're looking for a good new metalcore album check the new KsE. The pioneers of the genre are back and are god damn riff machines.
    BuriedAlive7x
    Best BMTH album. On the first listen I'd give it the same score 7/10. After listening for over a month now it's a 10/10. I enjoy all the songs, my favorites are And the Snakes Start to Sing, Sleepwalking, and Can You Feel My Heart. I'll have to buy the special edition so I could get the bonus tracks now.
    sven.stazic
    I was really sceptic about this album, but it's really good stuff, a lot of nice bulit ups. also, Oliver is finally starting to "sing"
    Pete-V
    Hmmmm... had hoped for some metalcore i was actually able to enjoy again (old metalcore/deathcore fan, but find it borring and sometimes pretty gay now) but even after so much change i simply can't enjoy this kind of music anymore..
    naseem_guitar
    Honestly sick of people complaining about repetitiveness or not new in the genre or no breakthrough, holy ****, just listen to it, this is not some freaking science fair where everything has to be new and better. Can't people just like the stuff people produce for what they are? These people are making music that reach a lot of people, honestly it is repetitive and somewhat dull when you listen to it everyday, but it doesn't make it bad. Give credit where it's due.
    Redfinton22
    Honestly...let people complain. What, does it make their music sound worse to you? You're right about one thing though: people ARE afforded the right to just like the stuff BMTH produces for what it is, but the beautiful thing is people don't have to. If you've got a problem with THAT, why the hell are you reading a Bring Me The Horizon CD review on Ultimate-Guitar.com? lol
    Sam Rulez D00d
    Anti-Vist is one of the worst songs I've ever heard in my entire life. But I liked Shadow Moses, so I'll definitely give the rest of it a listen.
    iamtheoceanusea
    Well to that I say you're a CUNT!!!
    crazysam23_Atax
    To that, I say insults are lame.
    CurlOfTheBurl
    There's too much of the 'breakdown followed by clean chorus' going on for me (dont try the " datz metalc0r3 d00d" card either, not necessarily), very generic sounding album overall i thought
    Reages
    it's not metalcore, it's post hardcore
    Ciaranc944
    Honestly, where is all the musical progression I have been hearing about in "Shadow Moses" from every scene girl on Twitter for the last several months? It sounds exactly the same as their old stuff...
    vayne92
    With the exception of Shadow Moses which i reluctantly admit is a pretty cool song, this album is the worst album from them yet. Even worse than their last album which i couldn't even listen through in its entirety.
    iamtheoceanusea
    This album is ****in' epic. I believe the only people who won't enjoy this album are the stupid scene kids who are still hoping for another album like 'Count Your Blessings'.
    crazysam23_Atax
    I'm neither a kid nor interested in scene music (you can view the bands in my profile or my lastfm, if you don't believe me). So, your argument that only "stupid scene kids hoping for another 'Count Your Blessings'" is invalid. I simply find it to be another generic album by a band that consistently releases generic stuff. /shrug
    Pete-V
    Not stupid, dosn't like count your blessing. Just simply don't like this kind of music but gave it a chance just in case. I think i'll just go back and listen to metal insteat.
    spudoka
    BOOOOORING! I can't believe how much they sold out. They lost all intricacy and aggression. my grandmother likes it. Oh well at least all the little teen boys and girls can pay for their mansions.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Like they had intricacy or aggression in the first place.../facepalm
    spudoka
    Check out Black and Blue. If you can play it, I'll eat my words. As for aggression, I mean the vocals and the breakdowns are completely wussed out on Sempiternal.
    EyesWideOpen
    I checked out that Black and blue song. Utterly generic repetitive riffs, a horrible open powerchord breakdown and some diminished hammer on runs that get spammed to death in every deathcore song. TOATZ TEKNICAL BRO!!. Check out some Defeated Sanity, Wormed or Spawn of Possession. Now that stuff is intricate and aggressive. Not this Bring me the horizon bollocks.
    spudoka
    I never really said they were technical, just that they lost what they had. As far as those 3 bands, I think you guys are trying to compare apples to oranges. None of those bands are even in the same ballpark as either new or old BMTH. Defeated Sanity and Spawn of Possesion are not really my thing but I enjoyed them. Wormed has really cool album covers and song names but I need some sliver of a melody, and I couldn't find any in Wormed.
    crazysam23_Atax
    The vocals and breakdowns were always wussed out. As for the song "Black and Blue"...I think EyesWideOpen summed it up well. If you think bands like BTHM are talented, write well-written songs, etc., then you need to dive into the Metal Forum here on UG and discover some good Metal. Or dive into the Hardcore Forum and discover some good Metalcore (a la Hatebreed or Converge). @EyesWideOpen: Excellent suggestions. All 3 of those bands are excellent. Although, that's just the very tip of the iceberg.
    spudoka
    I also don't think they are that talented, just that they sold out and pumped out a whole album of mainstream garbage for teen girls. Thanks for the forum advice, I'll check it out. Any quick suggestions for some black metal ala Dimmu, Cradle, Chthonic, Illnath, etc.?
    crazysam23_Atax
    Ask the guys in the Black Metal thread. I like BM, but I'm not very well-versed in it. I know the obvious ones like Darkthrone and Emperor, but none of the stuff beyond that.