Sound — 9
Love it or hate it, the one thing Bring Me The Horizon have always had on their side was tenacity. Beginning as a sub-average whatever-core band, BMTH, like U.K. peers, Architects, expanded their sound in new directions with each release. Suicide Season brought more hardcore groove and low end riffing to the mix, while "There Is A Hell..." showcased a more emotional, ethereal atmosphere injected into their U.K. metalcore. Sempiternal serves as the fusing of all of BMTH's influences and sounds, serving as a rich palette of sounds and moods. The music here adds to a whole in a similar fashion to Underoath's "Define The Great Line", offering at times what sounds like hardcore-influenced shoegazing. That isn't to say the album is without more straightforward riffs. "Anti-Vist", while weak lyrically, makes up for it with bouncing riffs and a lead or two to keep things interesting. "Shadow Moses" fades in with ethereal vocals and explodes in a syncopated breakdown, leading into a more hardcore inspired verse. The almost everything-but-the-kitchen-sink barrage of influences is cluttering and eclectic (ranging from electronic music, hardcore, pop, and orchestral), but the overall experience is so much more rewarding because of this.
Lyrics — 8
Oliver has obviously grown quite a bit between LPs. "Sempiternal" marks a turning point in overall lyrical composition, mostly for the better. Gone is most all of the past angst in Sykes' lyrics, replaced by the observations of a person who's seen the world. We do still get the occasional groaner (see "Anti-Vist" and its chant of "Middle fingers up if you don't give a f***"), but outside this major stumble, the rest of the album is quite good. "The House Of Wolves" kicks off with some of Oli's sharpest, most believable lines: "Show me a sign, show me a reason to give a solitary f*** about your god***n beliefs." He's more focused, and more raw. Oli's vocal range has also significantly improved, ditching the deathcore-lite growls in favor of a more melodic hardcore-esque tone. Hell, "And The Snakes Start To Sing" has Oli doing his best Robert Smith impressing, melding the moldy blues of The Cure with the gothic tinged metal that was left back in the '90s. There is significant improvement with both lyrical content and delivery evident here. If only by the next album we get more of the ambitious Oli, and cast out the angst.
Overall Impression — 9
If you're adamant on hating Bring Me The Horizon, there is little here that may help convince you otherwise. But if you're on the edge or undecided, "Sempiternal" is a gorgeous album, filled with airy textures, dirty riffs, great hits, a few misses (see also, wtf album opener "Can You Feel My Heart"), and enough evidence yo prove BMTH are staying. They didn't just make an album with "Sempiternal". They deserved this one. For fans of: Underoath, Architects, Tides Of Man. Recommended tracks: "The House Of Wolves", "Empire", "Shadow Moses", "And The Snakes Start To Sing".