Sound — 7
Bring Me The Horizon are a British rock/metal band from Sheffield, England. Formed in 2003, "That's the Spirit" is their fifth full-length album and the follow up to the award winning, albeit somewhat controversial, "Sempiternal." The controversy stemming from the change of direction from their previous albums to a more mainstream and accessible style and sound.
Their latest effort "That's the Spirit" takes this ball and runs with it further. This becomes apparent with songs such as "Follow You" which is a genuine pop rock, ballad style song and the album closer "Oh No" which is this electronic, party song with the drums and synths a lot more apparent in the mix. Then it variates to more stadium type rock songs like "Drown" and "Throne" which you get the feeling when listening to these that they were written with a set formula in mind to enhance their live shows and increase audience participation. This results in this, somewhat forced at times, epic-type style with a lot dynamic change to create a lot of punch and explosion of sound. It can take you out of the songs sometime due to the stop-start nature of the song arrangements.
Backing singing is used a lot also on this album also. Overall it's very tastefully done where it blends in and enhances rather than takes over. Oliver Sykes' singing is a bit studio-ised at times, for example when I heard his high singing in songs like "True Friends" I couldn't help but think "that must have taken him a lot of takes" but overall it's quite good. I think he knows his comfortable range and sticks to it to deliver good performances rather than forced, barely in reach passages.
Production is pretty nice on this album too. Guitars are dirty sounding but in a good way. Sort of loose sounding and organic rather than heavily modern robotic sounding. Clean sounds are nice too with lots of nice re-verb and jangly sounds. Drums are nice and punchy with no sharp high end on cymbals and a good snare sound too. The bass guitar is a bit muddy in my opinion and is lost in the kick drum sound, as well as vice versa, at times. Electronic drums are, well, your typical electronic drum sounds. A good balance of bass on the kick sound without being overly booming and what I believe is a clap for the snare sample though I'm no expert when it comes to electronic drums so I could be wrong.
Overall, "That's the Spirit" is an above average quality rock album with some high points where you think "yes, this is great" and occasionally some basic, predictable, almost generic sounding, stadium rock parts.
Lyrics — 8
Oliver Sykes has definitely changed up his delivery these days. The majority of the album is focused on singing with, very occasionally, a pushed style of singing. On the most part, and if you don't compare to their first albums which is what their fans tend to do leading to a cynicism, it's pretty good. It suits what the band has written well. It's double tracked to create more vocal substance. Backing vocals are widely used throughout the album as I stated more as an enhancement to create atmosphere.
Lyrically this album focuses on a theme of depression and suicidal thoughts. You hear this with songs like "Happy Song" with passages like: "You want to give up | Gave it all that you've got | And it still doesn't cut | But if you sing along a little fucking louder | To a happy song | You'll be just fine," as well as songs like "Drown" which connect to people who have feelings how life and loneliness can be too much at times: "What doesn't destroy you | Leaves you broken instead | Got a hole in my soul growing deeper and deeper | And I can't take | One more moment of this silence | The loneliness is haunting me | And the weight of the world's getting harder to hold up."
There is also a song about betrayal, that being "True Friends." Who knows who it is directed at but it produced some decent lyrics: "It's kind of sad cause what we had | Well it could have been something | I guess it wasn't meant to be | So how dare you try and steal my flame | Just cause yours faded | Well hate is gasoline | A fire fuelling all my dreams."
The majority of the lyrics seem to encourage self appreciation and self analysis of one's own mental state. It's tastefully done and may raise awareness of these things with the fan base.
Overall Impression — 7
I try to not compare albums to previous efforts and take them at face value instead but it's fairly easy to compare this to "Sempiternal" as they both came after the band's change in sound. In comparison "That's the Spirit" is a more poppy, accessible version of that album focusing more on hooks and catchy-ness. I loved the majority of the instrumental work but the song writing and progressions tend to get a bit generic at times. The singing is impressive and the melodies are written well.
Tracks to look out for:
- "Happy Song"
Least favourite tracks:
- "Oh No" (The song itself is OK but I don't think it was an album ender).