That's The Spirit review by Bring Me the Horizon

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  • Released: Sep 11, 2015
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 5.4 (104 votes)
Bring Me the Horizon: That's The Spirit
9

Sound — 7
Bring Me the Horizon formed in 2003, originally as a deathcore band - but their sound has changed just a tad. Today, they're more of a pop rock band with some hard rock tendencies. There was a significant change in their sound with the release of their second album, "Suicide Season," but there was still some ground to cover. While touring for the album in 2009, guitarist Curtis Ward left the band due to personality conflicts with the rest of the band, as well as worsening tinnitus, which makes Curtis the only founding member to have left the band. The band's next album, "There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret." saw the band still clinging fairly closely to a metalcore sound, but the band's original deathcore sound was essentially nonexistent from this point. The band brought Jordan Fish in to play additional keyboards and backing vocals in 2012, and their next album, "Sempiternal," was released in 2013 with a significantly more straightforward pop rock sound, though their metalcore roots could still be heard on the album enough to give their sound a rougher edge. Brendan MacDonald joined the band as a touring member in 2013, and plays rhythm guitar as well as providing backing vocals on "That's the Spirit." The band has continued to have a fairly significant change to their sound with the release of the newest album, which sees the band taking another distancing step from their earlier deathcore and metalcore sound, and more clearly into a pop rock sound. The album contains 11 tracks and has a runtime of approximately 45 minutes. The songs "Drown" and "Throne" have been released as singles from the album.

The album opens with "Doomed," which borrows in vibe a lot from some synthpop contemporaries for the intro, but the choruses have a little bit of grit to them with some distorted guitars and screamed vocals. In a lot of ways the song is a microcosmic look at the album as a whole, with a lot of ideas going on, and mixing of different elements. "Happy Song" has some cheerleaders performing a cheer, but Oliver comes in and sings about faking it till you make it by "sing along/ a little fucking louder/ to a happy song/ I'll be alright." While I'm kind of mystified by the Bring Me The Horizon in a lot of ways, I definitely enjoy "Happy Song." "Throne" calls to mind, pretty immediately, Linkin Park - and this is where me and this album really butt heads - in a lot of ways the band is moving into the audio space of Linkin Park's heyday, which isn't exactly what I was expecting to hear from "That's the Spirit." "True Friends" is one of the heavier tracks on the album, and it has a lot of little moments to enjoy. It definitely seems to have some of the biggest hooks on the album, but I'm guessing it wasn't released as a single due to being a little heavier than the singles released. "Follow You" is one of the lighter songs on the album - this is essentially a love song with the vocal hook being "I will follow you/ because I'm under your spell/ and you can throw me to the flames" or more the repetition of the line "I will follow you." "What You Need" is more of a straightforward rock song, but this track has my absolute favorite lead guitar work from the album, though it is only a brief little piece near the end. "Avalanche" is one of the more forgettable songs on the album for me personally, but it seems to follow guidelines for pop rock pretty closely on this one. "Run" encourages everyone to run away because everything is broken - and it says it all to a sad synth rock track as the background. The chorus is actually one of the better hooks on the album, with a simple and powerful synth melody. "Drown" is a mid tempo rock song that seems to be audio melancholy - so, at least the band is actually successfully expressing the emotions they're going for. "Blasphemy" has a cool vibe going on with the track - it is an engaging song, but like a lot of the album is also very sad. The track "Oh No" closes out the album, and has a really cool "jazz" style instrumental break.

Lyrics — 6
Oliver Sykes has shown that he has a fairly versatile voice, and the backing and sometimes co-lead vocals of Jordan Fish especially fit a lot of the band's newer material. Lee Malia and Brendan MacDonald provide backing vocals as well, which are used tastefully and effectively. I find myself feeling kind of petulant about the band's continued change in sound, and especially the vocals which were more aggressive, and often screamed from the last album. Bring Me The Horizon has essentially defined themselves by their constant change, but the change in the vocals has hit me the hardest - and I would appreciate more aggressive vocals more often on this album. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the opening track, "Doomed": "Cut off my wings and come lock me up/ Just pull the plug yeah, I've had enough/ Tear me to pieces, sell me for parts/ You're all vampires so here/ You can have my heart/ You can have my heart/ You can have my heart/ The world's a funeral, I run with ghosts/ No hint of movement, no sign of pulse/ Only an echo, just skin and bone/ They kick the chair but we, we help tie the rope." The weird, unfocused, and intense sadness can be a little exhausting. The album is just unrelenting in its sadness, but doesn't really ever explain what the songwriter is sad about - he's just SO sad. If you are going to be narrative with lyrics, then actually tell a story.

Overall Impression — 6
My wife was listening to songs from different points in the band's history with me and she made a comment that hit me pretty profoundly. She said, "If you listen to their discography backwards it sounds like a pop band discovering their metal soul, but when you listen to it in sequential order it sounds like a band losing their soul and becoming pop." That may be a little bit harsh, because I don't hate everything they've done, and a lot of it is actually pretty good, but I can't help but feel like there is a touch of truth to it, as well. I definitely preferred when the band sounded angry instead of sad. If I picked favorite tracks from the album, it would be "Doomed," "Happy Song" and "Blasphemy." I can't help but wonder what the band will sound like by the time they get around to their next album.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    JuggaloCloud9
    I think the album is perfect. When you suffer from or have suffered from depression then you feel every track on this album. What's not being said about Bring Me The Horizon is how mature they've grown on this album. Its not about abandoning their roots or losing their soul but realising that they just don't want to do that style anymore. There is nothing wrong with this album and I would argue its their best.
    PantallicaFreak
    I have really been digging the newer BMTH, as a fan of them since the beginning, i really think its good for them to head this way, after all they are getting older and want to make a career out of music, you gotta kinda work with the music industry. Deathcore just doesn't make you money and I really think they do a great job with the newer music they are putting out. That's just my 2 cents!
    fromzero
    I wanted this album to be Sempiternal 2 essentially. Sonically that album was amazing imo and covered a wide spectrum. Needless to say I was very hyped up for this album and when it came out I wanted to love it but wanted to hate it at the same time so I told myself ok, take the album for what it is and set your expectations aside... Pretend like you haven't heard their back catalog and I've got to say it's one of the better albums I've heard in a very long time. I find myself trying to listen to other music and ending right back up playing this again. I've probably heard the album 50x if not more. I really like it. Would i have preferred it to be heavier? Sure but this is a great album.
    Nuclearcrayon
    Wow I am really surprised at this rating. This is an Ingenious album if you ask me. Great musicianship all round and completely unlike anything else I've heard this year. Opinions I guess...
    vppark2
    There is a ton of mixed reactions from this album. I personally find it boring. Sempiternal at least showcased a bit of creativity, while sticking to their roots on some songs, rather than going fully commercial on this release...
    DardySon
    "The album is just unrelenting in its sadness, but doesn't really ever explain what the songwriter is sad about - he's just SO sad." Its called being depressed.
    Abacus11
    I've honestly never listened to this band but the few people that I've known who have been BMTH fans have been jerks. I normally don't put too much weight on the "their fans suck so they must suck" argument but I'm thinking that it's right on here. 3rd or 4th wave metalcore band trying to make radio rock (or the closest thing to that that actually exists in 2015) because their original fan base grew out of them? Am I right?
    Haures
    Was really hyped for this album since the change in sound in Sempiternal, now I'm just really disappointed with this album.
    lukcuturic97
    It's a letdown after Sempiternal, but it's still a nice, listenable album. I like it. 7/10 imho
    metalcoremax87
    They sold out and its a subpar album even for the genre theyre in now... simple as that.
    monkey50
    coming from someone who has the username is "metalcoremax" I think you are just salty that they aren't making metalcore anymore. This is actually a really strong album. BMTH have outgrown metalcore, they don't listen to it anymore and so you can't blame them for making music that is more relevant to them. The reason this was reviewed so poor by UG is that it isn't what we expect from BMTH. If this was a brand new band then it would be praised on here but because it is a new direction for a previously very heavy band it is hated. It's not like this change wasn't expected either. Every album BMTH has written has been poppier than the last one and so this was obvious next step.
    vppark2
    "If this was a brand new band then it would be praised on here but because it is a new direction for a previously very heavy band it is hated." I absolutely hate this mindset. If this was a brand new band, then I still wouldn't like it. The music itself is boring, and the lyrics aren't very good.
    monkey50
    I can guarantee if it was a different band people would listen to it with a different mindset.
    nektosha
    I thought that Sempiternal struck a great balance between the death-core and hard rock,demonstrating the bands talent.Said talent is still evident all be it in muted tones in their latest iteration.I just wish there were more remnants of the edge that defined suicide season.
    Fatewhip
    Oh, wait never mind. Slayer got 6.7, this got 6.3. Still... It's too close for comfort.
    Jcsb1993
    both bands have proven themselves superbly capable of releasing mediocre material, so i'm failing to see your point