Released: Sep 11, 2015
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Post-Hardcore, Electronic
Label: Sony, Columbia
Number Of Tracks: 11
The band's fifth full-length studio effort tries desperately to keep one foot in their metalcore foundation while leaning further into their more recent pop rock inclinations - the result is a confusing album, with strong moments, but no clear direction.
That's The SpiritFeatured review by: UG Team, on september 15, 2015 10 of 11 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 7
Lyrics: 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. // 6
Overall Impression: 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. // 6
That's The Spirit
thenextkirk92, on september 16, 2015 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 7
Lyrics: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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.
That's The Spirit
qman685, on september 16, 2015 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Bring Me The Horizon is a post-hardcore/deathcore (hard rock with this album) band from the UK. Their 5th record "That's The Spirit" released on September 11th and it comes with many changes. First, a drastic change in musical style and dynamics. Bring Me The Horizon's last record "Sempiternal" was definitely a change from their loud and sometimes messy vocal and instrumental approach to metalcore, but this time it completely takes away anything metal in this album. For example, tracks like "Doomed," "Follow You" and "Oh No" show that the band has left the metal genre entirely. Instead, it takes a more electronic/alternative route. Not that this is a bad thing, I am willing to hear Bring Me The Horizon's change. Unfortunately, the songs that do show more of an alternative sound do not cut it for me. I find them boring at times and not even Oli Sykes' vocals can make them better. Maybe this is just because I am used to their heavier sound and I just need time to adjust, but for now I have to stick to my opinion and say that I don't enjoy these tracks.
There is some hope on this record. Even though Bring Me The Horizon is taking things softer now, there are some songs that are a perfect blend of hard rock and their new sound. For example, the song "Throne" is probably my favorite song on this record. It incorporates the hard rock sound that Bring Me The Horizon has been showing off in these singles and also experiments with different instruments/sounds. There is a beautiful harp in the background that goes well with Sykes voice and the synth that plays during the chorus is infectious. The song "Happy Song" also catches my attention as well. It is definitely the heaviest song on this album and even though the guitar riff isn't that creative, it is still a catchy track that will have you humming along with it. "Drown," the first single from this album, is a song that I think is one of the best songs lyrically. The choir that sings along with Oli gives me chills and also shows a lot of passion from the band. It is a personal track, like a lot of songs on this record. Tracks like "True Friends," "Avalanche" and "Blasphemy" are also songs that I think are a perfect blend of new Bring Me The Horizon and hard rock. // 6
Lyrics: Oli's lyrics are very personal, but sometimes I feel like he can be generic. "That's The Spirit" is a very personal album for Oli Sykes and I really appreciate that he isn't making the album just to get fans to relate to him (or it seems like that). That being said, I really love the lyrics in "Avalanche," "Happy Song," and "Blasphemy." The sarcastic tone in "Happy Song" is what really makes me like the song. He talks a lot about if he sings a happy song, he'll be happy. My interpretation is that it's suppose to be sarcastic and that he doesn't really believe that, which I think is clever for Oli to do. "Blasphemy" deals a lot with religion. Specifically with people who say they believe in something but then do morally wrong things. "Ask no questions and you'll get no lies" Oli's lyrics are spot on here and I think go with the lyrics very well. There are some songs where I am not as crazy about the lyrics. Like in "Follow You," the lyrics seem to be kind of generic and not really that special or different. "Cross my heart and hope to die / Promise I'll never leave your side" It doesn't really excite me or make me want to listen to the song.
Overall, Oli's voice is good for what it can do. I have heard that Oli can not scream as much as he used to for medical reasons, so that is why the album is less heavy and does not have as much screaming as Sempiternal. Even so, Oli makes up for it by showing that he can sing just as well as he can scream. // 7
Overall Impression: Bring Me The Horizon have created a new sound for themselves, unfortunately the new sound can sound boring or unimaginative. The songs "Throne," "Avalanche" and "Drown" are the highlights of the album for me. I think this album was an attempt to find their new sound by trying to incorporate more electronics into the album. Since Oli can no longer scream like he used to in "Suicide Season," it is understandable that Bring Me The Horizon would go to a different sound but I do not enjoy a lot of the songs on this album. If someone stole this album from me, then I would probably get something else, but that is not to say this album is terrible. It has it's moments. Although to me, the songs that I find boring out weigh the moments that this album shines. // 6
That's The Spirit
RaccoonTakugami, on march 05, 2016 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Oli Sykes' group has got better with age. Oli has evolved in terms of vocals has become a great singer when it came to clean vocals, which he started back in "Sempiternal." Effects have become more prominent in their music which in a way showcase's their turn to the main stream. You still can hear the occasional scream, showing BMTH haven't lost what made them as they are today. And if you think the riffs left, you were wrong. BMTH still pump out the heavy shit and combines perfectly with the techno vibe they have going on. For example "Doomed," which switches perfectly between tech piece to full on metal.
They have impressed me overall with the sound and the quality is incredible. You can see the effort they put into this. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are hard hitting and emotional, for example What You Need. They also show how people are false, "True Friends," but some other bits are hard to make sense of. But on the other hands, you have songs you can belt out and show how people can bounce back, Throne, and you have songs to unleash your best headbang, "Blasphemy." The lyrics fit with the music like a match made in heaven. Oli tries his best and changing to mainly clean vocals has been a challenge and his vocals have not been treated well due to his pure screamo past, resulting in his vocals to have a growling undertone. // 8
Overall Impression: In turns of their albums, it doesn't beat "Sempiternal." But they set themselves such a high bar and are within breathing distance of it. maybe it's just me, missing the hardcore sound they had. My favorite song one the album is "Doomed," track 1. It just shows how they have evolved and showcases all of their talents to the best that they can and it is a great song to sing to. The chorus makes the hairs on my neck rise every time.
I love their new vibe, in all of their work. It shows maturity compared to songs like "Antivist" which is almost like a rant, though I do love that song, and it also shows how they have evolved into a new Bring Me The Horizon. I do miss they're hardcore stuff from "Suicide Season" but they still play "Chelsea Smile" in their live shows so forgiveness is given.
If I were to loose this album, I would get myself the vinyl! // 8