Sound — 9
From the album's slightly ridiculous title, you might have got the idea that BMTH have attempted something grand and ambitious here. You wouldn't be wrong, since the album is doused in electronic ambience, massive strings, the occasional acoustic guitar and even choirs. It's still a metal album though and metal influences brought in by new guitarist Jona Weinhofen (Ex of I Killed the Prom Queen and Bleeding Through). "There is a Hell..." is the boys' third album and following the mess that was their teenage debut "Count Your Blessings" and the vast improvement of sophomore effort "Suicide Season", it's truly do or die time for the band. Put it this way, they are not dead.
"There is a Hell" starts where Suicide Season left off and exacerbates all the positive aspects tenfold before adding a truly epic touch that makes the album positively unique. Opener "Crucify Me" is a six minute epic bolstered by a massive string sound, massive electronic voice led hooks that could catch whales and brutal guitars. Much maligned vocalist Oli Sykes and Lights' (who features both on the opener and the haunting ballad "Don't Go") interplay is a true clash between heaven and hell, with Oli's screamed hooks marrying Lights' electronic warble with beautiful effects. Ambitious though it is, it works a treat. The triple blow of the beatdown-tastic "Anthem", choir assisted lead single "It Never Ends" and the sleazy "F--k" (Featuring Josh Franceschi of British pop-punks "You Me At Six") hammer it home that BMTH are on to something here. More heavy cuts follow, with the brutal "Home Sweet Hole" and "Alligator Blood" swashbuckling their way into your brain, armed to the teeth with gang vocals, breakdowns and surprisingly memorable hooks. "Blacklist" follows on, driven by it's sleazy and effortlessly filthy riff, and doesn't drop the pace at all.
It's in their experimentation that cause BMTH to turn heads though. "Memorial's" three minutes of ambience leads seamlessly into the album's highlight "Blessed With A Curse". The 5 minute epic recalls Pink Floyd on more than one occasion, but with Sykes' pained screams giving way to the first true BMTH moment of guitar heroism from lead player Lee Malia. Simply stunning. That is not the end though. 2 minutes of pure Hardcore in the form of "The Fox and the Wolf" (Featuring Josh Scogin from The Chariot) sends the album off with more of a punch to the gut than a kiss.
Lyrics — 9
Oli Sykes divides opinion, but his work on "There Is A Hell" is a cut above anything he's done before. From the super personal ("Don't Go" and "Blessed With A Curse")to the downright fun ("F--k") his lyrics are easy to relate to (more so if you have youth on your side). It's his screamed hooks that bear the most fruit though. Alligator Blood's "Lets play a game of Russian Roulette" hook is up there with his best and the Choruses on "It Never Ends" and "Home Sweet Hole" far surpass previous efforts. His scream has gotten stronger and more intelligible too.
On more than one occasion though it's the guest vocalists that make "There Is A Hell..." what it is. There are no fewer than four guest vocalists on the album, with only Sonny Moore (A.K.A Skrillex) being neglected from mention so far. All are well judged, add to the tracks and take the album to the next level.
Overall Impression — 9
Achievement is relative. BMTH were the laughing stock of the british metal scene no less than 2.5 years ago. That was then and this is now. "There is a Hell..." is the sound of boys becoming men. Many would agree that they were once and average band. While some people may remain convinced that they should never have had the chance to make album three, they have and there simply aren't enough superlatives. The metal world should sit up and take notice. BMTH have arrived.