From dodging gravel and ketchup onstage at 2008’s Reading Festival as the band catapulted through the nauseating debut Count Your Blessings, to selling out arenas with the doomy electro-rock of amo over a decade later, the career of Sheffield titans Bring Me The Horizon has been far from infallible. With a new EP in sights, Gemma Cockrell reflects on the sonic odyssey of one of Britain’s most iconic heavy bands.
Enigmatic Sheffield quintet Bring Me The Horizon have always been difficult to pin down. Whilst a listener back in 2006, amidst the release of debut LP Count Your Blessings, may have described them as death-metal or even ‘screamo’, many of Bring Me Horizon’s contemporary releases lend themselves more readily to labels of alternative or pop-rock.
Even the band’s early music was met with a very derisive response from the media, proving that the band was always set to draw divisions. Though the debut was unapologetically deathcore, with very little influence from any other genres, their sophomore attempt Suicide Season, released in 2008, saw them shift to fuse their roots with metal-core elements.
Bring Me The Horizon were still very much the hardcore band that fans loved and adored
By 2010, the strident collective had abandoned deathcore entirely, shifting to a defined metalcore sound for the gallant 2010 album There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven Let’s Keep It A Secret. Siting those pesky “personal differences”, the band parted ways with founding guitarist Curtis Ward around this time, and this may help to explain the stark shift in sound. His replacement was Jona Weinhofen of metalcore band I Killed The Prom Queen, and with tempestuous tracks such as Headfirst from a Hangman’s Noose, likely cemented the bands momentous evolvement.
Despite this shift in genre from deathcore to metalcore, Bring Me The Horizon were still very much the hardcore band that fans loved and adored. Not enough to divide their fans at this point, the genres of deathcore and metalcore overlap and utilise similar tropes, and so most fans found something to love in the newest releases. Whilst deathcore incorporates guitar breakdowns and growled vocals, metalcore fuses these with anthemic, melodic choruses and slow, intense passages conducive to moshing.
Fish’s arrival was amongst the main catalysts in the profound evolution of Bring Me The Horizon’s sound
The band’s evolution was stunted somewhat between the years of 2006 and 2010 with no obvious or major transitions. However, this all changed come 2013 when Jona Weinhofen departed the band, and left space for the arrival of plucky keyboardist Jordan Fish. With this new line up, the band released their fourth album, boldly titled Sempiternal, and the fanbase were truly divided for the first time.
Fish’s arrival was amongst the main catalysts in the evolution of Bring Me The Horizon’s sound. Becoming their primary songwriter and bringing significant electronic and pop influences, the progression was vast but natural. “When you get to a certain age, your palette of sound changes in terms of what you like and what you listen to,” he explained in an interview, “we wanted to write an album that reflected what we were listening to”. Fish’s refreshing input seemed to offer the band a new lease of life. Giving fans some of the most well-known and iconic songs of Bring Me The Horizon’s career, including Sleepwalking and Shadow Moses, Sempiternal became amongst the band’s biggest statements.
Eminent vocalist Oli Sykes put a lot of work into improving his vocals around this time, and began to shift away from the screaming vocal style. “He [Fish] helped me a lot personally,” Sykes shared, “and with my singing especially. He came in and allowed us to do all the stuff we’ve always wanted to do with our band, gave us that capability. I didn’t know how to sing a note before he came along, he’s a bit of a wizard in that department, so he really helped me learn how to sing”.
2015’s That’s The Spirit only saw the band progress further. Their most radio-friendly record to date, it catapulted the band into the realms of commercial success for the first time. Named Rock Sound’s ‘Most Important Rock Record of the Year’, this is the album where Fish’s contributions to the band really shined. Whilst closing track Oh No features a brooding saxophone line, Follow You is an emotional masterclass, stripping the bluff and bluster of the band back to produce a sparse, pop-driven love song.
Now fans, both old and new, are eagerly anticipating the bands next move: the upcoming EP POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR
At this point in their career, the Sheffield titans had completely left all elements of deathcore and metalcore behind, and were now a fully-fledged alternative rock band. 2019’s full-length amo only further proved this, as the group experimented profusely with rock, pop, dance and even classical elements. The year closed with the release of the utterly ludicrous Music To Listen To EP, a chaotic 8-track experimental project with deeply obscure song titles such as Dead Dolphin Sounds ‘aid brain growth in unborn child’.
Now, fans both old and new, are eagerly anticipating the bands next move: the upcoming EP POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR, which is to be released on October 30th. The project will feature nine songs, three of which have been previously released – singles Ludens, Parasite Eve and the Yungblud collaboration Obey – and is likely to mark another era for this chameleonic band.
The EP will also feature the likes of Japanese kawaii metal band BabyMetal, Amy Lee of Evanescence, and London rock duo Nova Twins. As a band who dabble relatively infrequently in collaborations, this is sure to be a new and exciting chapter for them, and it seems thoroughly unlikely that they will remain in their comfort zone. From deathcore outsiders to an area-rock staple, it is impossible to predict what this band will do next.
Featured image courtesy of Maelle Ramsey via UnSplash. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.
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