In Defense of Bring Me the Horizon
Why They Could Be the Greatest 21st Century Rock Band, Despite the Haters
Take a look at the comment section on anything related to Bring Me The Horizon on the internet, and you will find a fanbase at war. On one side is an army of fans who claim to be the "true fans" because they found the band while they were still making deathcore music. They want the world to know how disappointed they are that they sold out. They've gone soft. They make music for 13-year-old girls now (sexism, much?). On the other is a counter protest of fans who stand up for the band, who argue that there's nothing wrong with them changing their sound or aspiring to join rock's heavyweights in arenas, stadiums, or festival main stages.
This latter camp is where I stand. The way I see it, Bring Me The Horizon are not sellouts. Maybe I'm biased. I'm one of the "new fans," who prefer Sempiternal and That's The Spirit to Count Your Blessings and Suicide Season (though I do like a couple of songs from that album). But this doesn't make my opinion any less valid because my taste isn't as heavy as someone else's. I've heard enough music to know when a band has lost who they are. I grimaced at the electronics and chipmunk squeals dominating the breakdown of Fall Out Boy's "Young and Menace." I sighed when the band that introduced me to guitar music when I was 13, 5 Seconds of Summer, became the band their detractors thought they were. Bring Me The Horizon is not one of those bands. Bring Me still sounds very much like Bring Me.
Nearly two weeks ago, BMTH unveiled their new chapter with the release of the details for their sixth album Amo and its lead single, "MANTRA." It's quintessential Bring Me The Horizon: an aggressive, perfectly pitched blend of Jordan Fish's electronic wizardry and Lee Malia and Matt Kean's guitars—the comparisons to "Happy Song" from That's The Spirit are certainly justified, but "MANTRA" is more of a younger sibling to it than a twin. And you certainly can't call it a pop song. Meanwhile, Oli Sykes's lyrics show Oli simply being the Oli we all know and love. He's sarcastic, he's authentic, he's poetic, and he takes no prisoners. "Do you wanna start a cult with me?" he asks, recalling his well-vocalised thoughts on religion previously heard on the likes of "Blasphemy" or "The House of Wolves," and it's possible to see a connection with the media's fascination, or even obsession, with love that the band are set to explore when we get to hear amo in January.
The idea of an album centered around the theme of love might leave a bad taste in the mouths of the metal purists, but for a band like Bring Me The Horizon, this is what evolution will sound like. This will be what diversifies amo from That's The Spirit or Sempiternal, and even from the rest of the alternative scene where love isn't sung about all that much. It's not what selling out sounds like because Oli is simply writing about what has affected his life in the last couple of years, as many artists do. Since the release of That's The Spirit, he has gotten married, gotten divorced, fallen in love all over again, and remarried. He has seen love in all its forms. It's a theme that will never go out of style because we will all love, be loved, hurt someone or be hurt by someone else.
Perhaps the division in Bring Me's fanbase is what will propel them to even dizzier heights. The ability to polarise and not care what the haters think might just be what separates the great bands from the ones who will be remembered. And whichever era of Bring Me you prefer, there is no denying that they are a band that's here to stay who will join the festival headliners and chart toppers of the future.