To put it bluntly, the answer is yes. From start to finish, the Sheffield group fulfil their ambitious approach with sensible growth and slick production. ‘That’s the Spirit’ earmarks the next evolution of Bring Me The Horizon, one that is refined, focused and willing to take a chance. And as much as some may hate it, Bring Me The Horizon are no longer a metal band. They’re a rock band – and a very good one to be exact.
From the brooding opening ripples of ‘Doomed’, you’re left with a strangling sense of anticipation that builds towards relief when that first striking chord hits. The pay-off comes in Sykes’ improved vocals and an overall larger-than-life solid rock sound that fulfils expectations, whilst recent singles ‘Happy Song’ and ‘Throne’ serve their purpose by producing a one-two punch of explosive, chorus-driven rock that never become tiresome.
Following the thunderous ‘True Friends’ that sees Sykes briefly return to his screaming ways, the album settles into itself through experimentation and musical ambition. ‘Follow You’ is a light, plucky almost ballad-like number that once again sees Sykes shine in the chorus. Who’d think this guy could sing so well back when we heard ‘Count Your Blessings’? Whilst ‘What You Need’ sees the bands aggression creep back in amongst a well-paced, accessible melody that bridges the gap between the old and new BMTH.
Lyrically the album takes on themes such as betrayal, overcoming anxiety and addiction, and close-minded people. It allows the record to become grounded by Sykes introspective thoughts, countering the bands bold musical direction along the way. It’s this emotional depth that makes ‘That’s the Spirit’ the accessible rock juggernaut it is.
Admittedly there are moments that make you think twice. ‘Run’ atmospherically opens with echoing “oh”’s and “ah”’s building towards an impassioned chorus, whilst ready-made single ‘Avalanche’ subtly incorporates stabbing synths. However, it is on closing track, ‘Oh No’, that makes you second guess BMTH. Its bright, upbeat tone comes off more like a Don Broco number (with its saxophone solo) rather than an angry rock band. However, with Sykes’ lyrical theme of facing his past addictions being brought again to the forefront, it doesn’t alienate itself from the rest of the album.
Nevertheless, the overall tone of ‘That’s the Spirit’ is seemingly “bigger is better”. Having conquered Wembley Arena last year, it’s clear these songs have big venues in mind. The re-working of ‘Drown’ is even more monstrous as the original, whilst the cynical ‘Blasphemy’ swells in the chorus with its sharp guitars and suitable drum work. In addition, the coupling of the aforementioned ‘Happy Song’ and ‘Throne’ redefines BMTH’s hunger to produce a grandiose rock sound.
You can’t argue ‘That’s the Spirit’ is an achievement for Bring Me The Horizon. They have continuously silenced critics and with ‘That’s the Spirit’ they have done it once again. A daring, dramatic shift has paid off and is certain to see Bring Me The Horizon become part of rock’s elite. The combination of their courageous musical direction and docked raw lyrical themes makes for an addictive, unique record that deserves all the praise.
‘That’s the Spirit’ by Bring Me The Horizon is out now RCA (UK) / Columbia (US).
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)