This Bring Me The Horizon article was written by Rachael Smith. Edited by Josh Hummerston
Bring Me The Horizon’s fifth studio album is entitled: ‘That’s The Spirit’, a fairly depressing concept when truly considered,but one that nevertheless perfectly encapsulates the theme that pervades this album. The phrase is often used in circumstances in which there is likely to be no positive outcome – a way of trying to make light of a negative situation. Resultantly, the album deals with the darker aspects of life and facing adversity, a notion which is all too familiar to frontman Oli Sykes following his struggle with ketamine addiction, which almost cost him his life.
That said, the concept behind ‘That’s The Spirit’ is most succinctly captured within the recent single ‘Happy Song’, which can be regarded as the unofficial title track of the album. For instance, when Sykes cries: ‘There’s a voice in my head / says I’m better off dead / but if I sing along / a little fucking louder / to a happy song / I’ll be alright’ – an obvious mockery of the phrase ‘That’s The Spirit’. It was once said to Sykes during his period in rehabilitation and he latched on to the expression immediately. They also deride the concept through the inclusion of the cheerleading chants: ‘S.P.I.R.I.T. / Spirit / Let’s hear it’. The danger elicited by such a track is that many will take it at face value and fail to realise the true message that lies just below the surface.
Sykes’ survival and new found clarity is reflected in both BMTH’s last two album releases, which have seen the band strive beyond their metalcore roots, incorporating electronic elements and more polished, melodic vocal performances. Their previous album, ‘Sempiternal’, which was written in the aftermath of the frontman’s addiction battle, paved the way for this new, more refined sound. Both albums have seen Sykes writing in a cathartic manner, rather than in the vehement and venting nature of BMTH’s previous releases. Despite this and other musical experimentation however, the steel city’s metal pioneers have always remained true to their metal origins, that is until now…
‘That’s The Spirit’ marks one of the most unexpected transformations within the British metal scene’s history and has successfully propelled the Sheffield quintet into the big leagues. The album is fused with nu-metal, alternative, electronica and pop influences, reminiscent of the likes of Linkin Park and Muse, which is a far cry from the death growls and hard-hitting breakdowns of their 2008 album ‘Suicide Season’. The impressive opening track ‘Doomed’, whilst leaning towards the sound of previous album ‘Sempiternal’, encompasses many of these new influences and so sets the tone for the rest of the album. The delicate, breathy intro leads into a chilling opening, created by the fusion of synths and the frontman’s melancholy vocals, which build up and erupt into a powerful, spine-tingling chorus.
In contrast to BMTH’s earlier material, many of the tracks on ‘That’s The Spirit’ possess an anthemic quality, with huge choruses that were obviously made with the inevitable packed-out arena tour in mind. ‘Drown’, originally released a year prior to the album as an initial indication or ‘teaser’ of what the band had in store, is one of the biggest and most successful tracks that BMTH have ever accomplished. Alongside the likes of ‘Throne’ and ‘True Friends’, it really stands out as a defining track for the five-piece. All three songs contain powerful lyrical content that makes for tremendously powerful and emotive choruses, which are truly felt by the listener. In terms of catchiness and positivity, ‘Throne’ was the obvious single choice of the three, with its up-tempo rhythm and potent message of overcoming adversity: ‘So you can throw me to the wolves / tomorrow I will come back / leader of the whole pack’.
In their production of ‘That’s The Spirit’, BMTH have created a masterpiece, entirely void of filler, which reveals something new and striking with every track. From the gentle, emotional ballad of ‘Follow You’, undoubtedly influenced by Sykes’ recent marriage, to the far darker ‘What You Need’ and ‘Run’ that delve into more sinister territories, to the more straight forward rock of ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Blasphemy’ – ‘That’s The Spirit’ has it all. The album culminates on the track ‘Oh No’, which cements their transition from the metal genre once and for all. The track may be aptly named for those whom have followed BMTH from their deathcore origins,but at the same time the poppy number is sure to secure the band a new and extended fan base. With this album under their belts, soon the horizon will not be enough for this Sheffield quintet.