British natives Bring Me the Horizon released their fifth album, That’s the Spirit, on Sept. 11 via Sony Music. This album redefines what a metalcore band can do on a record.
Bring Me the Horizon was once known for screamed shrieks and guttural vocals. Vocalist Oliver Sykes is hardly heard screaming on That’s the Spirit.
Guitarist Lee Malia was known for playing heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars on the band’s previous albums. The tone of the guitar sounds like they are playing a completely different genre—more alternative rock than metal. The guitar is cleaner and more melodic than on previous albums.
Drummer Matt Nichols used to play blast beats. The drumming has slowed down significantly on this album. The incorporation of electronics and classical stringed instruments has not been employed much on their older releases, but these new elements compliment their songs well.
Their songwriting has taken a turn in a completely different direction from their previous efforts, but it is even more incredible.
The album opener “Doomed” is an example of how Bring Me the Horizon executes the employment of electronics well. The lyrics give the listener a sense of hopelessness as Sykes sings ambiguously about desperately wanting to give up on life in a world that is to blame.
“Happy Song” features a cheesy cheerleader’s chant. If listeners can tune out during “S-P-I-R-I-T, spirit, let’s hear it/ let’s go,” the rest of the song is pretty good. The lyrics “but my head is like a carousel/ And I’m going round in circles,” creates the impression that the speaker of the album realizes that his mind is the reason that he is feeling so debilitated.
“Throne” is a song that is about the consequences of being betrayed. Because the speaker was stabbed in the back, the speaker transforms from being weak and vulnerable into someone who is strong and takes supreme control. Although the speaker was hurt by a traitor, the speaker does not want for them to repent. Traitors do not change in order to improve their lives. Betrayal and abuse are how the speaker justifies his transformation into this newly exalted and powerful person.
Listeners may notice that there are a couple of common themes among songs on That’s the Spirit. The first common theme is wanting to surrender but holding onto hope and persevering.
The second common theme is blaming the world for personal problems. There are a couple of examples of these themes on That’s The Spirit. The first example can be found on “Doomed,” with Sykes writing “the world’s a funeral, a room of ghosts/ No hint of movement, no sign of pulse.” The second example can be found on “Happy Song,” where the lyrics read, “The world has coalesced/ Into one giant mess/ Of hate and unrest.”
It is hard to agree with the perspective that Sykes conveys in these songs. The world is full of living people who are not confined to graves or urns, people who live conventional lives instead of straying from the path. The world cannot be blamed for people’s hearts being full of hate, and people are usually the ones who are to blame for turmoil. Of course there are unpleasant consequences in life, but that does not mean that listeners have to have such a desolate perspective.