Bring Me The Horizon
That’s The Spirit
(Sony Music)

It has been one hell of a twelve year ride for metalcore outfit Bring Me The Horizon. They went from being the definition of a deathcore band to an alternative rock outfit in the span of 5 albums. I don’t think any of us could have ever guessed they would be where they are today – including the band members themselves. They haven’t even come close to releasing the same album twice, so it’s not easy to predict where they will head next. They dove head first into new territory with the release of There Is A Hell…, and they’ve continued to explore the abyss with every release ever since. Now they are on their fifth full-length album and there’s no sign of them slowing down yet.

That’s The Spirit is not what you might expect. It’s not what I expected. I anticipated something similar to one of their last two releases – but that’s not what they’ve delivered. For starters, the album focuses less on heavy electronic elements, and without them sounds quite a bit cleaner than previous releases. They are experimenting with their sound more, which is highlighted by the fact that a number of tracks have a huge pop influence to them. If you had any hope that the band would go back to a deathcore sound, then this album should put the final nail in that coffin.

Oli Sykes likes to stick with certain themes in his music. “Blasphemy” discusses religious faith – or more accurately a lack of it. We’ve heard this theme in previous songs like “Crooked Young” and “House Of Wolves.” He has also sung about betrayal, like in “True Friends.” He’s covered this topic in the songs “Sleep With One Eye Open” and “Blacklist.” Focusing on his life events has enabled him to create gripping lyrics that paint a vivid, emotion-packed experience for listeners. It’s that ability to tell a story that’s kept them in the game for this long.

With each release the band has gradually tested a variety of sounds. Each album has been an experiment, and their success encouraged them to continue to push the boundary of what it meant to be who they are. Fans do not usually like to hear the same album twice – so I won’t say that I wish this sounded more like their previous two releases. I would be interested to see where they will head on future albums though. That’s The Spirit is not their strongest release, but it has plenty to offer for most listeners.

“Doomed,” “Happy Song,” “Throne,” “True Friends,” “Avalanche” and “Drown” are the best tracks. It’s easy to understand why most of them were chosen as singles to be released ahead of the rest of the album. Of those, “Avalanche” is my personal favorite. The song is an emotional ride for anyone who has ever felt they were drowning with weight of the world on their shoulders. With that said, all eleven tracks on the album have a different story to tell, and they will speak to each fan differently depending on their own life experiences. The previously listed songs just happen to be more compelling on their own.

While That’s The Spirit is undeniably an enjoyable album, it’s not the crowning achievement Sempiternal was. The band took a few creative risks with this album, and while they’ve paid off overall the album just isn’t in the same weight class. The arguably best tracks on the album are the ones that sound more like some of the singles on There Is A Hell… and Sempiternal. That doesn’t mean they should stop experimenting with their sound though – most of their fans have graciously embraced the band’s new direction and will continue to support them as they rediscover themselves.

Purchase That’s The Spirit on iTunes.

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My specialty is detached malevolence.

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