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Bring Me The Horizon - amo (Album Review)

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Context is a funny thing, isn’t it? In 2007 Bring Me The Horizon were heavy metal outsiders, and they remained so for years. Their inventive brand of electronic-tinged deathcore was pooh-poohed and dismissed by die-hard metallers despite making Slayer sound soft, while in other quarters they were outright despised.

In 2016 the band made national headlines when Oli Sykes broke Coldplay’s table at the NME Awards, soon after the band had charted at number two in the UK with ‘That’s The Spirit’.  They were playing arenas, they were making appearances on daytime telly. But they were still Rebels™, baby.

They have since rebuffed rock and metal, insinuating the genres are old-hat, regressive. And seeing as one of this album’s singles actually came from a writing session for Limp Bizkit, that’s quite the hill to die on. But that’s Bring Me The Horizon—always ready to rub some people up the wrong way.

So, ‘amo’. Album six. It didn’t have to be boundary-breaking. ‘That’s The Spirit’ and its predecessor, ‘Sempiternal’, weren’t. They were just great albums that put a Sheffield spin on Linkin Park's best moments. But Sykes and co. haven’t stopped at Linkin Park here. They’ve turned magpie with the greatest hits of anyone from anywhere. Results are…varied.

Mantra and Wonderful Life are big on the Bizkit bounce, Sykes’ sardonic drawl distinct in its clarity. It’s a little Liam Gallagher, a touch Chester Bennington. It’s a bit daft, it’s not particularly highbrow, but it’s fun pop-rock. Plus, a brass section and a Dani Filth guest vocal on the latter? Why not.

But on the whole, ‘amo’ isn’t fun. At nearly an hour long, it’s got a lot of time to fill. As a result, ideas are not so much thin on the ground as they are scattered and abandoned. Ouch and Nihilist Blues are both underdeveloped, bizarre left-turns. The former’s pitch-shifted vocalisations seem like Bring Me The Horizon just heard the Prodigy’s ‘Experience’ for the first time, while the latter’s uber-‘90s Eurosynth lands it firmly in a shit house party at 2am.

‘amo’ is not cohesive, nor are its musical flights of fancy interesting enough to justify that loose structure. Listen after listen, the point of the exercise becomes less clear. Do they want to muscle in on the pop market, as the genuinely boy band-ish Mother Tongue suggests? Because they haven’t quite got the songwriting chops for that.

Or do they want to finally cut ties to their past? Maybe not, as they can’t stop going back, they can’t let go—Heavy Metal’s third-rate nu metal rambling dunks on old fans. “A kid on the ‘gram in a Black Dahlia tank says it ain’t heavy metal,” Sykes quips, before the track ends in the most contrived, self-referential breakdown of all time.

No, it doesn’t have to be heavy metal. But preferably, it should be good. ‘amo’ is a mess, and the first Bring Me The Horizon album since their debut that isn’t essential listening. They’ve tried so hard to rebel against what they were, they seem to have forgotten to find out what they want to be.

Bring Me The Horizon Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue February 19 2019 - LONDON Dome
Fri May 31 2019 - LONDON Victoria Park

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