This is just me thinking aloud here, but has Rock music gained an odour problem or something? I ask this as we are three albums deep into 2019 and all three artists I have reviewed has seemed to distance themselves from the genre, like that spotty teenager punching above their weight and asking the class hotty out to the dance.
Papa Roach brought to the table an album that was well meaning, but ultimately dull. Cane Hill have gone acoustic on our collective backsides, f**k it, I’m willing to wager Rammstein are going to go full on Oom-Pah on us, with revealing explosive lederhosen before the year is out and now we have this, Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Amo’.
Bring Me The Horizon are a band I thought I wouldn’t personally be into in a million years. From their humble beginnings as that band that screamed a lot, I just thought their early work (or as I have learned from die hard fans “the good ol’ days”) was just a collection of noise and mind numbing fret w***ing skills. Then ‘Sempiternal’ came out, bought the masses out in droves and I was proven wrong.
It’s OK, it’s nice to be wrong from time to time.
Their previous release, ‘That’s The Spirit’, bought more of a loving crowd to the lads from Sheffield’s collective bosom and while many, myself included, enjoyed the more polished, more mature approach to their music, rumblings of betrayal was being screeched by those who wanted their hardcore BMTH back, to those who could be bothered to listen.
It’s safe to say Bring Me The Horizon has divided the Rock community for a little while now, but here we are. A brand new album, an album that has already been mired in controversy from the word go, or should that be the word ‘Mantra’? You see, when the first single first came out way back in August, it yet again divided the Rock community. Some saw it as further progression, whilst others yet again squawked betrayal and wanted to see BMTH hanged for f***ing treason!
I could jump on my soapbox and start screeching myself about how bands need to progress to stay relevant in an ever fast paced music climate, that does include rolling the dice and taking a gamble, but f**k it, why bother? I’ve got a better chance of having a sordid love triangle with Poppy and Christina Scabbia before getting that point across.
So what can I say about ‘Amo’ that justifies my shambolic, often unedited ramblings as a music ‘critic’? Because I’m fairly certain one half of the Rock community would want me to squat over this album and curl out a loose watery steamer, whereas the other half wants me to step step feet away from the album and stick it to the wall with my white hot superhuman c** in admiration and adulation.
Well I’ll put it this way – either ‘Amo’ is one the greatest Pop albums to surface to music in the past ten years, with Rock music influences.
Or on the other hand, ‘Amo’ is one of the worst Rock albums of the decade and should be cast out in the sea along with Metallica’s ‘Lulu’ and Slayer’s ‘God Hates Us All’
Is that a fair and unbiased subjective summary?
The album kicks off with ‘I Apologise If You Feel Something’ which we are greeted to sounds, best described as an ATM machine in serious need of repair, but we have no time. We’re now into the albums first single ‘MANTRA’ before being bottled necked straight into the rave-a-thon ‘Nihilist Blues’ featuring that one artist every band seems to want to work with, Grimes (or as some people may know her better as Elon Musk’s hot Goth girlfriend).
Whether this is to the albums credit or detriment, you have no time to really digest what’s going on around you. ‘Amo’ takes you all over the place, only giving you two seconds between songs before you’re taken to the next flavour BMTH want you sample. It’s almost like I’m on a city wide tour of Canterbury – with Mo Farrah as my tour guide and my cheese clogged heart is on the verge of a cardiac arrest at the breakneck speed in which we’re going.
There’s a lot to unpack, lots of various music genres that strangely doesn’t feel out of place, however, you do get this unnerving feeling that this is all very ‘trendy’ and ‘for its time’. I can’t exactly let BMTH get away with that, when only a couple of weeks back I lambasted Papa Roach for trying to achieve something similar. The difference here is that BMTH are doubling down on this fangled Retro-Wave sound and are pushing the boat out, spraying broad strokes across the canvas, rather than just finding a sweet spot and staying there for fifty minutes.
Those who were wanting the Bring Me The Horizon they knew and loved are going to get very angry with this album. ‘Sugar Honey Ice & Tea’ mixes both old and new seemingly well, but this then leads to ‘Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down?’ which is clearly heavily influenced by grime music, to then go into ‘Fresh Bruises’ in which I haven’t the faintest idea. It’s an instrumental – you could even make the assumption this is inspired by Mr. Hahn of Linkin Park, it’s OK, but it’s forgettable. The album draws to a close with the robust strings and acoustic sounds of ‘I Don’t Know What To Say‘ and you are left with an album where it’s perfectly OK to not know whether you liked ‘Amo’ or not.
‘Amo’ is a huge mish-mash of an album. Ambitious, brave and parts of the album hits the the sweet spots quite nicely, but f**k me are the Rock faithful going to get pissed off at this on the Rock and Metal magazines and Facebook forums. I suppose the one caveat I can give you is to look at the album as its own separate entity, rather as part of a collective body of work from a now ex-Hardcore act and it may go down a little easier. ‘Amo’ is an interesting body of work and it shouldn’t be scoffed at, but it would not surprise me if this makes a lot of ‘worst of 2019’ lists.
Personally, I didn’t mind ‘Amo’ it had its moments, but I would also say I don’t think this is the best path BMTH should walk down without alienating their audience entirely. Whether the sound will stand the test of time is another debate entirely. This could end up as a classic, up there with Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ or NIN’s ‘The Downward Spiral’ but it could also end in tears and be seen as an old relic of 2019 – forgotten, lost and a blemish on the track record of Bring Me The Horizon.
A brave new world indeed.