Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

The once kings of all things black-clothed and straight-fringed have grown up.

It’s tough being a Bring Me the Horizon fan. If you’re old school, you might remember ‘Pray for Plagues’. More likely, you’ll have heard ‘Drown’ while it was plastered all over Radio One.

For me, Sempiternal was the turning point and remains one of the most solid alternative albums of all time. Memories of edgy college kids yelling “middle fingers up, if you don’t give a fuck!” across halls and fields like an audible salute, will never fail to strike me with fondness and nostalgia.

But after the ‘hit-or-miss’ nature of 2015’s That’s The Spirit, the sixth studio album from the Sheffield five-piece is perhaps more eagerly-awaited than any other. So, what of it?

Truthfully, this is another album that will alienate a lot of fans. There’s no getting around that. The once kings of all things black-clothed and straight-fringed have grown up and so has their music.

Amo pans between trap-based pop and alternative rock – a mix that has come to suit the Bring Me sound. Much of the album has their signature flair, even when it doesn’t necessarily sound like the Bring Me we’re used to.

‘Mantra’, ‘Wonderful Life’, ‘Medicine’ and ‘Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down?’ are the standout tracks here, best showcasing the hybrid style. There are some classic BMTH lyrics on show here too, perhaps most in ‘Wonderful Life’; an account of the mental strain that fame and fortune produce. This is a particular high point and has a direct lineage to the Bring Me of old.

‘Sugar’ is also reminiscent of old-school Bring Me, although we’re talking about radio rock rather than metalcore here.

The rest of the album is weird and wonderful in all different measures. Much of the trap-pop side is well produced but disposable. That’s not great if you’re a fan of the timeless songwriting of old, but it will fit well into the modern pop arena. It’s evident that large parts of this have been written to satisfy a wider market, with tracks like ‘Fresh Bruises’ and ‘Ouch’ giving a background music vibe.

Perhaps most bizarre is ‘In The Dark’, which sounds like an Ed Sheeran/Bring Me The Horizon crossover. It’s pure, unadulterated pop.

This was never going to be an easy album for Bring Me. The pressure to deliver an album that satisfied the wider tastes of a growing audience whilst not discouraging the die-hard fans has been present since the success of 2013’s Sempiternal. Amo shows glimmers of the fantastic work we come to expect from this band, and there are four or five tracks that I’m sure will go on to be mainstays of the Bring Me The Horizon’s live set.

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