A band’s progression musically is normally a quite predictable avenue. They start fairly strong on the first and perhaps second albums, then things have a tendency to meander as they begin to experiment and alter their sound. Bring Me the Horizon on the other hand have only gotten stronger. With a weak debut effort which induced waves of uncontrollable vomiting, to this, their fourth album, which at the time of writing this review, has had me bouncing on my chair in sheer giddiness on each repeated listen.
Sempiternal kicks off with the track ‘Can you Feel my Heart’, a layered intro of synths, drums and the surprise introduction of Oli Sykes’ clean vocals, sets the tone for the next 40 minutes. As the second track ‘The House of Wolves’ finishes by kicking you in the gut, there is little respite as ‘Empire (Let Them Sing)’, with its impressive mixture of chuggy riffs and awe-inspiring gang chants keeps this monster clocking over into one of the highlights on the album, ‘Sleepwalking’.
The single ‘Shadow Moses’, even after several listens, still holds the freshness and excitement it had on its first listen, anchoring the middle of the album nicely. From here however the second half is a mixed bag. Tracks such as ‘Seen It All Before’ and the penultimate ‘Crooked Young’ go by somewhat unnoticed, which makes the final track on the album ‘Hospital for Souls’ such a refreshing and surprising change. As the music behind him soars, Sykes, among his screams, again showcases these surprising clean vocals, which, I for one, hope he continues to endeavour with as they offer a new dynamic and possible direction for the band.
Unfortunately there are, lyrically speaking, a few cringe worthy aspects. These particularly appear in Sykes’ choruses which come across as rather childish. A track where this is most evident is ‘Antivist’. It offers a chorus and a rogue use of “the C word” which, albeit devilishly and amusingly juvenile to begin with, becomes rather tiresome over time.
Overall however, minus the aforementioned niggles, Bring Me the Horizon have produced arguably their best album to date. It is evident that the array of expected aggressive belters and Deftones-esque atmosphere on show, only proves that a mixture of a gradual defining in sound and ol’ father time are the best ingredients for a band to silence those who have been guilty of dismissing them in the past.