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Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal

Artist: Bring Me The Horizon
Album: Sempiternal
Released: April 29th 2013
Tracks: 11 (14 with UK Deluxe)

If you are a fan of Bring Me the Horizon then you’ll be familiar with their intense and unique sound. When it comes to rock/metal there is always a plethora of imitators when a band discovers success, but since Bring Me the Horizon released their first EP in the October of 2004, Oli Sykes and co. have delivered album after album of changing and yet unmistakable material.

Looking at how the band have changed from their début album Count Your Blessings in 2006 to their latest and most orchestrated album There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret, it made absolute sense that Sempiternal (Due to be released on April 29th) would be a further evolution in their musical and lyrical style.

Musically, Bring Me the Horizon always were a very harsh sounding band with guttural screams, melodic but blistering riffs, and as the years went on and band members came and went (Like the departure of Curtis Ward in 2009, and the arrival of Jona Weinhofen, albeit only for the latter two of the bands records), Bring Me the Horizon became more and more well-known for  melodious synth sections and aggressive band shouts. On the whole, the band’s changing dynamic and music can be best explained by maturation of its members.

Jona Weinhofen Performing Live at the Vans Warped Tour

However, in light of Bring Me the Horizon’s new album, which will be released through Epitaph, it seems that the five-piece, now in the latter half of their twenties have matured to such an extent that the music has become less intense, less full of angst and more focused on instruments other than those typical of a metal band; as was suggested by many of the tracks from There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret. Although some fans and new listeners may view this change positively, I can’t help but feel that the band have lost, or rather abandoned many things that defined them. 

On the contrary, if any band were to make four identical records there would undoubtedly be complaints about lack of growth and development, but I feel that with Sempiternal, Bring Me the Horizon’s evolution has many missing links, and it can be said, with particular reference to Can You Feel My Heart?, And the Snakes Start to Sing and Sleepwalking, the outfit have started to play deeply into left field. 

Disappointingly, the only songs that really grabbed my attention were the singles Anti-Vist and Shadow Moses, because out of 11 tracks, these were the only two songs that didn’t make me completely disinterested and enduring a 45 minute album for these songs, and possibly the addition of The House of Wolves, and Crooked Young (Reminiscent of the tracks appearing on the previous album) really wasn’t worth the wait.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed Sempiternal more if it was a début record from a break-through artist, but when a band such as Bring Me the Horizon, whose last album reached number 1 in the Australian Albums Chart, UK Rock & Metal Albums Chart and the UK Indie Albums Chart with a record such as this, I can’t help but feel that their latest offering is a complete step in the wrong direction. If you are a new listener then I suggest that now would be the time to give this album a listen, but for those of you that are older and more dedicated fans of Bring Me the Horizon, I would sincerely suggest avoiding this one.

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