That’s The Spirit marks the turning point for Bring Me The Horizon with the band’s shift to traditional rock.
“It’s about getting better.” That was the original statement regarding the new direction of Bring Me The Horizon. After years of selling out venues and co-headlining festivals, there has been a gradual change in style from Sheffield’s once Deathcore band. After years of non-stop screaming to incorporating singing with screaming, That’s The Spirit looks to take a new direction.
Through expectations, this album will have fans completely split. One side of Bring Me The Horizon’s wall of death will be screaming for their days before Sempiternal, and the other will be praising the new style and path made by the band to pursue a more melodic and traditional singing performance.
That’s The Spirit, an album as a celebration of Depression, or at least making light of it according to frontman Oli Sykes, offers a challenge for the band in attempt to grow and become something more. In a direct quote from Sykes, he stated that: “This time round, the challenge wasn’t just for people to be impressed that a screamer’s learned to sing. We had to come back with something that would be impressive for people who had no idea of the history of the band.”
There are many factors to take with the new style of Bring Me The Horizon going forward: live performances, what will come after That’s The Spirit, the change in a new fan base that could possibly alienate the original fans of Count Your Blessings, and so on. Regardless of opinions and expectations, we now have That’s The Spirit. An album with a new direction that was highlighted instantly earlier this summer with the first single Drown.
Anyone who has ever heard Bring Me The Horizon before 2014 can instantly tell the difference between Drown and any other song they have recorded. The volume is lowered, the tempo is slow throughout the verses and Oli Sykes is singing. Not screaming for 99% of the song but actually singing.
For the song Drown, his quieter singing when cruising through the verse has a charm behind it. You can hear him emote and raise or lower the notes well. When trying to sing the chorus though it sounds like he’s straining himself to keep up. The beginning and end of the song stand as energetic bookends to the track, but I feel like there could have been a better choice to promote a new album and style.
After additional singles started being released like Throne and Avalanche, I was convinced that there were songs that could sell this album and make people want to see where Bring Me The Horizon was heading.
Throne is the song that grabs your attention. If this song would have been the lead off single from That’s The Spirit then it may have helped sway more BMTH fans into the new direction as to the overly radio friendly Drown. Sykes singing is cleaner with better written lyrics and the percussion and rhythm are fantastic. It makes you excited to hear what the band is capable of.
There are many good examples of the new softer sound of Bring Me The Horizon that work well on That’s The Spirit, but it’s the songs where the energy and volume are turned up that stand out. You can audibly tell that there is a fire in their performances and that this is the turning point. Through trial and error, they are putting forth what they think is better than what they’ve done before.
Bring Me The Horizon had to have known that their new methods would divide a long time fan base. Regardless of whether you prefer the glory days or love the new melodic rock style, the truth is that the band is finding a way to make it work. The new direction may not resemble their work from the late 2000’s, but it’s a step in a new direction that isn’t difficult to listen to.
Overall, That’s The Spirit is well written lyrically and while it does have forgettable moments, it also contains parts than shine. Not everyone will love everything, but if you have trusted Bring Me The Horizon this far, then this album may surprise you in a good way.