There’s no denying that 2020 has had the entire planet feeling like we’re caught on repeat, cycling through one negative event after another. Speaking as an active and passionate member of the music scene I likely share the sentiment of others when I say I can not wait to get back into concert halls. There is little comparison to the rush of dodging elbows, jumping in sync with hundreds of others to the cadence of the encore’s song, or seeing stars when a size ten Converse connects with the back of your head as a crowd surfer rides the wave to a security guard who obviously isn’t into the band. What I miss more than anything is the euphoric feeling as I catch my first breath of open-air from the venue following the band’s final goodnight to their fans.
It isn’t just listeners–the artists are struggling too! With little in the way of excuse, many bands have thrown out promises of new tracks and quick turnaround with little to show for it. Unsurprising as the pandemic has siphoned off the energy and drive from even the best of us. One band is standing as a giant among men to deliver what may prove to be their magnum opus with their most unique and impressive EP yet, and that band is Bring Me the Horizon.
Having already announced that they are unlikely to ever release a full album again, Oli Sykes and company debut what promises to be the beginning of a new trend in the band’s song release strategy. The Yorkshire natives have revealed that we are not only getting one, but four separate releases. Each release will be titled Post Human and will range between six and ten songs.
The first release Post Human: Survival Horror is one that should, by all rights, have a height requirement because of how intense the ride is. Fans of the original sound circa 2006’s Count Your Blessings shouldn’t expect anything quite as heavy as you may be hoping for, but what they promise with these tracks is a perfectly honed in, refined version of what you have been receiving from the band between 2013 and today. From bangers to ballads the band has explored new sounds, bounced back to the classic heavy-hitting riffs they began with, and are developing new sounds that are drawn from and will inspire forward to artists in the scene. With inspiration from video games to the more-far fetched real world we’ve experienced all year, BMTH has created a series of tracks that promise an engaging experience for all types of listeners.
The Tracklist :
- Dear Diary,
- Parasite Eve
- Obey ft. Yungblud
- Itch for The Cure
- Kingslayer ft. BABYMETAL
- 1×1 ft. Nova Twins
- One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest As You March Towards Your Death ft. Amy Lee.
When I say that the band kicks the album off on a heavier note, I mean it quite literally. “Dear Diary” is the song equivalent of being absorbed into your seat as a rollercoaster crests the apex of its cliffhanger–the only difference being that this occurs directly out-of-the-gate. Between raging drums and fast-paced screaming, the angst in Skyes’ lyrics bring you immediately back to the sound that Sempiternal fans have been asking for. Giving fans what they’ve been pleading for (with a wonderful new spin), this opener should leave any fan anxious to listen further.
Next up is “Parasite Eve.” Already a familiar track for those paying attention to the media, the overwhelming coincidence with the current state of the world shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Believe it or not, the song is not about the Covid-19 pandemic. Oli Sykes drew inspiration from a heat-resistant Japanese superbug and borrowed the title from a classic Playstation game of the same name. Starting recording back in February, the band was forced to complete the song remotely from each other (for obvious reasons). References to various classic games are strewn across all nine tracks, with “Parasite Eve” being far from the exception. Resident Evil fans may recognize the tagline ‘If the suspense doesn’t kill you, nothing else will’ directly from marketing of one of the original titles. Sykes discussed the song with NME:
“We shelved the song for a bit because it felt a bit too close to the bone. After sitting on it for a while, we realized that this was a reason to release it now more than ever…there’s been too much escapism and ignoring the problems in the world. It’s not what the world needs. The world needs more and needs to think about it and remember…That’s what rock music is about–addressing the dark side and processing it.”
“Parasite eve” is my personal favorite track of the year. Its composition speaks to the world’s crisis while drawing inspiration from games, which is hardly by mistake seeing as though Mick Gordon, award-winning music composer famous for various video game soundtracks was brought on board to help refine some of the released tracks.
Following track two is their most recent single “Teardrops”, There is an undefinable familiarity to the song that took me a minute to realize, but once I made the connection I was unable to break from it. The intro sounds like it could have been an unreleased track from Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory, and as it turns out, this was no accident. Keyboardist Jordan Fish admits that Linkin Park has influenced the band’s sound on multiple records. The extremely catchy song isn’t quite as fast-paced or heavy as the previous two, but it still holds a unique and powerful sound that is ever-threatening to get stuck in your head all day. Catchy is a common theme of this paragraph, it seems, as the next song up is “Obey”. Featuring Yorkshire star YUNGBLUD, fans are likely to be caught by surprise with the singer’s fresh take on collaborating for a metal song. BMTH has stepped far and beyond the comfort zone of their sound to produce some impressive new additions to the genre. These artists’ joint-effort have proven to be one of my favorites of the EP.
Here’s hoping you weren’t sick of the references to Linkin Park because track 5 titled “Itch for the Cure” is about as on-the-nose as you can imagine without directly featuring Mike Shinoda himself. Collaborating with Japanese kawaii band Babymetal, the song “Kingslayer” features Oli’s classic death metal growl side-by-side with the unmistakable sound of the Babymetal singers. Perhaps the most unique collaboration on the EP, the track should leave you bobbing your head until it’s transition into the listings next song. Featuring the English rock duo, the Nova Twins, “1×1” consists of an ear-pleasing tune accompanied by vocals from both artists that accent each other perfectly. Recently winning the award for Best U.K. Breakthrough Band in the 2020 Heavy Music Awards, the added exposure of working with BMTH can only help rocket the duo into the next echelon of musical stardom. Hell, they already have at least one new fan right here.
The next track was the first released single off the EP. Released back when the world was perhaps a bit more naive to the incoming state of things, “Ludens” dropped. The 2019 track was originally written for the game Death Stranding, revealed by the quintet to have been written in a strenuous 5-day time restriction. My first playthrough of the song was a strange journey. I couldn’t wrap my head around the coexistence of a catchy chorus, powerful lyrics, and intense breakdown. Months later, and realizing that this trend has continued through some of the EP’s best songs, I now hold “Ludens” in the highest regard. Every time the breakdown hits I am transported into the pits that I long to get back to. I absolutely MUST hear this song live, and anyone reading must, at the very least, treat their ears to it.
All of these songs lead us to the final track of the EP. A hauntingly beautiful ballad featuring Evanescence’s own Amy Lee titled “One Day the Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest as you March to Your Death.” Starting with a slow, melodic build with gut-wrenching lyrics, it’s a song that wants, no, needs to be heard–really heard. Appreciate the lyrics and the message that’s being sung. Appreciate that this song, so out of place, feels purposefully placed at the end to leave you with a lasting impression. This is the sound the band intended the listener to set their headphones down while thinking about it. The ghostly background vocals send goosebumps up my arms and chills down my spine on each and every listen. And believe me, I can’t stop listening.
Overall, I truly believe this EP to be a brilliant display of what this band is capable of. Giving us a taste of so many versions of themselves, Bring Me the Horizon has placed down a beautiful thing to remember from this year among the chaos surrounding it. The collaborations are not only wonderful additions to the sound the band creates, but each one feels as though they have fully considered the person or people they are collaborating with. Every track felt as though it was made with it’s featured artist in mind, bringing the best out of both bands. This is all the more impressive when you travel back in time to the roots of the English metalheads and appreciate how truly far they have come.
It speaks volumes that my 3-year-old, myself at 29, and my 49-year-old mother can all jam out to the same song together. Some advice to the old-schoolers that demand the pig squeals–’Pray for Plagues’ will always be there. Pull yourself away and dive into the new material. Accept that the sound has changed and appreciate what it’s evolved into. Once you do this you can really grasp every thread this band has draped before you. They have transcended being simply a heavy group or simply a pop-punk group. They created a masterpiece that has the best hope of joining their old fans to their new ones, and I, for one, can not wait for what’s on the Horizon. Bring it to me!