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Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon - That's The Spirit (2015 LP)

Officially confirmed as seventh act for next year's Soundwave Festival, much hype has surrounded UK metalcore giants, Bring Me The Horizon, with the announcement taking place on release day of their latest LP, That's The Spirit. It's interesting to see how the band have developed over time, looking at their past roots of deathcore in Count Your Blessings and Suicide Season to having them form a solid metalcore foundation in both There is a Hell and Sempiternal. That's The Spirit show a different side to the quintet and one that took on an electronic/alternative approach with their music and having frontman, Oliver Sykes confidently showcase his singing side...

Having left their heavy roots, That's The Spirit encompasses a band that has openly approached creativity to a new light with several influences coming through in the entire record. Suffice it to say, it will surprise many people but if given a chance, it shows that there are no rules or obligations when it comes to releasing something as powerful even if it does appear "weak" in retrospect to other releases.

Bring Me The Horizon took a huge step in terms of the direction of this record. Although their previous albums seemed to be the peak of their career, it wasn't long until That's The Spirit had me hooked. Having heard "Doomed" for the first time, I was astounded by the elements used in this track. The build-up in the beginning of the song with its electronic beats brought a new dynamic to the band - one that was nostalgic of Linkin Park's nu-metal/electronic approach in their music. Sykes' vocals are portrayed very well and although less harsh from his usual screaming vocals, you begin to realise how well it works with the instrumentation. The edgy hard rock vibe encounters something that strikes as appealing to the latter.

I felt a bit confused by the turn of sound the band were trying to achieve and I wasn't sure whether this worked or not. "Happy Song" for example was a track I wasn't too fond of but its empowering tone of guitar riffs and drum work heightened the musicianship of the band. Anthemic and atmospheric, it still had the essence of what made the band metalcore knights of the scene and most certainly one that could attract a younger audience. It took a while for me to engage in the content of the actual song but what moved me was how upbeat and daring the track was with its fearless undertones. No matter how melancholic the lyrics appear to be, it still is a moving song with the message it brings.

There's a lot to learn from Bring Me The Horizon and that's to show this band are full of surprises. Pulling songs like "Follow You" and "Avalanche" was each to their own, something unexpected. "Follow You" has a relaxing tone with its soft beats, executed by Sykes' vocal control. It sort of had the same appeal which resonated bands like The xx and The Neighbourhood and uncovered a sensual, underground feel. Comparatively, the record brought loud and endearing number, "Avalanche", which highlighted numerous techniques of drum and guitar work, bringing a set of triumphs which took on an edge like no other. It was by far, one of the most ambitious songs I had ever witnessed and it was clear that it delivered quality work from the quintet. It was a creative risk worth taking advantage of, making them more likely to be noticed by a mainstream audience.

The record progresses into something enticing with "Drown" and it's superb and flavoursome in every way. In this case, it's a spiritual embodiment of how cohesive the musicianship of the band really is, with its amazing layered production as well as the strong hard rock elements cleverly weaved in the song. It definitely had a subtle dabbling into Thirty Seconds To Mars' 2009 release of This is War, aiming for a stellar track well-fitted for an arena show.

What I like about this record is how clear the intention was from the very beginning and how much the band wanted to bring a different side to what they were about. Fans are a tough crowd and sometimes change is a good thing for bands. That's The Spirit opens up a new kind of influence in sound and considering how big Bring Me The Horizon are in the metalcore scene, this record will provide new horizons for both new and old listeners. Even though the lyrics may be substantial enough from what it conveys, the band took a courageous step in finding a new direction and it surprisingly works, more than anyone could ever expect. That's The Spirit shows that Bring Me The Horizon are capable of creating music which speaks their minds. Through their instrumentation and catchy catalogue of songs, creativity has driven them to overcome the normal expectations of what a metalcore band can do, showing the unraveling potential they have to become an even better and stronger band.

Review Score: 8.0 out of 10

That's The Spirit is available now