WHY THE HATE?: Bring Me The Horizon

WHY THE HATE?: Bring Me The Horizon
Photo by MCK Photography

British metal/rock band Bring Me The Horizon launched into the scene in 2006 and have developed and dipped their toes in different waters throughout their almost twenty year career. With the band's deathcore roots on their first three records, to a transition into alternative and pop sound with later records. Infusing genres of electronic music like hyperpop, nu metal, hard rock and alternative music, started with the band's fifth album. With two Grammy nominations and collaborations with acts like Babymetal, Underoath, and Dani Filth. Also featuring non-metal guests on their albums from rappers Lil Uzi Vert, Rahzel and pop singer Grimes.

Photo by Jonathan Weiner

Why is one of the biggest selling and musically diverse artists from the 2000's frowned upon by the metal community? What did Bring Me The Horizon do to tick off metal elitists and non elitists? I will look into the band's music and try to figure out what is the metal communities deal with this band?

Bring Me The Horizon formed in 2004 by Oliver "Oli" Sykes and Matt Nicholls. Bonding over their love of metalcore, along with thrash metal and melodic death metal. The band got the name Bring Me The Horizon from a line from Johnny Depp's character Captain Jack Sparrow in the 2003 movie Pirates of The Carribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl. Where Sparrow would say the line "Now, bring me that horizon". Following a demo and E.P. This Is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made For, the band would take their love of metalcore and infuse the intensity of melodic death metal into it even more.

The band would be signed to a record label and hit the studio to release their debut album. In 2006, the band released Count Your Blessings. The album's production was not fondly loved by the band today, but the album would become a pivotal sound in the deathcore scene (along with Suicide Silence's debut album The Cleansing). Through word of mouth and aggressive touring, the album would begin to grow as an underground classic and the band would capitalize on that success.

Two years later, the band would release Suicide Season. The album marked a more metalcore direction compared to the deathcore heavy sound of Count Your Blessings. Suicide Season did upset core-fans of the band's debut, which the band admits was going to happen while making the record. The band had a lot to prove, with many publications and support tours not liking the band's music. Considering the album that would be the defining record to keep the band going. The band was more focused on this record and the album received a more positive response from the fans compared to their deathcore debut. More mature songwriting and instrumentation, helped shape the record to a more refined sound and a record that would increase the band's popularity.

With the release of the band's third album There Is a Hell Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let's Keep It a Secret. in 2010, the band continued the metalcore-heavy sound from their second album, but started to begin to show signs of experimentation. Elements of symphonic, industrial and electronica and clean vocals were all included on the album. Sykes also said this was his most personal record at the time. A recurring theme of dealing with self-inner turmoil and dealing with "vividly exploring humanity's collective good nature". The album was the most successful out of the band's releases thus far, with both critical reviews and appearing at number 13 on the UK charts.

The band would top themselves and improve the success of There Is a Hell with the release of the band's fourth album Sempiternal. Continuing to include more genres like ambient music, dance, reggae and pop into their sound. Sykes would also cite film scores by Danny Boyle as another influence that impacted the writing of the music. This would be the breakout record for the band. Appearing on countless best of 2013 lists, as well as a headlining tour with support from Of Mice & Men and Issues. Culminating with the tour ending at the legendary Wembley Arena in London. Around this point, the band would officially begin to entirely shift away from the metalcore sound and dive into the pop waters with their next album.

With their 2015 album That's The Spirit, the band would drastically shift the band's sound into an alt-rock/pop rock sound with the band's music. Citing influences from alternative acts like Jane's Addiction, Interpol, Panic! at The Disco and Radiohead, you can hear the influence of these bands on the album. Including elements like arena rock and hard rock, the album would be a divisive record by metal fans of the band since this was a complete tonal shift. The album received critical acclaim, with a lot of the praise aimed at Sykes' vocals. That's The Spirit drew a lot of comparisons to Linkin Park's later synth-heavy hard rock material. That's The Spirit would go gold in Canada and the US, while also going platinum in Australia and the UK.

The band would ride their success train of That's The Spirit and touring with the band's next album Amo. Amo would push their electronic influence heavily on this album. EDM, synth-pop, and electropop would be all over the record, while also including some hip-hop and trap moments. Bring Me The Horizon would also have guest appearances from metal and non metal acts throughout the album. You'd have Dani Filth on "Wonderful Life", Rahzel on "Heavy Metal" and Grimes on "Nihilist Blues". Amo would not hit the same success in album sales as That's The Spirit, but would still reach many best of 2019 lists from the press like Loudwire, Metal Hammer and NME.

The band's most recent album Post Human: Nex Gen was released May of this year. Post Human: Nex Gen was the most complex and a "genre salad" for this album. Taking inspiration in everything from Deftones, KMFDM, Poppy, Sum 41 and Smashing Pumpkins. This would be the band's most experimental record. The album has received a lot of mixed criticism towards the band's chaotic, confusing and directionless path with this record. Potentially with the band trying to include everything into one song. Not realizing that sometimes "less is more" is the right thing to do.

Photo by Jonti Wild

Does Bring Me The Horizon's music deserve the hate? Musically, they were heavy and had some pretty good records in the metal-era of the band ending with That's The Spirit. I do like the deathcore sound of their debut and I do agree with many critics that Sempiternal is the band's best record. A lot of band's evolve and like to play with genres, and I think the gripe people have with Bring Me The Horizon is they want to try to please the metal fans and the rock fans, but they have strayed too far from their metal roots. Or some songs have moments of metal where they can claim "they are metal" but then will have other songs, especially on the new record, that draws them away from the metal waters. Metalheads do like when band's push their sound (Death with Human & Metallica with their self-titled for example). But metalheads are smart and can see when a band caters to a crowd to either gain fans and not sound genuine or doing a metal song "to get the metal dollar". If you're gonna be a metal band, be a metal band, but you got to be consistent and stand by your convictions. Fans don't want to be duped into buying your record. Sleep Token would face this wrath from the metal community with their 2023 album Take Me Back To Eden and it's misleading singles "Chokehold" and "The Summoning". Being led into the album with the heavier songs, before being bait-and-switched with a completely different record. Bring Me The Horizon faced some of those challenges and accusations of this practice, but if you listen to each of those records, it wasn't cloaked in mystery that the band was heading into this direction. It wasn't until That's The Spirit that the band decided to take that leap officially. And yes, the newer stuff is not my cup of tea so to speak, but some fans like that direction. I also give props to bands that aren't afraid to take a step into uncharted territory. Some bands nail it and some miss, but it's the sign of a true musician that you want to try new things musically. You might lose fans with the change, but it's the risk you have to take as a musician.

At the end of the day, Bring Me The Horizon's music doesn't deserve the hate at all, especially with their earlier records, which I recommend if you want to enjoy the "metal side" of the band. But to each their own and again, kudos for them to try new things. I know their newer material might not be "metal" enough for some people, and Sykes' vocals might not be everyone's favorite vocalist, or the mix of other genres into their sound isn't what some people want in their metal. The deathcore & metalcore-era of the band is long seen in the rear-view of the band's career, but those records stand strong as heavy and influential in the deathcore era and some pretty good metalcore as well, especially on Suicide Season.

Do you think Bring Me The Horizon deserves the hate? Do you agree/disagree with me and why? Let us know in the comments on our social media pages. You can also suggest bands/artists or genres we should cover next with this series. I'm Justin, Your Friendly Neighborhood Metalhead, for This Day in Metal in another edition of Why The Hate?

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