The Lowdown: Let’s cut to the chase: Bring Me the Horizon are no longer a metal band, at least as far as their new music is concerned. 2015’s That’s the Spirit already saw the UK act moving beyond the metalcore material on which they built their huge fan base. Now, with their sixth album, amo, BMTH have made a full transition into a genre-defying sound that embraces elements of pop, rock, dance, and electronic music — a far cry from the deathcore aggression of their 2006 debut, Count Your Blessings.
The Good: Despite the fact that amo is not a metal album, there are a few bangers on the disc. Lead single “Mantra” combines aggressive riffage with a hook-laden chorus as singer Oli Sykes warns us all about the dangers of joining a cult. Meanwhile, “Wonderlife Life”, featuring guest vocals from Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth, contains some of the heaviest moments on the album. The electro-dance track “Nihilist Blues” offers nice dueling verses between Sykes and pop singer Grimes, and “Medicine” is an infectious pop song that exemplifies how gifted Sykes is at writing catchy hooks.
The Bad: Bring Me the Horizon should be applauded for the risk they’ve taken in branching out into new genres on amo, and they’ve done most of it very well. But trippy ambient electro songs like “Fresh Bruises”, “I Apologize If You Feel Something”, and “Ouch” will likely make a good percentage of the band’s old-school fans want to fire up “Shadow Moses” from BMTH’s near-perfect 2013 metalcore opus Sempiternal, and collectively scream “Fuck!”
The Verdict: There’s a line in the song “Heavy Metal”, featuring guest rapper Rahzel, where Sykes sings, “‘Cause some kid on the ‘Gram/ Said he used to be a fan/ But this shit ain’t heavy metal”, cleverly proving he’s well aware of the backlash the band has received by abandoning their metal roots. In U2 terms,That’s the Spirit was BMTH’s Achtung Baby, where they introduced a new sound, and amo is their Zooropa, where they’ve taken that sonic evolution one step further.
Essential Tracks: “Mantra”, “Wonderful Life”, “Medicine”, “Nihilist Blues”