The guttersnipes of the internet have their favourite collective back, and are armed with more shit and insults to lob their way. I of course mean Bring Me The Horizon, who return with yet another middle finger to the doubters. Whether you love them or hate them, you cannot deny their almost meteoric rise to fame. The Steel City noise merchants have divided opinions since their, admittedly rather crap, debut EP right up to the present day. It is almost as if people would hate them entirely because of their haircuts?!?!? Foolish I know, the internet would never be responsible for such closed-minded ridiculousness, would it?... would it?
Bring Me The Horizon have grown in leaps and bounds as a band and are at the highest point of their creative careers so far. By adding in more elements to their sound they continue to push the boundaries of heavy music. Yes, I avoided the use of the term metal because this album does transcend beyond a black and white label. However, if it is heaviness that you seek, then you shall find it here along with an abundance of though-provoking sounds. A slight personnel shake up sees straight-edge guitarist Jonas Weinhofen leave the band to rejoin I Killed The Prom Queen and shortly after this, they drafted in keyboardist/programmer Jordan Fish. Although this was denied by the band as a replacement, it does show us the new direction that Bring Me The Horizon are stepping in. Lone guitar-slinger Lee Malia handles his role well and provides some memorable riffs but the songs are increasingly led by the electronic side, which adds to the grandeur that the band begins to portray.
'Sempiternal' kicks off with the electro-heavy 'Can You Feel My Heart'. Pained vocals and lyrics bleed over this mid-tempo stomper and one of the first things you will notice is the increasing range of vocals that young Oli Sykes is showing off. Often criticized by small-minded folk for his 'inability' to actually sing, the explosive frontman still unleashes a bouts of venomous screams but now can pack a hooky punch in the chorus'. A faster paced one-two of 'The House Of Wolves' and 'Empire (Let Them Sing)' feel like a continuation of the groundwork laid down on the snappily titled 'There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret', which was a phenomenal body of work. 'Sleepwalking' sees another huge, devastatingly hook-laden chorus dropped by a band in white hot form at the moment and is one of the finest displays of song-writing in recent times. Each track is charged with mysterious, heartfelt lyrics and takes genuine twists and turns throughout 44 wondrous minutes, as clichéd as that may sound.
Pressing on into 'Shadow Moses' (surely a tip of the cap to video game saga, Metal Gear Solid), this collection of beatdowns and swirling keys make up the first single of the album, and a damn fine song it is too. It was most peoples first glimpse into 'Sempiternal' and is an explosive statement of intent with chant-a-long gang vocals that will be heard for miles around any venue that they play. Bouncy rage-a-thon 'Antivist' is a joyously over the top show of defiance to everyone and everything, it is a cracking tune and live will get everyone jumping, especially the brilliantly juvenile 'middle fingers up/if you don't give a fuck', amazing lyrics!
A couple of things you may notice are, firstly, the lack of guest vocalists on this album. The latest gimmick to be used by bands across the world is a stunt that won't be pulled this time. Fair play to BMTH, it would have been easy to draft in a big name to sing on a track or two. Also the usage of clean vocals has been severely upped, especially with the not so subtle shot at the media/music industry types 'And The Snakes Start To Sing'. The album closes with 'Hospital for Souls', a spoken word piece that progresses and builds up to a gentle, soul-bearing look into the mind of Oli and his bandmates. It is a brilliant way to cap off the epic twists and turns that 'Sempiternal' brings to the table.
Bring Me The Horizon have accomplished an astronomical feat with 'Sempiternal' – they have released an album through a major label (RCA are a subsidiary label of Sony) without bowing to anyone. When you give Sempiternal a listen, it does sound like the record that the band wanted to release, complete with hidden lyrical snipes at the industry and a shit-fuck tonne of coarse language thrown in for good measure. Put it alongside a fellow RCA release like Bullet For My Valentine's piss-weak effort 'Temper Temper' and it is very clear where the freshest ideas are coming from. Not to mention that they are fronted by a man who generates more hatred then the Go Compare adverts but if it continues to push the band to drop increasingly better albums, then bring on the trolls.
The constant shit-slinging is growing old now, isn't it time to just admit defeat, keyboard warriors? Surely we should get behind UK bands that are reaping rewards for playing heavy music. Some of the die-hard fans like to put a 'glass ceiling' over bands to restrict their movement to the next level, but that is a gripe for another day. Bring Me The Horizon have triumphed magnificently with 'Sempiternal' and should be lauded as one of the UK's finest young bands who are destined for great things. This is their time. This is Sempiternal.