Man am I gonna get some shit for this one…
So, I feel like I’m gonna need to put some context here, although chances are if you’re reading this you’re perfectly aware why this post is being written. Over the past few weeks, Sheffield’s very own Bring Me The Horizon have been spreading themselves about the internet, drumming up hype for their much anticipated follow up to 2013’s spectacular Sempiternal. Since the band first posted their now infamous umbrella logo on social media, the following surrounding the album’s first two releases has been monumental. Some good reactions, some bad, pretty usual for the band. But that’s what I, quite frankly, can’t comprehend. Yeah, not liking a band is fine, obviously, I don’t like a LOT of bands. However, what I find baffling is the sense of denial among both fans and ‘haters’ (ugh). BMTH are a band that have been poised on that festival headliner brink for a good while now, and I truly believe that This Is The Spirit is gonna be the one that pushes them over that edge. Like them or not, their influence is already becoming more and more evident in both the alternative music scene and the legions of fans they inspire.
You might think, “Hey wait, people said this about so many bands in the recent past and they haven’t gotten anywhere near a headline slot!” and you would be right. But with BMTH, there is a very clear difference. A hunger, a sense of certainty that I’ve never felt with any of the band’s contemparies. I’ll admit, when Happy Song first got airplay, I was a little concerned about the album’s direction, but even then, what did audiences expect? Here you have a band absolutely ready to level arenas, as made perfectly clear by their Wembley show last December, who want it and honestly deserve it. Rising from a poor, run of the mill death metal band back in 2006 to one of the most prominent bands in the alternative music scene in less than ten years. Do they sound the same? God no. But how can anybody honestly expect a band to grow, mature and become so important if they just release the same album over and over? Bring Me‘s gradual change has been that of a butterfly from an especially ugly caterpillar, overcoming vast amounts of abuse and criticism. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is coming from what anyone would consider to be a mere casual fan of the band, someone who five years back regarded BMTH with eye rolling disdain. Well, before I sat down and stopped judging bands by their fucking haircuts. Yes, I’m looking at you people.
But I digress. Sure, This Is The Spirit could get released and completely slayed in the press, chucked in a bargain bin and the band could return to playing half filled academies throughout the country. It won’t, but I appreciate that could be a possibility somewhere in the universe. Why? I’d like to take you back all the way to 2013, the year that Bullet For My Valentine had their chance, their time to jump off that precipice. Man, I couldn’t look anywhere without seeing Matt Tuck’s face plastered all over every music magazine and even in my little home town, I couldn’t escape a sea of BFMV T-shirts. If any band was ready, it was them. One more album and they would have been a cemented headliner by now, and that’s not a bad thing by any means. But instead of taking a more graceful, calculated approach to their adaptation to an arena friendly rock sound, they released Temper Temper. Now, the less said about that album the better, but needless to say, the album sounded empty. Shallow. It reeked of a band who had toned down their sound to achieve mass appeal but lost every unique element to their sound in the process, becoming another lost headliner to throw onto the heap with Trivium and other bands that just needed that one golden album. Where are BFMV now? Playing an intimate tour throughout the UK in support of their new album, which by most accounts sounds like it’s going to be a real return to form. It’s a great gesture, one that’s bound to keep them in that sub-headliner slot at our festivals, but I fear for BFMV, that star just may have fallen a little too far.
This isn’t an isolated incident, it’s important to note. In the same year, Avenged Sevenfold released their ‘headliner’ album, Hail To The King. It was tepidly received, to say the least, with the same criticism being leveled at A7X that had been thrown at BFMV in regards to Temper Temper. However, thanks to an insane level of marketing and a #1 chart position, the band managed to retain their level of sheer momentum and sure enough, they headlined Download Festival the following year. Would they have been able to do it without the sheer amount of marketing genius and effort that was put into molding them into that headline band? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I don’t think so. Will they headline again? I really doubt it.
“But Bring Me The Horizon have changed their sound so much! They’re doing the exact same thing!” Well, you’re right in some way. But the difference with this case is the gradual change, that graceful evolution from balls out, below par death metal band to the mature, thoughtful band they are now. Are they still ‘True Metalcore’? God no, but who the fuck cares what genre a band is? Both of my example bands pushed themselves into a sub-genre that was either already dominated by other bands or they just did it with such a lack of soul that they failed spectacularly. Bring Me The Horizon aren’t claiming to be anything, and they don’t have to. If anything, they’re blazing a new trail for bands to follow, hell, potentially a new sub-genre could be formed through their movement. This Is The Spirit is an honest continuation from a band ready to give you everything they’ve got, and not a calculated move to generic sound to drum up album sales.
To wrap this all up, I do apologise for just waxing lyrical about Bring Me The Horizon for a few hundred words. What I’m not sorry for, is just how important this band are, and if I don’t tell you, someone else will. Or chances are, they already have. Say what you will, but mark my words, BMTH are here to stay, and expect to see them destroying arenas throughout your country next year.