It’s finally here: the record that BMTH fans have been waiting years for. The band have come a long way since their metalcore debut, 2006’s Count Your Blessings, and have eased into accessibility with every single release. They achieved more mainstream popularity with their 2013 effort Sempiternal and solidified their status as one of modern rock’s most exciting groups with That’s the Spirit in 2015. The record extended their fanbase considerably, and we knew they’d refuse to be satisfied.
Amo sees the group attempt to broaden their following once again; some of the tracks on That’s the Spirit had a pop-edge to them, yet most cuts retained the heavy guitars that appealed to long-term devotees. Here, rather than pop influences, it seems the members have compromised in their attempts to reach younger, EDM-orientated crowds. It’s easily their most mainstream release in terms of style and will see them score more radio play than ever.
So, let’s break it down. The opener - “i apologise if you feel something” is a brief introduction, but immediately signals a change in style. It’s quickly followed up with the album’s first single “MANTRA”, which went down a treat when it was released back in August. The song feels like something you’d find on Sempiternal or That’s the Spirit. It was a wise choice to release first, as it was more likely to please existing fans. As many began to expect, it doesn’t accurately reflect the rest of Amo.
Track three, “nihilist blues (feat. Grimes)” is where the band’s ambition becomes clear. It can be described simply as an electronic pop anthem, and frankly, it feels like the weakest cut on the record. Despite this, there are some that love it; others will platform the track as a textbook example of the band’s decline. “In the dark” feels like it could have been a lighter cut taken from That’s the Spirit and is followed up by “wonderful life (feat. Dani Filth)”, one of the heavier efforts on the album, and an all-around crowd pleaser. It’s a lot of fun, packs a punch and still retains a catchy, sing-along quality. In short, it’s why so many adore the band.
The heavy riffs then proceed into “ouch”, and back into dance territory. It’s somewhat of an interlude and not a particularly strong one. Moving on from EDM drums and scattered beats we arrive at “medicine”, which was released ahead of Amo. Fans were a little sceptical when it was released, feeling it was far too pop-orientated, unlike the previously released material from the album. Despite the divide, it’s actually one of the more impressive, polished highlights.
We then transition into “sugar honey ice & tea”, which perfectly highlights the band’s talent and appeal. This is Bring Me the Horizon meeting different demographics halfway; it’s catchy, exciting, and still packs that punch. It’s a terrific track, and easily one of Amo’s finest offerings, unlike “why you gotta kick me when i’m down”, an angsty, irritating addition which holds its influences in hip-hop. You can admire the ambition and what they aim to achieve, but this one really doesn’t stick the landing.
“Fresh bruises” is in the same vein as “ouch” - it will work for some and downright anger others. They are both the sort of tracks that any commercial EDM artist could produce but isn’t the sort of material you want BMTH to be providing after such a lengthy absence. The record really gets back on track with “mother tongue”, which is a great pop song, love song, and just feels like a step in the right direction; it feels comfortable.
“Heavy metal (feat. Rahzel) is sure to be a favourite for most, as it manages to be heavy while still commenting on their previous fans’ insistence that they stick to one style. It may be the most memorable cut on Amo, followed up with a totally unmemorable conclusion with “i don’t know what to say”. They may not know what to say, but most will have a strong opinion. Once again, Bring Me the Horizon deliver a mixed bag, except this time the contents aren’t so inviting an indulgence.
In other music news, be sure to check out the latest project from Weezer.
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