Ranking Bring Me the Horizon: Did "Amo" reach number one?

Oliver Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon performs in concert at Hammerstein Ballroom on January 30, 2019 in New York City.

Bring Me the Horizon have risen to become one of the biggest rock bands on the planet.

Few bands have exhibited such gradual change as Bring Me the Horizon. Over time they have transitioned, overcoming the restrictions of their metalcore beginnings to become one of the most widely listened to of their contemporaries.

The Sheffield group formed in 2004 and have released an admirable six studio albums, beginning with 2006’s Count Your Blessings. Recently, they released the number one album Amo; some would say that these two albums share no resemblance, and they’re right. Revisiting their discography, it’s staggering to see how distinguishable each release is. Many note that the band began to change with 2013’s Sempiternal, but arguably the band have been adapting since day one. I have been a Bring Me the Horizon fan since Suicide Season was released in 2008, and here, I will rank their albums from worst to best based on a number of factors. So, here goes:

6. Count Your Blessings (2006)

When reflecting upon the band’s career, there is no way that any other record could have slotted in at number six; it had to be Count Your Blessings. Now, this is not to do the album a disservice at all. It was a huge part of my teenage years, as I’m sure it is for many Bring Me the Horizon fans. It’s rough, shaky, raw, and upon revisiting it after so many years, it remains a lot of fun.

The band’s detractors often look back on the album nostalgically, reminiscing the days when the band “kept it real”; whatever that means. Metalcore was the big thing at the time, and as the band have showcased, they have no interest in staying true or loyal to one particular sound. They were young, and as they’ve aged they have branched out to enjoy a much more varied range of music. Their progression reflects this, so while Count Your Blessings is definitely an enjoyable record, none of the ambition present on their subsequent efforts is here.

5. Sempiternal (2013)

This is bound to be divisive, but here is Sempiternal at number five. There’s some truly remarkable material here; “Can You Feel My Heart”, “The House of Wolves”, “Sleepwalking” and “Shadow Moses” are standout cuts. However, they introduce an album which arguably derails in its second half.

I still remember the first time I heard it. It was gripping, grand, exciting - everything I wanted from the band’s fourth effort. However, once “Shadow Moses” concluded, so did the record for me. There’s nothing particularly interesting about the tail end of Sempiternal, which is surprising when one considers how arresting the first half is. This is where many fans note the most considerable shift - at that point - in the group’s career, and not all of it worked for me. However, they would polish the more accessible elements on their next release, That’s the Spirit. If it not for the songs mentioned earlier, this would be their weakest effort; yet, those same songs are just way too impressive. 

4. Suicide Season (2008)

For so many fans, Suicide Season was an introduction to Bring Me the Horizon. Just two years after Count Your Blessings and the band were already demonstrating such ambition and improvement. It didn’t really sound like anything else at the time; Oliver Sykes’ vocals were wholly unique, communicating a charismatic personality.

His vocals weren’t as accomplished as others’ in the scene, but they provided something a little different. There are songs here which stand up so well today, such as “Chelsea Smile”, “The Comedown”, “Suicide Season” and “The Sadness Will Never End”. Then, there are admittedly some that don’t: “Diamonds Aren’t Forever” and “Football Season is Over” are particularly tedious. Yet, as a complete piece of work, this remains a crucial benchmark in the band’s career, displaying growth and offering future potential.

3. Amo (2019)

Here it is. The funny thing about this is that if you’d have asked me to rank their work last week, this would have been at the bottom. I had really enjoyed the cuts which dropped ahead of the album’s release, up until “nihilist blues (feat. Grimes)” - it simply didn’t work for me. Yet, I went into the record optimistic and came out feeling unfulfilled. 

On first listen, the highlights were “wonderful life (feat. Dani Filth)”, “medicine”, “mother tongue” and “heavy metal (feat. Rahzel)”; honestly, this is still the case after multiple listens. They’re really great tracks, and after so many listens the joy they stir in me hasn’t diminished. The rest of the album didn’t really click with me, but over time I really began to appreciate what they were going for. Cuts like “ouch” and “fresh bruises” initially felt unnecessary, but now, I feel that they help gel the tracks together wonderfully. Just like the rest of their records, not every single track works for me - but, that’s all too rare.

Amo definitely benefits from a little more care and consideration. It’s their most accessible release, but naturally, this is where the group should be at this stage in their career, and lucky for them - and us - they are.

2. That’s the Spirit (2015)

When That’s the Spirit was released it almost felt like an event. Sempiternal had been a huge success, seemingly doubling the band’s fanbase instantly. When their fifth record was released, it doubled yet again. 

Personally, “Drown” may be the band’s best song. When it was released, I knew this album would be something special, and to some extent it really was…. It still is. “Doomed”, “Happy Song”, “Follow You” and “Oh No” are pretty phenomenal songs, and stand mighty high among the group’s best work to date. Other cuts such as “What You Need” and “Run” pale in comparison, but as it goes, they’re pretty satisfying songs nonetheless. Overall, That’s the Spirit represents the group at their most compromising and confident. It would be their most satisfying to return to, if not for There is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret.

1. There is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret (2010)

There are many reasons that the band’s third record made the top spot, and it’s certainly their most consistent. The expository track “Crucify Me (feat. Lights) is one of Bring Me the Horizon’s best songs, and definitely the best opener. It immediately declares to the listener that this body of work will be much more experimental and creative than previous efforts. It’s incredibly well constructed, epic and even beautiful in some ways. 

Then it leads into “Anthem”, which is exactly that; it’s a real powerhouse of a cut, showcasing such immense energy. “It Never Ends” is fantastic, foreshadowing the very best cuts on Sempiternal, and then you have “Fuck (feat. Josh Franceschi) - it’s heavy, loud, emotional, poignant - what more can you say, really. Both “Don’t Go (feat. Lights)” and “Blessed With A Curse” possess a confessional touch, and feel intimate even when they explode into more ambitious arrangements.

It’s their most memorable record, and arguably, every track is justified. There is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret feels complete, and that’s why it’s my favourite Bring Me the Horizon record to date.

Be sure to check out my intiial review for Bring Me the Horizon's Amo

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