By Alyssa Aldrete
About 14 years ago, British metal band Bring Me The Horizon burst onto the alternative rock scene with their MySpace-era metalcore and were met with a lot of sneers from anyone not in their target audience.
Their lyrics were vulgar, their thrash metal sound was hard for mainstream magazines to praise, and yet the emo teens of 2006 ate up their look and sound, eager for more.
Now on their seventh studio release since the MySpace days, BMTH have surely made a name for themselves in the alt-rock world. Truth be told, staying relevant in 2020 has been a difficult feat for those bands that were birthed alongside a once-thriving, now all but dead social site. But as a longtime fan and critic of the music in this genre, one band that has noticeably stayed in the limelight with every release is BMTH.
If one thing can be credited for their relevance, it’s their ability to apply what they have learned. Their sound has fluctuated from straight-up metalcore, to synth-infused post-hardcore, to a rock-opera-esque emo, to trance metal. As they continue on this path of change, the avid listener would assume that they have been gearing toward a “mainstream” radio-friendly sound in 2020.
But if their newest release comes with any sort of subhead, it would be: Made you look.
Released Oct. 30, “Post Human: Survival Horror,” is a nine-track EP that may as well be the soundtrack to this socially apocalyptic year.
The intro track “Dear Diary” instantly makes the longtime BMTH fan smile, as the first 30 seconds ensure that they have no intention of going “soft” anytime soon. Taking it back to their sophomore album’s hard and fast style, frontman Oliver Sykes intensifies the track with vocals that sound like he’s a horror character trying to sing as he runs for his life, before the song rips into the gritty, trance-metal mix listeners have come to love.
From here, the album rides a wave of songs that take us on an intense hard-rock roller coaster through the hells of the year. If any song is a clear coronavirus anthem, it’s the second track entitled “Parasite Eve.” The lyrics describe every possible anxiety our population has had during this time, be it the virus itself, or the consequences coming from those who refuse to fear it.
The chorus is bound to get stuck in your head, as it embeds a real-life important question in its hook: “When we forget the infection / will we remember the lesson?”
This was the album’s second single, following “Ludens,” which was ironically written for post-apocalyptic video game “Death Stranding” in 2019. Sykes told NME that the bulk of the rest of the record was written at the beginning of quarantine season this year, making “Ludens” a near-eerie prelude to a fantastic eight-track tale of times to come.
BMTH also brings some friends along to tell this tale. If “Survival Horror” is the film “Ready Player One,” then each feature track you hop into is like a different fight being fought against our apocalyptic enemies. Think “Resident Evil” meets a metal show.
British hip-hop and punk artist Yungblud lends a verse on the resistance anthem “Obey,” kawaii-metal sensations BABYMETAL collaborate on “Kingslayer,” an instance of Japanese video-game style music made heavier, and British duo Nova Twins bring the rap-metal track “1×1” to life with their unique rapping style.
Finally, the record closes out with the solemn ballad, “One Day the Only Butterflies Left Will be in Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death.” The lengthy-titled closing track is the breather you need after the bulk of this album, as the voice of Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee brings a welcome change of pace. Her haunting voice invites Sykes to show his softer side, as the two harmonize what Sykes described to NME as “mother nature and mankind” crying out to each other after one destroys the other.
As the album closes with a hellish uproar being silenced by one final piano key, the audience is left with another incredible release from this genre-bending band.
In theory, the mixing of so many different styles in just nine short tracks would not work for most bands; but most bands aren’t Bring Me the Horizon. Their understanding of what they want to bring as a band is so precise, that they are on the verge of creating a genre we may not even be able to name yet, all on their own.