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Album Review: ‘Sempiternal’ by Bring Me the Horizon

Sempiternal

Bring Me the Horizon
EPITAPH

By Faizan Ghori

April 5, 2013 12:26 a.m.

Bring Me the Horizon’s new album, “Sempiternal,” is true to its name – forever lasting. Although it’s not the best metalcore album by any means, this album will definitely be bumped forever.

Bring Me the Horizon, a name taken from a line out of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,” is a metalcore band hailing from Sheffield, Yorkshire. After forming in 2004, Oli Sykes’ brutal vocals, along with the band’s battling guitar work, have become signatures of the band. Compared to Bring Me the Horizon’s earlier works, such as “Suicide Season,” the band has progressed from mediocre to constantly improving. They had an interesting and new sound then, and that sound is heading in a new direction now.

“Sempiternal” is by far the band’s strongest showing. It is an album that transcends genres in a way and departs from Bring Me the Horizon’s usual sound. The breakdowns are there, sure. Oli Sykes is still screaming his heart out, but it’s an improvement from his vocal showings on past albums.

This is in part because of the band’s newest addition, Jordan Fish, who provides programming and keyboard work for the band. Fish’s keystrokes and programming have resulted in Bring Me the Horizon being accessible enough for more traditional metalcore fans, but there’s enough variety to keep the veterans happy.

Sykes even adds in some soft, soulful crooning on tracks such as the album’s opener, “Can You Feel My Heart,” and the album’s closing track, “Hospital for Souls.” The surprising part is that he does it superbly. And although he doesn’t have the vocal range of say, Adam Levine, Sykes shows that someone with an average ability can still make compelling music.

This new style is a new start for the band, and the instrumentation on all of the tracks makes everything come together. The only track on the album that seems like a filler track is “Antivist,” a song that doesn’t add much to the overall theme established by previous songs on the album. In fact, “Antivist” detracts from the overall sound of the album entirely because the vibe of “Antivist” is lacking the synth and other factors that contribute to the sound of the rest of the album.

The best song to really put all of the band’s new elements together would be “And the Snakes Start to Sing,” as it opens up with Sykes’ new, soft singing accompanied with a choral backing, yet ends in a furious rage.

The album isn’t anything you could label as the band’s magnum opus, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. It has solid riffs, and is a focused effort on being a more cohesive album. It’s definitely not as heavy as their previous works, but there are glimpses of the band’s roots with songs such as “Empire (Let Them Sing),” that are just pure, unfiltered carnage from start to finish. “Sempiternal” is the type of album that is blared shamelessly in the car on any given day of the week.

As Bring Me the Horizon is, after all, a metalcore band, the breakdowns are definitely there. The breakdowns are only adequate, however, and are nothing revolutionary. The album’s entire sound can best be described as unrelenting aggression with hints of unexpected tranquility as Sykes lets loose his singing.

Bring Me the Horizon has definitely matured as a band, and “Sempiternal” is a testament to that. Sykes’ vocals are at their absolute best whether singing or screaming, and overall the album sounds different. It is a great album with minor imperfections (“Antivist”), and Sempiternal was a fitting name choice for the album, because this album will endure.

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Faizan Ghori
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