Music Reviews

Bring Me the Horizon Amo

(Sony / RCA) Rating - 7/10

Bring Me The Horizon are a group that has generated a significant amount of buzz in recent months in the build-up to their sixth studio album release. Much has been made throughout the hype for Amo, with the album's experimentalism being a trump card and the group's major strength. It certainly stands the group in excellent stead opening the album up, with a bundle of perfectly sequenced tracks confidently driving the group into new territories, but it doesn't maintain this quite as radically as some corners are making out.

I Apologise If You Feel Something kicks proceedings off, and is an intriguing curtain-raiser, all gentle synth bleeps and bloops and skittering electronic rhythms that certainly weren't the center of the frame on their studio albums back in the day. This leads neatly into more familiar cacophony in the form of Mantra - the explosive first single's meaty main guitar riff and super catchy chorus fully arrest with little breaks and vocal pauses as it winds back of sound into a more electronic-based backing track. Nihilist Blues confidently picks things up hot on its heels, flying out of orbit into trance heavy synths with a thumping breakdown, a reverb-laden Grimes interjecting amidst the maelstrom. Before you've had time to fully absorb either track the album takes another confident turn in the form of In The Dark, a mostly successful pop-oriented track with a catchy, sultry guitar lick propelling the verses and an equally catchy chorus that builds as a repeated refrain, with a big string arrangement marching in on top. The Dani Filth fuelled track, Wonderful Life, clatters into the picture from a completely different soundscape, a twin assault of overdriven bass lines and raspy aggressive drum sounds while Filth's trademark vocals hammer home another chant-like hymn of a chorus.

Only once we are into Ouch - which seems to serve as an ambient bookend of sorts with its vocal samples and syncopated chattering beats - do we get a chance to catch our breath at what is a ballsy and well-spliced array of tracks, each offering something different to the last. Where Amo loses its way a little is that this is then a formula that repeats after this bookend with less successful results.

Although the band have pushed Medicine as a single, it offers nothing memorable. In The Dark is a more successful variant on the type of structure it adopts. And likewise, subsequent tracks start to self-reference the initial bundle with diminishing returns. Sugar Honey Ice And Tea ramps up the bass overdrive together with another beefy drum track, but there's nothing here that Wonderful Life doesn't do more effectively on this front, and the vocal processing on the choruses actually starts to detract from the music. Of the latter tracks, Why You Gotta Kick Me When I'm Down? is probably the most interesting, blending an explicit vocal take with a child chorus backing, electronic music woven with more orchestral sonics in a strangely captivating mixture of pop sensibilities.

Overall, Amo is a strident record, difficult to categorize and, in a good way, uniquely spliced and sequenced with little fear of crossing boundaries - but part of mastering this dark art is knowing when to put the paintbrush down.