REVIEW: Stunning new record Amo is a great big risky leap for Bring Me the Horizon

Amo is the album Bring Me the Horizon deserve and the one they need.

By Graham Smyth
Thursday, 24th January 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th January 2019, 4:28 pm
Bring Me the Horizon release Amo tomorrow
Bring Me the Horizon release Amo tomorrow

The Sheffield band have taken a risk, a great big leap away from the sound their fans have known.

And the reward is a stunning record that they'll unleash tomorrow.

From dark, atmospheric electronica to heavy riffs, beatboxing, the moodiest of collaborations with Grimes and an upbeat, heartfelt love song, it's eclectic in the extreme.

But nothing really feels out of place.

The big, sweeping sound of some of their recent anthems is still in there, it's just been reworked, cut up and packaged in a completely new way.

This has the feel of a Fat of the Land, when Prodigy managed to meld dance and rock in a seamless way that took them to new heights.

Sheffield band Bring Me the Horizon

Tense opener, I Apologise if You Feel Something, with its distorted vocals, is a taste of what's to come.

MANTRA might be the closest thing to previous material on the entire album, a reminder that this is still Oli Sykes and co.

Nihilist Blues, featuring Grimes, is what the vampires in Wesley Snipes' Blade would be raving to in a modern day remake.

Not only is it the album's highlight, it could well be Bring Me the Horizon's first club banger.

In the Dark grooves along, with the track's only real menace generated by the lyrics.

Wonderful Life sounds like a Limp Bizkit track, because it very nearly was one. Sykes and Jordan Fish wrote the riff for the nu-metal giants, but it wasn't used. Waste not, want not, they took it back and made it a bouncy singalong epic about mundane everyday living. If you needed a moment of light relief during the record, this was it.

Ouch is an interlude with teeth. The piano and skittering beats are a foil for the raw pain in Sykes' lyrics.

Medicine is another salvo at someone from the singer's past. Sure it's poppy, but it's super catchy and you just know it'll sound huge live.

If the radio-friendly sound came as a shock to long-time fans, spare a thought for those hooked for the first time by this particular hit - picture them stumbling across the old deathcore stuff.

Sugar, Honey, Ice & Tea stomps along until the big chorus, with a heavy riff and falsetto singing.

Why You Gotta Kick Me When I'm Down could almost be grime. Sykes raps and there's a kids' choir, obviously.

His anger simmers, with staccato outbursts punctuating a tense soundscape, before a brief snippet of trance. It's weird, it works.

Electronic interlude Fresh Bruises takes an old track and brings it back in a completely different way.

After years of singing along to songs of Sykes' despair and angst, it's genuinely lovely to hear him happy in Mother Tongue.

An ode to his lover, it's uplifting and maybe even sugary but it's reassuring that he can still create in the good times.

Heavy Metal, featuring beatboxer Rahzel, is a cheeky, irony-rich wave to the fans who ditched the band over their evolving sound and who might even like the closing moments of the track.

The closing note is an emotional one, a tribute to a late friend, with strings that hark back to their Royal Albert Hall orchestral show, proving once again there's no fear of experimentation.

Amo was love at first listen for me but it won't be for everyone. Such a broad spectrum of sounds means should be something in there, however fleeting, to please most tastes.

It might alienate a few fans, but it will gain even more.

This album, that begins with an apology, feels entirely unapologetic.

Crucially, it's the album they wanted to write - anything else, anything less could have had dire consequences for the band's future.

Armed with Amo, Bring Me the Horizon deservedly remain on an upward trajectory 15 years and six albums on