Best of 2014: Bring Me The Horizon: a decade under the influence

Bring Me The Horizon: a decade under the influence

As the controversial Sheffield metallers cap off their ten-year anniversary in impeccable style, DIY charters a course through their convoluted musical history.

Few have been through the wringer quite like Bring Me The Horizon – their every move subject to microscopic scrutiny from day one. Bursting onto the scene with an attitude ripped straight from the snarling seventies punk playbook and the dress sense of an over-designed anime character, enigmatic frontman Oli Sykes and his band of merry mischief-makers smirked and spat straight back at any decriers, all while steadily gathering a fanbase of equally disillusioned youths. Over the course of the next ten years, the group faced (subsequently dropped) assault charges, drug addiction and the darkest depths of trial by internet on their way to the top – a fact which must have made the 12,500 strong sold out crowd at their recent Wembley Arena headliner an even sweeter prize.

Through all this, Bring Me The Horizon remained headstrong in their desire to make a mark. From their earlier material’s brazenly vile demands for attention, through to their soaring, arena-filling present, they’re a group who have laughed in the face of convention and expectation, and ploughed their innovation straight through the heart of a genre plagued by pretenders and parody. Here, DIY celebrates the Sheffield mob’s ten year anniversary with a chartered course through the intricacies of their evolution, and raises a glass to one of the most controversial, cocksure and yet ultimately crown-worthy groups in modern metal.

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Drown

An unavoidable radio smash, Bring Me The Horizon’s latest single is the perfect place to start, if only for the contrast it strikes when held up against the band’s first works. Written specifically with the Wembley Arena stage in mind, it’s a melodic marker of just how far the group have come from their earlier days of unrestrained noise.

Re: They Have No Reflections

What better cut of that noise than a track that was once the MySpace profile song of any floppy fringed scene kid worth their weight in hairspray? As a statement of intent, debut EP ‘This Is What The Edge Of Your Seat Was Made For’ was unlike any other – it may have aged like yoghurt in the Sahara, but it’s impossible to deny the schizophrenic energy that defined the band’s early eruption out of Steel City.

(I Used To Make Out With) Medusa

‘Pray For Plagues’ may garner the fiercest fan reactions – just check the size of the wall of death when they wheeled it out of retirement at Wembley for evidence of that – but ‘Medusa’ is the crowning jewel of debut album ‘Count Your Blessings’. Perfectly capturing that youthful, drunken recklessness that defined Bring Me’s most controversial years, the track darts between razor sharp fretboard fiddling and thunderous breakdowns, all underpinned by the childish scorned lovers’ sentiment of Sykes’ early lyrical work - “your beauty is no more,” he screeches at one point, “so why don’t you just fuck yourself, you stupid fucking whore?” Charming.

No Need For Introductions, I’ve Read About Girls Like You On The Backs Of Toilet Doors

Sykes’ final word on his charges of assault and, er, urinating on a fan after a Nottingham Rock City show took the form of a one minute gut-punch of screeching guitar work and scorched lyrical retaliation. Said charges were ultimately dropped due to lack of evidence and conflicting reports from nlocal CCTV, but of course dragged up once more every time a shit-talker on the internet fancied attempting a one-up on the frontman. Still, what better catharsis than allowing the constantly swelling crowds of ‘Suicide Season’’s touring cycle to roar back that immortal closing line; “And after everything you put me through, I should’ve fucking pissed on you”?

It Was Written In Blood

With lyrics taken primarily from the suicide note of Russian poet Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin (written in his own blood, of course), ‘It Was Written In Blood’ saw Bring Me The Horizon’s newfound appreciation for poetry and groove take centre stage. Where the Bring Me of old had simply set out to make the biggest, brashest noise they could muster, with ‘Suicide Season’ the group wiped their slate clean and began forging a brand new path through a genre now cluttered with stale imitators.

The Sadness Will Never End (Skrillex remix)

With a newfound interest in electronics beginning to creep into Bring Me’s sound on ‘Suicide Season’, remix album ‘Suicide Season: Cut Up’ saw the group’s peers present an alternative take on the breakthrough. The Skrillex remix of ‘Suicide Season’ highlight ‘The Sadness Will Never End’ is notably not only for its off-the-wall EDM take on the lovelorn original, but also for the pairing of two of alternative music’s most polarising figures, with Skrillex’s thudding basslines sitting surprisingly comfortably alongside a warped reimagining of Sykes’ original vocals.

Don’t Go (featuring Lights)

A classical, violin-led edge on this highlight from tongue-twisting third album ‘There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven Let’s Keep It A Secret’ aligns perfectly with a guest vocal from Canadian electro-pop sensation Lights, and was the clearest indicator to date of Bring Me’s willingness to flex the boundaries of their genre.

Fuck (featuring Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six)

It wasn’t all tear-jerking violins however; ‘There Is A Hell…” still housed a rougher edge, with the elegantly-titled ‘Fuck’ a particularly breathtaking cut. It’s an all-out assault on the senses right from the off, with Sykes tearing his vocal chords to an admission of being unfulfilled by the casual sex of single life. Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six fame stars as the song reaches its soaring conclusion – Sykes later repaid the favour on ‘Bite My Tongue’, the harder cut from YMAS’ third full-length ‘Sinners Never Sleep’, and the two tracks make perfect bedfellows.

Hospital For Souls

Opening with a spoken word confessional from Sykes himself, ‘Hospital For Souls’ could hardly be farther from the Bring Me that came kicking and screaming out of Sheffield at the start of the century. A remarkably frank reflection on the crippling drug addiction Sykes had faced and finally eradicated in the run-up to ‘Sempiternal’’s recording, it’s set to a backdrop that’s equal parts symphonic and ambient in its emotional ebb and flow.

Sleepwalking

Laced with a similar anthemia to ‘Drown’, this undoubted highlight of ‘Sempiternal’ solidifies the Sheffield gang’s melodic credentials. With choruses like these now nestled up their sleeves, could Wembley be just the start of Bring Me’s arena-filling potential? Don’t bet against it.

Bring Me the Horizon are at #83 in DIY’s The List 2014. Read the DIY review of Bring Me The Horizon’s monumental Wembley Arena show here.