“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die,” croons Oliver Sykes in “Hospital for Souls.” This, for the most part, embodies the nature of the album, as Sykes’ lyrics and emotions on their latest album are directed almost entirely on the subject of faith. However, Sykes is not afraid to speak his mind on the subject, and the music as a whole reflects the tortured and, at times, hostile nature of Bring Me the Horizon’s message on “Sempiternal,” their fourth full-length release.
If Bring Me the Horizon’s sound has done anything over their careers, it’s that it’s changed relatively drastically every time they hit the studio. What I can appreciate about their work is that every album offers something new and downright awesome. “Sempiternal” is no different, as they incorporate some of the choral and symphonic elements of their last album and also introduce new vocal techniques, as Sykes uses more of a yelling than straight screaming and even singing on some occasions. Honestly, it’s hard to explain accurately because Sykes’ style is so unique.
More than anything, what makes this album absolutely fantastic is the variety and experimentation that is present. With outright beat-down songs like “Antivist” that show every ounce of anger Sykes is capable of to the tortured ballads of “Deathbeds,” variety truly works wonders for this band.
The first single off “Sempiternal” is “Shadow Moses.” This song is a perfect encapsulation of what this album is all about; the song opens with a breakdown that will kick your face in the way that only Bring Me the Horizon could. The gang vocals behind Sykes are also characteristic of the album, as they are a recurring element throughout.
Even with all the in-your-face thrashing that Bring Me the Horizon can deliver, tracks like “And the Snakes Start to Sing” provide a canvas for Sykes to showcase his abilities to sing and make use of his voice in ways that he hasn’t before; and, to be frank, I don’t think anyone else on this planet can. By no means is he a great singer in the traditional Mariah Carey kind of way, but there is something arresting and moving about the pure emotional power that he can pour into his voice that sends shivers down the back of my neck not just once, but several times throughout “Sempiternal.”
Case in point, get this album — you would be doing yourself a disservice otherwise. I don’t even care if you’ve never liked heavier music before; the sheer talent Bring Me the Horizon exudes will make “Sempiternal” worth every terrifying and heart-wrenching second.
Recommended: Bring Me the Horizon’s “Sempiternal” is a landscape of intensity and emotional outpouring that shouldn’t be missed, even for non-metal listeners.