Deathcore dickheads. Heavy metal’s whipping boys. Trailblazers. Bona fide festival headliners… Ed Sheeran collaborators? Bring Me The Horizon’s career arc is like no other band’s. Forming in 2004, the Sheffield feather-rustlers clambered to the top of the tree by setting trends, then scampering off before everyone else snaffled up the fruits of their labour. But which of Bring Me’s experiments paid off, and which earned them a Sunday headline slot in Download Festival’s portaloos? Let’s rank their back catalogue and find out.
8. Music To Listen To… (2019)
Music To Listen To… is an album with a title so long, we’re not typing it here. Google it. Anyway, it is an album, despite being promoted as an EP – the bastard’s nearly longer than Shrek.
It’s a loose, unstructured collaboration between vocalist Oli Sykes and keyboard player Jordan Fish, wherein they loop samples, pile in guests, and make everyone feel deservedly bad for eating animals and destroying the planet. It’s a shame that none of it sticks, though – Sykes recorded one rambling monologue while he was stoned, giving you a peek into how little of a toss you should give this Baby’s First Aphex Twin.
7. Count Your Blessings (2006)
If you want to hear five teenagers making a racket and being bw00tal, then stick Count Your Blessings on. It’s not a crap record, but BMTH’s debut is a derivative affair possessing few of the hallmarks that made them unique later on. Even Pray For Plagues, the album’s go-to track, follows a formula Carnifex would better the following year. The whole thing is basically a load of beatdowns, Sykes going “BWEEEEEEE!” and the Lee Malia/Curtis Ward At The Gates fanclub operating at a furious level. If that’s your bag, gape your flappy earlobes and get your crab-walk on.
6. amo (2019)
Bring Me’s sixth album caused division among loyalists. Dunking on the scene that ostracised them on the aptly titled Heavy Metal and straying into straight-up electronica and pop elsewhere, amo captures a band burning their past without thinking of where they’re going next. It’s disjointed, it doesn’t quite work, but hey, there’s some catchy songs. And a Dani Filth guest spot, if that’s your thing…
5. That’s The Spirit (2015)
Sempiternal saw BMTH shift further from the extremities of yore, but their fifth record, That’s The Spirit, is unrecognisable compared to Count Your Blessings. Fish – now a fully-fledged member – sinks his teeth into Throne and Blasphemy, transforming the band into an arena-ready, electro-rock behemoth.
Sykes’ falsetto croon on Doomed is a shocker, as is his mostly-clean delivery throughout the album. Malia’s gnarled riffs seldom pop up, but when Happy Song arrives, you’re gonna need a neck brace and a nappy. That’s The Spirit took BMTH into bigger venues for a reason.
4. Post Human: Survival Horror (2020)
Coming less than a year after Songs To Wank To Cry To, this album – it’s an album, it’s longer than Reign In Blood – proved that BMTH could still pen metal bangers capable of caving in arena roofs. The focus here is simple: huge Linkin Park choruses, ch0nky riffs, garish electronics and more guests than a Boris Johnson office party. Cobbled together during the first wave of COVID and produced by DOOM Eternal’s Mick Gordon, the whole thing’s got more than a whiff of the aforementioned video game about it. Violent, blunt, just a bit mental. The mish-mash of Prodigy electronics, early Bring Me savagery and an unhinged Babymetal feature on Kingslayer also gave us the band’s best song since the Sempiternal days.
3. Suicide Season (2008)
A complete reinvention was in order after Count Your Blessings, so BMTH flew to Sweden and recorded their second LP in relative isolation. The spasmodic digital effects synonymous with the band crept in alongside the usual gang vocals and beatdowns, as is evident straight off the bat with The Comedown – Matt Nicholls implements some of his most treacherous drum fills here, too.
Count Your Blessings’ merciless noise is recalled through the woefully-titled No Need For Introductions, I’ve Read About Girls Like You On The Backs Of Toilet Doors, but Suicide Season is better than that. Chelsea Smile’s vocal hook is a winner to this day, and the title track’s eight-minute duration is a sprawling display of sonic misery, establishing BMTH as forerunners in modern heavy music.
2. Sempiternal (2013)
People finally caught up and started taking BMTH seriously, if only because Sempiternal’s Linkin Park-inspired choruses and Fish’s polished, earworm keys are just too potent to ignore. Sykes’ yelling is tailored to the Terry Date production job, the likes of Shadow Moses and Antivist showcasing the vocalist’s tight-throated rage at its zenith but in a cleaner, more direct manner. Hospital For Souls takes his newfound melodies and pits them against luscious keys for an almost Deftones-esque seven minutes. Sempiternal’s main selling point sees heads-down riffing bounce around delicate, dare we say radio-friendly sections, setting BMTH up for That’s The Spirit, arena tours and, er, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
1. There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret (2010)
Crucify Me: BMTH’s finest moment. Suicide Season’s glitching electronics smooth over into ambience amid the feral chugging and Sykes’ rallying cry: “I am an ocean, I am the sea. There is a world inside of me.” You still get your old-school brutality with Alligator Blood, Home Sweet Hole and The Fox And The Wolf, but it’s counteracted by Blessed With A Curse’s progressive leanings, Memorial’s low-key restraint and those delicate, beautifully plucked strings during Don’t Go.
There Is A Hell… is the sound of an already-experimental group pushing themselves further than they’ve ever gone and straight out of the shitty, elitist scene that refused to accept them. The best thing to come from Sheffield since The Full Monty.