It’s almost like Bring Me The Horizon foresaw the effects of this pandemic. Love song aside, last album Amo saw a further spiral into existential crises and nihilism (it was even in the title of Nihilist Blues, feat. Grimes). Many of the videos hinted at dissociated minds and bodies, entwined with technology: the 8-bit bodies in Nihilist Blues, the computer-generated bodies in Medicine, the wired-up bodies of In The Dark.
Parasite Eve is the name of a Japanese survival horror roleplaying videogame (and novel). And presumably, BMTH’s new single of the same name was written on the eve of the Coronavirus pandemic. Last year, it would have sounded like a sci-fi-themed bonus track, but now it reflects the world we’re living in.
It opens with a super dramatic chorus singing the Bulgarian folk song, Ergen Deda. We know from their Royal Albert Hall orchestra show that Bring Me aren’t afraid to embrace choirs, but here they move away from mere augmentation to a full-blown event, recalling the theatricality of movies, particularly the opening ‘shelling’ sequence of legendary anime movie Ghost In The Shell. In other words, it is not fucking around.
From here, it pivots to a heart-pounding dance track, with a chorus that’s the dystopian cousin of Amo tracks Mantra and Wonderful Life – thunderously heavy in a way that’s deeply satisfying, yet machine-like in its crushing, uniform riffs.
That nihilism comes early on, as a robotic female voice intones: ‘Please remain calm / The end has arrived / We cannot save you / Enjoy the ride.’ See also the later lyric: ‘Really we just need to fear something / Only pretending to feel something’, alongside the wordplay and the dulling sensation evoked by the line ‘dripping pins in the needles’.
Bring Me have long been the kings of casual aphorisms, and Parasite Eve is no exception. See the on-the-nose gem: ‘When life is a prison and death is a door / this isn’t a prison this is a war’, followed by a window-shattering breakdown that’s heavier than you might expect from them nowadays, and feels like nu metal remade for 2020.
Like their friend Grimes in the pop world, Bring Me have already considered what the future might sound and feel like. Perhaps they just didn’t expect their answer to arrive so soon.
And there’s the video – an aesthetic relative of the three listed above, with references to the game and the pandemic. There are beings going to war, shapes of bodies trying to touch, and a Parasite Eve-style nurse brandishing syringes. You could also make the leap to a full-on political statement; at one point, Oli Sykes asks, ‘When we forget the infection, will we remember the lesson?’
If you were descending into BMTH’s futuristic and murky metropolis, this is the video that would play on those tiny aeroplane screens, warning you about the virus while at the same time keeping you pacified for landing. In short, Parasite Eve is a thoroughly Bring Me The Horizon take on the pandemic. And it’s brilliant.