The most divisive heavy band in history made a shameless show of their mainstream ambitions with their 2015 major label debut, That’s The Spirit, but it was with Epitaph that their journey from metal outcasts to chart-bothering behemoths really took flight. This collection of tracks seems a little cynical, but still showcases the fascinating and, at times, enthralling journey that the Sheffield crew have undergone since they crashed into the metal scene in the early 2000s.
While it’s telling that only two tracks appear from the band’s first two noticeable releases – 2004’s This Is What The Edge Of Your Seat Was Made For EP and 2006 debut album, Count Your Blessings – it’s still fun to go back and remember a) how much more polished they became within a couple of years, and b) how heavy some of those early songs are. The cynics might have scoffed, but Pray For Plagues still crushes, and what many would give to hear a riff like those on Traitors Never Play Hang-Man on an In Flames album in 2018.
Suicide Season represented a significant refining of the band’s sound, and the likes of Chelsea Smile and The Comedown still sound great, but really, it’s what came after that carried Bring Me The Horizon away from their peers and into metal’s upper echelons. Picks from both There Is A Hell… and the flawless, career-high Sempiternal showcase some incredible songwriting; of the former, Crucify Me still stands out as one of the best songs Bring Me The Horizon have ever produced, while in truth you could have picked just about anything from Sempiternal that would have been worthy of a ‘Greatest Hits’ collection. Still, you just can’t fuck with the likes of Shadow Moses and Sleepwalking – Hall Of Fame -worthy anthems whichever way you look at them. Ultimately, this makes for an interesting, if inessential, release.