The five-man Sheffield based heavy metal group have gone back to their heavier roots in this latest EP. With the global pandemic and numerous events that transpired over 2020 serving as a major influence over this release, Bring Me the Horizon have concocted a symphony of chaos to embody what for many has been one of the worst years in a while. The album was released on the 30th October, one day before Halloween, demonstrating that this EP is nightmare fuelled and is meant to portray the general feeling towards this year. Another notable influence that I noticed with this EP was from Linkin Park, specifically the albums Meteora and Hybrid theory which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. With the band citing Linkin Park as big inspirations to them, I’d like to think that this album is also somewhat of an acknowledgement to those who rocked before Bring Me. This EP sounds like a marriage of the bands previous three albums: Sempiternal, That’s The Spirit and Amo with elements from their first album, Count Your Blessings being thrown in.
The EP starts with Dear Diary, starting with a quiet nightmarish synth, likely provided by Mick Gordon who was a big help on the project. Mick created the music from the 2016 version of the video game DOOM and its sequel DOOM: Eternal, both of which feature a man fighting demons in hell which heavily fits the aesthetic of the EP. After this you are aggressively grabbed and pulled into the fast riffs and screaming vocals from lead man Oli Sykes describing how the world has become an apocalyptic nightmare, consumed by some kind of parasite, describing how he feels itchy likes there are bugs underneath his skin and how he ‘can’t stomach anymore’. Long term fans of the band will be excited to hear Matt Nicholls playing blast beats on the drums and Lee Malia playing guitar solos straight out of Count Your Blessings. This first track has a very panicked feel to it, reflective of how many felt when the pandemic first began. The track ends on talking about how there is no more human race and how it’s a shame his life has been a waste as the outro is Oli manically laughing and screaming. So yeah, a massive mood.
Up next, the second single from the album to drop: Parasite eve. Taking its name from the 1998 Japanese roleplaying game, parasite eve, whilst sounding like it was written for the pandemic, actually began life in 2019. The track kicks off with tribal-like chanting which builds up panic and chaos to then be cut off by a heavy 808 sounding bass and the lyrics kick in. To me the song talks about going against the ‘everything will be fine’ attitude and facing the reality of a situation, people are tired of being told this and the song really reflects that; the lyrics ‘when we forget the infection, will we remember the lesson. If the suspense doesn’t kill you, something else will’ seem to emphasise that message. I believe this song speaks for more than attitudes to the pandemic, to me, this song resonates with the Black Lives Matter movement, the song is screaming at people to listen and look at what is going on in the world. The line ‘this is a war’ to me feels like a call to action and is screaming at people to be angry at the way people are being treated. The haunting robotic sounding pre chorus talks about how this is the end of the line and ‘we’ cannot save you but that you should still remain calm. This pre chorus sounds like it’s said from the perspective of the government and the system that is put into place that is meant to protect us. Bring Me clearly feel that these systems are not working, and something needs to be done. In my opinion, the track would not sound out of place on Linkin Park’s The Hunting Party. The mix of electronic sounds and metal guitar riffs has become Bring Me’s speciality in recent years, and it is perfectly done in this track.
The next track, teardrops, is quite possibly my favourite on the EP. Similarly, to dear diary, the opening pulls you into a massive loud guitar riff which is reminiscing Linkin Park’s Somewhere I Belong. The lyrics talk about how we are shown so many traumatic events that are happening in the world one after another that eventually we become so numb to them. This again is reflective of the events of 2020 with each month seeming to bring another traumatic event. The chorus is plain addictive, Sykes manages to sing and scream in such a way that genuinely sounds like he is emotionally exhausted. The guitar work, as mentioned before is a call back to the guitar work of Linkin Park’s Brad Delson, hearing the riff definitely had “Anton Ego, the food critic from ratatouille being transported back to his childhood” vibes. This track has a video to couple it and the thing I love about both is how after the breakdown, in the video Sykes is being pulled out of water by his bandmates after almost drowning and the song really makes you feel like this. In the first two verses and choruses, the listener feels alone in feeling this emotional exhaustion but after that breakdown there is a slight change in sound, but the song makes an effort to make the listener feel that they are not alone in feeling like this. Almost as if Sykes in the video is personifying the listener and the band is bringing them up from the water, reminding everyone that you are not alone in these feelings, which is something that is very important, especially now with the lockdown leaving people feeling alone.
The next track Obey is a massive track featuring YUNGBLUD. The track is very high paced thanks to the use of fast, heavy guitars and more blast beat drums coupled with fast plucky synths and electronic sounds, it’s a smorgasbord for fans, especially from the Sempiternal and There is a Hell era. With sections again seemingly calling back to Linkin Park’s Hybrid theory, especially the pre chorus which, to me, sounds like the pre chorus of Papercut. The track delves into themes surrounding how we are suffering from oppression placed unto us by world leaders and politicians. The song is clearly from the perspective of the oppressors as the chorus screams at the listener to Obey and how they don’t want “us” (the oppressors) to come out and play. The track also highlights how those in charge don’t seem to actually care about the ones they are meant to be looking after highlighted in the line “We’re only gambling with your soul”. Additionally, it points out obvious corruption within the systems we are meant to trust, begging the listener by saying “Just don’t wake up and smell the corruption”. YUNGBLUD’s awesome feature gives the track that added aggression in a first collaboration of the two sounds. YUNGBLUD has mentioned that he was a fan of the band and has found inspiration in their work and it shows here as he fits seamlessly into the track. Hopefully we’ll get to hear more features in the future as it works wonders here.
Itch for the cure is a clear reference to Linkin Park’s Cure for the Itch interlude from Hybrid theory. The title could be referencing the need for a ‘cure’ for the current COVID-19 virus, the world has most certainly been itching for it as we have been feeling the effects for nearly a year now. The track acts as a sort of intro for the next track Kingslayer. To me the track acts as a disconnection of perspective shown in Obey. The opening gives very ‘unplugging of the matrix’ vibes. Sykes emphasises this in the lyrics by talking about something ‘coming unplugged’ and that there is ‘a glitch in your trust’ Babymetal feature on this track, giving a shout out to the next track in their repeated line ‘I wanna be a Kingslayer!’ The track feels like the first part of a rollercoaster, the climb up to the top waiting for the inevitable drop which is the next track.
Kingslayer is the drop to the rollercoaster set up by itch for the cure. The synth intro is the churning in your stomach as Sykes’ slowly glitching scream is the massive drop into chaos as the first verse ramps you right back into another climb. Sykes has been on record talking about how the name of the song was inspired by an accolade you are able to earn in Call of Duty, Kingslayer means you’ve just killed the highest scoring enemy. However, the track appears to tackle matters of morality and doing the right thing, even if the right thing is considered illegal. Again, mentioning corruption and begging the listener to break the system and wake up. This suggests that Sykes is talking about the corruption of governments and how they can no longer be trusted to act with the interest of the people. J-pop Metal triplet Babymetal lend their voices to this track, delivering half a verse in Japanese and the other half along with the infectious chorus in English. Sykes has stated before that the reason the band has moved back towards their heavier, angrier sound is that it is reflective of how people are actually feeling at the moment and I believe this track perfectly encapsulates that feeling, anger towards those we let keep us in line.
1×1 or one by one is the next track and again, definitely has a Linkin Park feel to it, I think it resembles Don’t Stay from Meteora and that’s the utmost compliment. The song details feelings of isolation and being alone once again which is very fitting to the feelings that many are currently still experiencing. The main themes of the song can be interpreted in two ways, firstly, it can be seen as a personal story Sykes is recalling, he feels that his past actions are tearing him apart and his mind is out to kill him. Holding onto memories of the past could also be a source of anguish as the chorus asks, “I don’t know what hurts the most, holding on or letting go?” Or it could be seen in a more political light, with the Sykes speaking on behalf of humanity itself, asking when will they learn to protect the Earth better and grieving the loss of so many species. The song is littered with references to Bring Me’s previous project “That’s the Spirit”, specifically “Doomed”, “Run” and “Avalanche”. The song boasts a feature with underground London Duo Nova Twins, currently signed with 333 Wrecking Crew, curated by Fever 333 Frontman Jason Aalon Butler, who toured with Bring Me back in 2018. Sykes has spoken about how Nova Twins was one of the main artists he was listening to and reached out for a collaboration. A collaboration with female artists is refreshing to see, women are less represented within the genre. Hearing Sykes scream misery like the late lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington was another big “Anton Ego, the food critic from ratatouille, being transported back to his childhood” moment for me.
Ludens is the penultimate track on the EP but it was the first we heard. The band had made the song after being approached by Hideo Kojima for the game Death Stranding (which released to mixed reviews). The band only had limited amount of time to get the song finished, this was made even more difficult as they were on tour at the time. When the song initially dropped it was met with joyous adulation to Bring Me fans new and old as the song incorporated the new style of heavy electronic sounds with the fat guitar riffs and screams that Bring Me The Horizon is famous for. The heavy bass and synths in the intro and verses further emphasise this apocalyptic world that Bring Me has set out in this EP. Whilst the lyrics were not written about the current pandemic, you can draw meaning that is relevant for the current state of the world. For example, “How do I form a connection when we can’t even shake hands” is eerily representative of the rules to reduce physical contact to help reduce the spread of the virus. The verses are quieter, Sykes’s vocals are softer here, they ramp up the song to the choruses. The first chorus is quieter as well, with the vocals and instrumentals slightly ramping up, then being cut off by that stabbing synth that’s heard in the intro which leads to the second verse. This again is quieter, until Sykes starts to shout which immediately changes the pace of the song, allowing the second chorus to be loud, almost orchestral with voice and instruments leading each other in a waltz of chaos this massive chorus is again cut but a bass synth which leads the listener down the tunnel of the breakdown. The repeated phrase “you call this a connection” is the ramp up the rollercoaster and the “give me break” massive drop. When I first heard the song, it was this breakdown that really got me excited for this project, heavy riffs, crash cymbals and screaming vocals were wait made me fall in love with Bring Me as a band and to hear this sound become more intertwined with the electronic sounds of Amo was * chefs kiss * beautiful. This breakdown leads us to the final chorus, which again boasts that orchestral sound. All to lead to a quiet outro that leads perfectly into the final track.
The final song on the EP is One Day “The Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death” wins longest song name on the album and possibly in the band’s entire discography. Evanescence’s Amy Lee lends her voice to this track. On the surface, this song seems like a ballad describing the turmoil of a romantic relationship. Lee takes the first verse to ask why Sykes keeps acting the way he does, why he doesn’t change. She tells him that she doesn’t want to have to bury him, she asks him what he will do without her. Sykes then replies saying he is “past the point of rescuing”. He then starts to refer to himself as we, this is the point when you realise the song isn’t about a romantic relationship, it’s about humanity’s relationship with the Earth, Lee voices the planet’s pains towards Sykes, who is speaking on behalf of humanity. Just as the song is ramping up and we are hearing guttural screams of ‘love isn’t in the air, the song just cuts off and we are left with a solitary sombre piano note to end this symphony of chaos.
Look, I know I’ve rambled on A LOT, but it’s because I love this project and this band. Bring Me The Horizon have definitely helped me throughout this lockdown. This EP demonstrated how myself and many others have felt towards this whole situation, angry and frustrated at everything, having music to listen to that portrays these feelings is cathartic for me. All in all this EP is the perfect start to Bring Me’s next chapter, each song here serves a purpose, there are no skips. Cannot wait to see what Bring Me drop next!
Review by: Vinay Harji