Metalcore is one of the most frowned-upon genres simply because of the screaming. Many people pass it up because it's "too evil" or "doesn't take any talent," but, obviously, there are several people that do enjoy this kind of music. If you take a look at Bring Me the Horizon's – one of the largest modern metalcore bands – official Facebook page, you'll notice that they have more than 3.5 million likes, and it's only growing by the hour.
Since starting off as a deathcore band with their first two releases, This Is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made for (2004) and Count Your Blessings (2006), Bring Me the Horizon has come a long way. Some deathcore influences could still be heard on the band's second full length, 2008's Suicide Season, but it was a much more metalcore-oriented release compared to their previous work. In 2010, Bring Me the Horizon released their most successful album to date entitled There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret, which reached #17 on the Billboard 200. This release saw the band experiment with several different sounds and styles (metalcore, post-hardcore, electronic and symphonic metal), and it's quite obvious why it was received so well by so many.
About a year after the release of There Is a Hell..., (ex-)guitarist Jona Weinhofen revealed that the band would be taking another slight change in direction and adding more of a post-rock vibe on the fourth full length. After several months of waiting and wondering what exactly was coming next, Bring Me the Horizon announced that they had signed with RCA Records and that their new album – eventually entitled Sempiternal – would be released sometime in the early months of 2013. Finally, the time has come to delve into Sempiternal.
First and foremost, Bring Me the Horizon was telling the truth when they said that they were going for more of a post-rock vibe. Some kind of post-rock influence can be heard on every track, but those influences are most prevalent on "And the Snakes Start to Sing," "Seen It All Before" and "Hospital for Souls." Additionally, Bring Me the Horizon shows a few glimpses of industrial on some tracks, most notably "Empire (Let Them Sing)." Because of this change in direction, the drumming is different than on previous releases. It's much calmer and more straightforward, but it slots in with the rest of the music perfectly.
There is a somewhat surprising addition to Sempiternal, which would be the clean vocals. On There is a Hell..., there were times when vocalist Oli Sykes did his signature half yell/half sing, but he didn't completely sing anything. With that being said, Sykes shows off his singing voice several times throughout Sempiternal and, when he does, he brings great joy to my ears. The cleans heard on this release are strikingly similar to what you would hear from Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Tracks like "Can You Feel My Heart?," "The House of Wolves," "Go to Hell, for Heaven's Sake" and "Hospital for Souls" utilize these cleans extremely well, which makes the aforementioned tracks a few of my personal favourites.
There's much more to it than just the changes, though. Sempiternal is extremely well-written from start to finish; breakdowns are few and far between and the work on the fretboard is more impressive than ever. Furthermore, despite the drastic change in sound, Bring Me the Horizon managed to put a few familiar-sounding tracks on Sempiternal. "Anti-Vist" is very reminiscent of Suicide Season because of its sound – but even more so the lyrics ("middle fingers up if you don't give a fuck") – and because of the intro of "Crooked Young" which contains synth, it sounds very similar to There is a Hell...'s "It Never Ends" at times.
Bring Me the Horizon has pulled out all the stops on Sempiternal. It's one of the freshest metalcore (I don't even think you could call it that now) releases to come out in recent years, but it still sounds like Bring Me the Horizon. Fans, both old and new, are in for quite the treat. Sempiternal is progression at its finest.