Sheffield, England alt-rockers Bring Me the Horizon have an ambitious plan for the release of their forthcoming album, opting to release the record in three EPs. The first installment, Post Human: Survival Horror, could stand on its own merit. Nine tracks and a host of high-profile collaborations make the record immediately satisfying. But there’s an even greater significance here, as BMTH has reached a level that’s rarely seen in modern rock: its releases have become events.
Bring Me the Horizon has often cited Linkin Park as one of its primary influences, and the band has truly carried the torch, showing that a hard rock band can meld art, aggression and melody. The band’s previous LP, amo divided some fans over its more diverse leanings and experimentation into pop influences. Those fans should return now. The opening track here, “Dear Diary,” is manic, ferocious and every bit in your face. It hits metal, thrash, punk and hard rock in a two and a half minutes.
The band was just beginning to write and record Post Human: Survival Horror as the early stages of the pandemic were unfolding, and it’s a sentiment that informs much of the lyrical material. Songs of fear, isolation and defiance create the backdrop of the album written and recorded almost entirely in quarantine. The anthemic and brooding “Parasite Eve” serves up one of the best rock tracks of the year. It’s heavy, dramatic and weird, and unfolds with an urgency that feels like the natural order of things might fall apart at any moment. “All the king’s sources and all the king’s friends/ Don’t know their arses from their pathogens” vocalist Oliver Sykes screams on the pandemic-inspired lyrics.
The soaring and anthemic “Teardrops” sums up the experience of the endless doom-scroll that is 2020 and overcoming the mental anguish that comes from the constant stream of bad news. It doesn’t sound like Linkin Park per se, but it’s impossible to not hear Sykes channeling Chester Bennington in his melodic screams.
The spastic and manic “Obey” is a fitting collaboration with fellow U.K.-rocker Yungblud. The two vocalists play off of each other on the verses before coming together for the insanely melodic and tongue-in-cheek chorus, singing, “Obey/ We hope you have a lovely day/ Obey/ You don’t want us to come out and play.”
The trippy electronic interlude “Itch For The Cure (When Will We Be Free?)” is expansive and melds naturally into the off-the-rails “Kingslayer.” A collaboration with Japanese kawaii metal band Babymetal, it jumps back and forth between the ferocity and aggression of the song’s verses to the unvarnished speed metal on the chorus. Noticeably present throughout the album is Sykes’ deep growl scream, magnificently melding the band’s ability to create infectious melodies with raw aggression.
One of the biggest surprises o the album is “1×1,” a head-banging collaboration with English rock duo the Nova Twins. It’s heavy on groove and melody while still serving up a healthy dose of hard rock riffs. The Nova Twins’ delivery fuses well with Sykes, making for a thrilling moment.
In some ways, electro-rocker “Ludens” created the framework for the rest of the album. The track was the first release by the band for this record, and it was the bridge from amo’s electro-pop stylings and the heaviness and aggression of the band’s early days. The masterful song achieves both heaviness and ferocity without sacrificing melody and songwriting.
The final surprise comes in the form of a collaboration with Evanescence vocalist Amy Lee, arguably one of the best voices in modern rock. The song is dramatic, immediate and a sharp change of pace from the album’s earlier heavier moments. It builds to a chaotic and urgent climax before sharply flatlining to subdued silence.
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.