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This Is Sempiternal: A Perfect 10 By Bring Me The Horizon

A phonograph in black and white in front of a curtain in Twin Peaks

Ah, Bring Me The Horizon. They’ve certainly accomplished a fair bit in the 16 years that they’ve been around. In the first eight years of their existence alone, they went from screamo deathcore kids to being heralded as the saviours of British metalcore. In the eight years after, they completely transformed the landscape of contemporary rock music and broke free of sub-genre labelling.

The Sheffield 5-piece have conquered pretty much every sub-genre of rock, pop and metal, which makes selecting just ten songs a bit more difficult than usual. Remember, this is a band that could easily play deathcore and pop in the same live set.

But after about a week of deliberation and reconsideration, I think I have my Perfect 10. I think. I probably should just make something clear first, though. There isn’t anything from amo in here. I like the album, but it’s yet to have the same impact as all the albums before it, despite the commercial and critical success that it experienced. Sorry.

First though, some honourable mentions:

“The Sadness Will Never End” (feat. Sam Carter) – Suicide Season (2008)
“Alligator Blood” – There is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It; There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret (2011)
“Pray For Plagues” – Count Your Blessings (2006)
“Drown” – That’s The Spirit (2015)
“Re: They Have No Reflections” – This Is What The Edge of Your Seat Was Made For
“Nihilist Blues” (feat. Grimes) – amo (2019)

Track 1: “Crucify Me” (There is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It; There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret, 2011)

One of the most beautifully heavy songs in Bring Me The Horizon’s catalogue also happens to be one of the group’s most overlooked. The same could probably be said about There is a Hell as a whole. Jona Weinhofen’s stellar programming and backing vocals have (and will) never get the same credit as the (admittedly amazing) Jordan Fish, despite the former essentially laying the groundwork for Sempiternal.

Featuring Canadian songstress Lights, “Crucify Me” gives the first taste of the newer, electronica-infused sound that was heard throughout There is a Hell… 

The addition of female vocals into areas of the song was a very welcome one. Lights’ softer singing worked exceptionally well with Sykes’ emphatic screams to create some wonderfully controlled chaos. The addition of a softer, instrumental period at the start of the song was a great move too, allowing the listener to prepare themselves for the chaos that happens just a few seconds later.

It’s highly unlikely that “Crucify Me” will ever get the attention I feel it deserves, which is a huge shame. It encapsulated the core idea behind There is a Hell (the duality of man) and is probably the best album opener that the group has ever produced—an absolute classic.

Track 2: “The House of Wolves” (Sempiternal, 2013)

The first of many Sempiternal-era classics to be included on this list, “The House of Wolves” was never formally released as a single but remains a fixture on Bring Me The Horizon’s live setlist and a firm favourite amongst the band’s hardcore fanbase.

The song explores the idea of atheism and how the world of religion was built by predators going after defenceless people. The point is hammered home in the breakdown, which features one of the group’s most memorable lines, “and when you die the only kingdom you’ll see is 2 foot wide and 6 foot deep”.

“House of Wolves” earns its spot amongst the groups best from its accessibility. It combines some of the groups best songwriting with a killer breakdown and condenses it into a smooth 3:25 runtime.

Track 3: “(I Used to Make Out With) Medusa” (Count Your Blessings, 2006)

I can more than understand why people might not like Count Your Blessings. From a songwriting standpoint, it’s by far Bring Me The Horizon’s worst. From a musical standpoint, it’s a mixed bag. There’s some bad stuff, like the cover of Slipknot’s “Eyeless” that comes with the bonus edition. There’s good stuff, like “Medusa”. And when I say good, I mean very good.

It feels like a real uncut diamond—one of the more unadulterated songs in the group’s discography. The album as a whole isn’t too polished, which creates a feeling of authenticity to the songs included. While it can be considered as “generic deathcore”, the songwriting (which likens a failed relationship to the mythical story of Medusa), the pre-chorus and guitar work make it something truly special and make it a sleeper of a classic.

Track 4: “Diamonds Aren’t Forever” (Suicide Season, 2008)

I don’t think I could adequately put into words how much I love “Diamonds”. It’s just incredible.

2008’s Suicide Season marked a real change in Bring Me The Horizon’s musical style and direction. Songs like “The Comedown” and “Chelsea Smile” gave subtle indicators of what was to come, incorporating more electronic elements and instrumental breaks while remaining incredibly heavy. It was the start of a soon to be perfected template of British metalcore, a transition away from the off-rhythm guitar work and heavy breakdowns—one that would find its way into the newer work of bands like Architects.

While this was a very welcome thing, it was still awesome to see Bring Me The Horizon not jump in at the deep end with their stylistic change. They remained crushingly heavy for the most part, with “Diamonds Aren’t Forever” being a prime example. It was everything great about Count Your Blessings, only here it was brought under control and streamlined. It channelled the pure aggression that they’d brought in their past efforts into a crushingly heavy anthem, with bigger, catchier hooks and a more polished presentation.

It’s an absolute belter of a song; one that still feels incredibly special despite influencing a fair few imitators.

Track 5: “Shadow Moses” (Sempiternal, 2013)

“Shadow Moses” was Bring Me The Horizon’s zenith. It was the realisation of the potential that they had displayed for years. No longer were they a bunch of scene kids with fake hair. No longer were they immature party animals. They were now the figureheads of a genre, the leaders of a new generation, the pioneers of a unique style of metalcore in the UK.

It felt like they’d truly struck the perfect balance between the heavy riffs and catchy hooks that had followed them since the beginning and the electronic elements that had slowly been integrated over the five years before the release.

Track 6: “Chelsea Smile” (Suicide Season, 2008)

Twelve years and four studio releases later and “Chelsea Smile” remains quintessential listening for anyone jumping on the BMTH bandwagon. The lead single off 2008’s Suicide Season, “Chelsea” played a major part in the Sheffield quintet’s early success, proving to both fans and the media that they were capable of doing more than the gutturals, screams and blast beats that made up the majority of 2006’s Count Your Blessings.

It’s an absolute face melter of a song. It’s catchy; it can interact with a crowd extremely well. It has a stellar breakdown, which is really complimented by the instrumental break that comes just before. All of these elements work incredibly together to create one of the best BMTH songs out there -one of a select few tracks from Bring Me’s aggressive metalcore days that can stand toe to toe with pretty much everything that the group have released since.

Track 7: “Blessed With A Curse” (There is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It; There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret, 2011)

I’ll be honest; this song caught me hugely off guard when I first listened to it. The majority of There is a Hell… was filled with aggression turned all the way up to 11 with some synth work added in here and there. We don’t get that with “Blessed With A Curse”. It’s a more emotionally driven track, which is a welcome breath of fresh air. It laid the groundwork for songs later on in the song catalogue, most notably “Hospital for Souls”.

Track 8: “Doomed” (That’s The Spirit, 2016)

Ok. Before I go any further with this, please stop whatever it is that you’re doing (well, you’re reading this; what I actually mean is wait until after you’ve finished this, THEN stop what you’re doing) and watch Bring Me’s performance of “Doomed” from Royal Albert Hall in 2016. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Now, onto the actual entry.

“Doomed” acted as a major statement from the band to both new and old listeners when it was first released in 2015 – the group weren’t messing about, they were going to push their creative boundaries to new heights and completely change the world of rock music. The song ebbs and flows extremely well, combining electronica with breathy vocals in the verses. This builds beautifully to a crashing wave of guitar work and slightly heavier vocals in the chorus.

In an interview with Loudwire he says:

“I could scream it or I could growl it or whatever and that’s cool but that contrast of having the darkest lyrics on the album sounding like it’s out of a Disney film really drives home the point of the whole thing. It’s all about how there’s bad in good, good in bad, light in dark, and dark in light.”

While it isn’t the heaviest or emotionally driven song in the group’s catalogue, it earns its place amongst the band’s best songs for its brilliant songwriting and delivery. The song discusses embracing demons, the relationship between light and darkness. The delivery could’ve easily been filled with angst, taking the band back to a sound similar to their Count Your Blessings or Suicide Season days. The fact that they chose not to go down that route again instead opting to try something new shows real maturity and an understanding of the need to keep things fresh.

Track 9: “Hospital for Souls” (Sempiternal, 2013)

After falling slightly flat on their first attempt at an emotional ‘epic’ song with “Suicide Season” in 2008, Bring Me The Horizon gave things another go to close out 2013’s universally acclaimed Sempiternal. And they absolutely nailed it, choosing to have it close out their 4th LP in the best possible way.

Lyrically, the song dives into the journey of recovery by someone with mental health issues. The process of someone tearing themselves down, ridding themselves of the pain and freeing themselves of the struggles faced. Almost like a purge of all the anguish, all the dark thoughts that had built up over the months, over the years.

The pacing of the song is perfect when this is known. We start with some spoken vocals from Oli, which include the lines “even hell can get comfy when you’ve settled in” and “there’s glimpses of heaven in every day” which I thought was a nice callback to the title of the preceding album. Then we get a brief instrumental break before Oli pours everything into the first verse and chorus. So much of it becomes ingrained in the mind—with the line “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die” probably being the biggest example.

While it does get a little bit repetitive in areas, the slow rise in Oli’s vocal intensity makes keeps the listener invested. His singing slowly transitions to a scream before being followed by near silence to close the song. It’s a glorious finale for a stellar release, one that brought together elements from their past – the ‘epic’ style of “Suicide Season”. The pure emotion of “Blessed With A Curse”, or “Don’t Go”.

There’s something to satisfy nearly everyone, which more than earns it a spot in the upper levels of Bring Me’s excellent discography.

Track 10: “It Never Ends” (There is a Hell, Believe Me, I’ve Seen It; There is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret, 2011)

“It Never Ends” was the Bring Me The Horizon’s Big Bang, so to speak. It was the beginning of their transition from a fully-fledged metalcore outfit into a collective of digital and orchestral experimentalists. This change has seen them grow both their fanbase and their commercial success with every release since. It’s a glorious lead single for a truly excellent (and my personal favourite) There is a Hell album, absolutely nailing the progression from relatively gentle synth to a furious chorus that crowds still chant along with today, on the very rare occasion it’s played live.

In a similar way to songs like “Can You Feel My Heart” later in Bring Me’s song catalogue, “It Never Ends” dives into the struggles of drug addiction and the battle with mental health issues that come along with it. While I’ve never personally experienced the addiction side of things, the link to mental health hit close to home (as I’m sure it did for many others) and puts this song above almost every other BMTH song released to date.

Written by Conrad Newton

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