There is absolutely no doubt that the sixth studio album from Bring Me The Horizon will completely polarise their fans. Amo is a record that pushes and pulls you, whether a hardcore fan or a casual listener, into almost every direction imaginable. At times it’s euphoric synth pop and at others it’s rip-roaring heavy rock - but one thing it never is, is predictable.
Exploring all aspects of love, from the bitter and turgid end of a relationship or the painful loss of a friend to the enigmatic and explosive sparks of falling in love, Amo’s got it covered, and it really feels like this is vocalist Oli Sykes at his most personal.
The record also features it’s fair share of collaborations, (hello Grimes, Dani Filth and Rahzel) as well as Sykes and keyboardist Jordan Fish at the helm of production, which only allows the Sheffield band to push their boundaries even further, diving into experimentation head first.
Here’s our breakdown of Amo, track by track.
‘I Apologise If You Feel Something’
Clinical synths echo through album opener ‘I Apologise If You Feel Something’. It’s a sound very much reminiscent of the work on predecessor That’s The Spirit, and it’s where Sykes' first experiments with a vocoder come to fruition. Overall it’s sleek production is intense, before throwing you straight into the shake up that is ‘Mantra’.
A brash, bulletproof return, for the uninitiated ‘Mantra’ is the lead single from Amo, kaleidoscopic, primal percussion leads the call to arms as Sykes asks, “do you wanna start a cult with me?” On the opening line before launching into an abundance of heavy guitars and solid drums.
‘Nihilist Blues (feat. Grimes)’
Remember German techno stalwarts Scooter? You know, the ones who did ‘Logical Song’? We reckon they would be a big fan of BMTH’s Grimes collaboration, ‘Nihilist Blues’… In all seriousness though, this track is so far removed from anything else they’ve ever released, if you played this song unannounced to the band’s fans they more than likely wouldn’t be able to guess that it’s the Sheffield quintet. The throbbing synths sometimes threaten to make the track sound like something from the Kevin & Perry Go Large soundtrack on steroids, yet the inclusion of eerie vocals from Grimes makes the 90s Ibiza club vibe still sound progressive.
‘In The Dark’
Uncharacteristically down-tempo and unashamedly pop, ‘In The Dark’ witnesses Sykes crooning, “Jesus Christ you’re so damn cold, don’t you know you’ve lost control,” over guitar lines more stripped back rather than raging and riotous, before continuing, “I’m not looking for salvation, just a little faith in anyone or anything.”
‘Wonderful Life (feat. Dani Filth)’
Completely juxtaposing the previous track, ‘Wonderful Life’ charges up with a prowling guitar, before some angst-ridden verses from Sykes and Cradle of Filth’s very own Dani Filth. Culminating in a heavy riff-laden, sonic tornado, there’s even a bit of brass thrown in for good measure to make sure every sense is stimulated.
Switching it up yet again, Sykes is back at it with the vocoder as, hidden amongst plush, almost effervescent electronics, are some seething lyrical Easter eggs for fans to spot, such as, “I know I said you could drag me through hell,” which references That’s The Spirit track ‘Follow You’.
Potentially one of the most divisive tracks on Amo, ‘Medicine’ teeters between That’s The Spirit edge and full on pop anthem as Sykes barks, “you need a taste of your own medicine” and “I’m sorry for this, it might sting a bit,” atop electronic percussion bouncing around from side to side like a pinball machine.
‘Sugar, Honey, Ice & Tea’
Playing on the saccharine connotations of sugar, honey, ice and tea, it soon becomes clear this imagery is contrasting code for ‘shit’ as Sykes sings, “you’re so full of sugar, honey, ice and tea,” in falsetto. The lyrics are accompanied by some dense guitars which only perpetuates the contrast between the track’s title and overall sound.
‘Why You Gotta Kick Me When I’m Down’
This cut sees Sykes evidencing his best flow, with a rap delivery on the verses before a dubstep chorus infused with a hip hop beat kicks in. The track ends with a rather spectacular electronic breakdown which would have been welcomed with open arms if it had made an appearance earlier on in the song too.
Primarily an instrumental track, a muffled vocal cut on a loop commands your attention to focus on the industrial percussion engulfing ‘Fresh Bruises’. It almost sounds as if it was made for another album entirely, but the intricate electronics anchor it towards the tail end of Amo, and it sits, cohesively, ahead of potentially the record’s biggest sonic twist so far.
‘Mother Tongue’ is another strike at pop for BMTH - with a welcome appearance from Sykes’ falsetto on it’s soaring chorus. The track wouldn’t sound out of place nestled in the current UK Top 10 Charts as the band depict a tale of unrequited love, “just let your heart speak up and I’ll know.” Referencing the album’s title frequently throughout the song, it’s a bold, sonic risk that’s bound to split fans’ opinions.
‘Heavy Metal (feat. Rahzel)’
‘Heavy Metal’ is possibly the closest fans are going to get to old school Bring Me The Horizon. The Rahzel feature gets to grips with the band’s sonic trajectory, and quite frankly fascinating course of progression. “I’m afraid you don’t love me anymore, because some kid on the Gram said he used to be a fan but this shit ain’t heavy metal” Sykes echoes before launching into a Count Your Blessings era scream of “this ain’t heavy metal”. I guess that’s us told then.
‘I Don’t Know What To Say’
Recently in an interview Sykes explained the meaning behind the album’s closing track. Detailing the tragic loss of a friend, the string section and acoustic guitar is yet another curveball sonically, but it feels apt given the context, as he sings softly, “I’ll see you at the gates when it gets dark”.