Good, albeit slightly disappointing
Bring Me The Horizon left the Sempiternal tour cycle playing to a sold out Wembley Arena and releasing Drown which offered us a glimpse as to what we’re likely to expect from the band in future. The anticipation for That’s The Spirit has been absolutely phenomenal as the band have gone from frankly being relentlessly mocked and not taken seriously to the leading light in British Heavy Music. So with anticipation at that kind of level, the pressure was obviously there for Bring Me The Horizon to deliver on this album, and to be honest it is only to certain extent that they have. This is undoubtedly a breakaway from what you might expect from Bring Me The Horizon, but they’ve never been a band looking to cater to anyone specifically. They write what they think feels good, and they’re not afraid to take risks.
As an album, the tracks are definitely catering to a more commercial sound which will sit well with the radio stations. On Sempiternal, whilst having massive commercial success, it is difficult to imagine tracks like Antivist or Empire gaining regular radio plays, but on That’s The Spirit the possibilities are endless. Whilst on one hand this will of course see them now reach heights they probably never could have imagined would be possible, there is also a distinct lack of aggression and venom which made Sempiternal so good. You’re left almost skipping through the tracks in the middle part as it becomes bogged down by a hell of a lot of nonsense. If they were able to deliver a track like House Of Wolves as an injection of adrenalin, it would have helped the full play through of this album substantially. With the fact that Oli Sykes has chosen to almost exclusively go with clean vocals on this album as well it has exposed a lot easier just how bad his lyrics are - True Friends and Blasphemy in particular are absolutely ridiculous.
There are some great tracks on here though. The opening three of Doomed, Happy Song and Throne is excellent, but from then on so much of it sounds very forced. Production wise with Jordan Fish leading the way it does sound absolutely excellent. Drown in particular sounds even better than its original release. But by watering down their sound they’ve been smart in the fact that this album will propel them to new heights, but it all just sounds very Linkin Park.
Overall then, Bring Me The Horizon are in the post Sempiternal world, an album which undoubtedly remains their finest hour. That’s The Spirit does carry a lot of great tracks but there is a lot on there also which just sounds like absolute nonsense, almost confused nonsense. They’ve gone down a path which takes them away from being ‘Metal’ sounding and more into the ‘Melodic Rock’ territory - a direction which people will welcome and detest in equal parts.