Photo Credit: Joshua Gordon
With Bring Me The Horizon’s latest release of their EP titled Post Human: Survival Horror, we cannot help but marvel at the sheer elevated quality in sound thanks to composer Mick Gordon, who is known for producing game soundtracks such as Killer Instinct and many more. Although it was an odd choice to take a step back and settling on releasing an EP despite their track record of publishing chart-busters through their albums, the former deathcore suitors have found it in their artistic bones to consider the “less is more” route, and the nine tracks are a testament to that.
The band has cited Linkin Park as its biggest influence, and it is evident throughout the time frame of almost each track. Much akin to their predecessors, they clearly have carried the torch by blending hard rock with aggressive vocals in combination with some melody along the way. The opener “Dear Diary,” serves as a perfect blend of thrash, metal, punk and hard rock within its two-and-a-half-minute runtime. The song presents itself as kind of a mishmash in a “Slipknot meets Slayer” kind of fashion. The lyrics themselves set the stage of Post Human: Survival Horror, as it effectively addresses trauma, dystopia and even combines the metaphor for the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine; and the paranoia that comes along with it, as they display hypnotic visions implying the end of the world. That may sound like an exaggeration, unless you are a longtime fan of Oli Sykes and the gang.
Bring Me The Horizon was in the early stages of writing Post Human: Survival Horror when the pandemic began to hit, so the recurring themes of fear, isolation, and the momentary defiance caused by the agony of the resulting quarantine is prevalent in these lyrics. “Parasite Eve” presents a slower, melodic chorus, sharing a vibe quite similar to that of Linkin Park. The roaring synth in the guitars followed by the impressive sound design is only enhanced by the industrial nuances, such as the bone-chilling opening chants along with reversed drum sounds that pose to be unnerving. Very few bands can handle audible horror and melody with such precision, and that is credited to guitarist Lee Malia’s perfect synchronization with the roaring vocals of Oli Sykes, as well as the perfectly aligned bass by Matt Kean; while Matt Nicholls is a constant reinvention on the drums and the keyboardist Jordan Fish does the heavy lifting with keyboard programming for more experimentation to happen. Throughout their entire career, the band has elevated and experimented with its musical style, by diving deep into visually stylistic choices that make their videos stand out by producing one of the extremely cinematic sound and overall experience.
“Teardrops” acts as the perfect vengeful homage to the year we are having, with the constant outpour of bad news our way. The track deals with the mental struggle people are having to overcome and the consistent failure in doing so. Reminiscent of Linkin Park, you cannot help but find a little bit of Chester Bennington in Sykes’ melodic screams. The track is emotionally extravagant with the dusty, stuttering synth intro and the heavy guitars providing the grim backdrop. The most interesting part is in the lyrics as it shows our deteriorating emotional state in dealing with the pandemic, proving that the pandemic is as much of an attack on the human mind as it is of the body. The lyrics: “Everything is going dark // Nothing makes me sadder than my head,” cut deep for listeners.
The following track “Obey” featuring YUNGBLUD has to have one of the most addictive choruses and catchy verses, with the manic yelling paying homage to Drowning Pool’s “Bodies”; with the clear nod to themes of self-destruction, subjugation into trauma, followed by YUNGBLUD’s surprisingly melancholic vocals. “Kingslayer” is noisy, aggressive and brutal, but manages to add a sweet contrast simultaneously adding perfectly engineered fighter jet sounds that feel sweet, dark and somewhat haunting. It is a worthwhile collaboration with the Japanese metal band Babymetal that proves to be a pleasant surprise. Here, they jump back and forth between aggression and fierceness of the song’s verses and the undeterred speed metal in the chorus. The next collaboration is further one-upped in “1×1”, as they join hands with English rock duo the Nova Twins. A head-banging team-up in every sense and form, “1×1” serves equal dosage of groove, melody and heavy guitar riffs. The mesmerizing vocals of the Nova Twins fuse well with the thrilling maniacal energy of Sykes, leaving us craving for more.
Saving the best surprise for the last, we see the return of Evanescence’s Amy Lee in the final collaboration. As one of the greatest voices of modern rock, she elevates the closing track that is called “One Day the Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death.” This final ode to the world serves as a theatrical production, and Lee adds so much more as the haunting, motherly voice balancing Oli Sykes’ raging but crippled screams; putting us in awe of this beautiful interplay of vocal dynamic versatility. Overall, Post Human: Survival Horror is a solid EP through and through. A step-up from the full-fledged That’s the Spirit or Amo, Bring Me The Horizon goes on to create uncharted territory. There a few rough patches in the middle with certain underwhelming and generic usage of sounds, but surely these can be forgiven if we consider the various successful experimental choices, collaborations and top-notch stylistic liberties the band makes at the expense of leaving a former legacy behind.