Originally written for my RYM.
Time to re-write my ridiculously fanboyish review. First of all, this has to be one of the most hated metalcore bands of all time, for various reasons some of which are quite valid. First of all, Bring Me The Horizon employ a very metrosexual image which may piss off some "trve" metalheads who are annoyed by this for some reason. Also, BMTH has been enjoying all the media attention they have been getting for the seven years of the band's existence, and employ new age philosophies, like veganism and so on.
So, now let's get to the music. This band has always had a rather large metal influence, which has done them the bad favor of being in the average metalhead's field of vision. This, of course brings more negative attention to the band. They sounded like a heavier and more hardcore version of At the Gates on their debut album Count Your Blessings (which has an unrealistically and hilariously low rating here), which sounded a bit naíve but had plenty of hooks and quality riffs. Also, it's production is excellent.
Then the band drastically changed it's sound. Suicide Season hardly has any death metal elements and relies much more on the simple song structures and hard hitting metalcore. Still music for teenagers, still attracting a ton of hate (this band got both the "worst band" and "best band" awards by Kerrang!, pretty indicative don't you think?).
Then there's THIS album. Sounds nothing like the previous two. First thing to make an impression is the elaborate cover art. A person in a ritual robe and mask, one half being white, female and holding a key and the other being dark, male, injured and holding a ritual dagger, both united by a keyhole. There is a hint to the artwork in the band's "Visions" music video. Second of all, there's a lineup change. Jona from I Killed the Prom Queen on guitars and additional vocals. He's been in the scene for a very long time and is definately partially responcible for the band's drastic change in sound.
When you play the album you notice the stylistic change immediately. The album is far from formulatic. There are much more post-rock and ambient elements (first used on the title track of the band's previous album), samples and electronica. Second of all, the band frequently uses atmospheric keyboards and guest vocals, the beautiful Canadian pop singer Lights being on two songs (sings the mantra on "Crucify Me" and a major part of "Don't Go"), You Me At Six's clean vocals on "Fuck" and The Chariot's vocalist on "The Fox and the Wolf". This adds a huge amount of diversity to the album.
Also, Oliver Sykes has changed his vocal approach a lot. His style is roughly a mixture of Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols) 's snarling, Barney Greenway (Napalm Death) 's roaring and Martin Van Drunen (early Pestilence, Asphyx, Hail of Bullets) 's growls , especially on the deeper parts in songs like "Blacklist" and "The Fox and the Wolf". This gives the band a very distinct sound, since most metalcore bands just rely on the generic scream-clean chorus-scream formula.
Roughly I'd call this a metalcore album. The hardcore attitude is still here with the background shouts and occasional mosh parts but musically this is largely metal. It's much closer to the metal formula with the riff, chorus and solo part (yes there are solos here), with the song structures being dynamic and not always typical, sometimes being quite progressive.
I'm giving this 5 stars for two reasons:
First one is the fact that the band did a major stylistic change for the third time, and is willing to experiment and improve in the stagnant genre of metalcore, which is commendable.
Second one is the sheer quality of the songs. It's been ages since I've heard such a strong collection of songs, all of which are both very memorable and innovative.
Overall this is probably the best metalcore album since Converge's Jane Doe and one of the best metalcore albums of all time. An album far ahead of it's time.