Bring Me The Horizon – “heavy metal” – Song Discussion

Bring Me The Horizon is a band that has changed so drastically in the fifteen years they’ve been together it’s almost hard to believe they’re the same group of people. Initially starting out in the metalcore/deathcore genre, they’ve expanded into alternative rock territory and have even incorporated aspects of electronica and pop into their sound. Their most recent release, amo, is especially new for the group, being inspired by a sort of experimental pop feel. It’s undeniably different and has fans torn about the band “selling out” and “going mainstream”. Although it is more on the popular music side of things, they’ve managed to blend elements of their older material while also trying out new things. Personally, I enjoyed this record; the band is obviously trying to evolve and there are some undeniably great tracks on here. “in the dark”, “why you gotta kick me when I’m down?”, and “MANTRA”, are all standout tracks on their own and while they are all different in their own way, it certainly makes for a really cool combination of songs. But the one track I keep going back to the most is ironic and very blunt. It’s called “heavy metal”.

Upon reading the track list and seeing a song titled “heavy metal” I expected this one to be one of two things: either a parody song about the metal genre or an actually heavy song reminiscent of their older material. It’s placed as the second to last song on the record and after getting this far in, I should have just cast my expectations aside. However, this surprised me in the best way because it’s actually neither of the things I initially had in mind. The song opens up with crunchy guitars and an ambulance siren noise. You read that right: an ambulance noise. Layered with the guitars it actually creates a really cool introduction that made me even more curious to hear where this song was going. The first verse comes in soon after, describing a kind of dismal scene where lead singer Oliver Sykes sings “I woke up in a warehouse / But the label it fell off” and “It was then I heard the cannibals”. If you’ve been following this band for a little while now, there’s no doubting they’re referring to fans who are quick to classify the band based on their heavy sounding past and the criticism they’ve received from people who say they’ve gone “soft”. Referring to them as “cannibals” may even seem a bit harsh, but honestly, the fans can be pretty brutal. The next line demonstrates that brutality by saying “You wanna live forever, but it’s now or never / You know what we want, you should give it to us /But it’s now or never, but there’s no pressure”. These lines are clearly meant to be taken in a kind of sarcastic tone, considering how we’ve got the conflict of urgency with the “now or never” and the reassuring saying of “there’s no pressure”. These metaphors and lines create some really interesting imagery and even before the first full minute of the song, I’m instantly waiting for more.

Things soon become a little more fascinating because even after labeling the fans as antagonists, the chorus introduces us to a sense of vulnerability by the band, with them saying “and I keep picking petals / I wanna know if you love me anymore”. Change is difficult and at times can be scary, which the band is clearly aware of. They’re obviously going back and forth between feeling accepted and resented and as hard as it for certain fans to understand their change of direction, it’s just as hard for the band who keeps wondering how people are going to react. It’s really interesting to hear that throughout all the anger they may be experiencing, that they obviously don’t want their older fan base to completely oust them. There’s a lot of questioning going on here and it seems like the band is wondering if this was the right choice and if they’re doing the right thing. But all of those doubts are summed up with a three word line right after the chorus, which demonstrates their confidence in what they’re doing: “And that’s alright”.

Lyrically, there’s a lot to read through here and I’m not even going to get into the second chorus because it’s pretty self explanatory if you understand the general theme of the song. Let’s get back into the actual music aspect of the track because that’s just as intriguing. As I’ve previously described, there’s an ambulance sounding noise that plays throughout with crunchy guitars which are also layered with some vocal blips and small background noises. But the most compelling and unexpected aspect to this song is the beat boxing by Rahzel which is present the entire four minutes, not just during one piece of the song. It fits perfectly, not taking too much attention away from the initial message of the song or clashing with the guitar or synth noises. It’s also a completely new idea for the band, as they’ve never incorporated something like this is any of their other songs. And even though these things on their own aren’t extravagant or interesting in any way, I really like how they’re all put together to create a really interesting sound.

All of these things build up to the ending of the track, which track features scream-y vocals from lead singer Sykes repeating “no this ain’t heavy metal”. With fans complaining that the band no longer fits in the metal genre, this is a perfectly ironic way to close out this masterpiece of a song. The message is crystal clear and could not have been better crafted. It’s so unexpected in terms of musicality and the self aware lyrics that I’m sure it came as a shock to most people. It’s this kind of reaction to criticism that’s very respectable considering most artists or celebrities in general would rather hide away when negative comments arise. But Bring Me The Horizon took all of that and made a killer song out of it, while exuberating confidence and also acknowledging their own struggles. The fact that they’re not even afraid of directly calling out fans shows how genuinely they care about the band and what they’re doing. They’ve come a long way and they’ve proven that nothing is going to make them stop.



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