Review by: LOM spokes-model, Gwen Anastasia
Can You Feel My Heart
The House of Wolves
Empire (Let Them Sing)
Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake
And the Snakes Start to Sing
Seen It All Before
Hospital for Souls
Go download: Sleepwalking, Crooked Young
Sempiternal is the fourth full length studio album from the boys across the pond in Bring Me The Horizon, due out originally on April 30 in the states, but now available April 2 due to extreme high demand. Sempiternal is the logical and musical continuation of the patented BMTH sound. These boys have definitely matured since the grungy, raw shrieks and assaults you heard on Count Your Blessings (2007). But don’t worry, the ‘Pray for Plagues’ sound that die-hard fans associate with BMTH can still be heard on the new record.
Sempitern is Latin for everlasting, and eternal, which ties into the ongoing themes that surfaced in the band’s 2010 release, There is a Hell. We heard Oli Sykes delve into life’s quintessential questions on that record, exploring themes surrounding the presence or absence of God, whether or not heaven and hell exist, how to deal with personal demons and those who have wronged you. These themes are extended into Sempiternal, as Sykes continues to wonder what his purpose is, if anyone can love him, if love is attainable, and what happens after you die.
Sempiternal’s overall sound is much more intelligent; the next step toward maturing the band’s sound after There is a Hell. Perhaps the most notable difference between There is a Hell and Sempiternal is the addition of keyboardist Jordan Fish. Fish’s introduction to listeners is immediate and quite apparent in the opening track, ‘Can You Feel My Heart.’ The track might have been truer to the band’s original sound if the keys were a bit more subtle, however. ‘Empire,’ ‘House of Wolves,’ ‘Crooked Young,’ and ‘Antivist,’ are probably the four songs on the record that longtime fans of the band will enjoy the most, as they adhere to the assaulting, raw, spastic sound the band is known for. ‘Antivist’ was released as a single, and certain lines in the song definitely evoke memories of ‘Sleep with One Eye Open,’ off BMTH’s 2009 release, Suicide Season. You can almost taste Oli’s distain for his foe in the song, and wonder if it could possibly be directed toward the same individual.
‘Sleepwalking’ and ‘Shadow Moses’ were also released as singles with accompanying music videos, available on Epitaph’s channel on YouTube. ‘Shadow Moses’ bears the record’s title, and seems to suggest that society is on a steady downward spiral which we will never see the end of. In an interview, Oli said ‘Shadow Moses’ was the easiest transition between There is a Hell and Sempiternal, which made it the logical first single for the new record. ‘Sleepwalking’ feels a lot like it could have been a lost track off of Underoath’s 2010 release, Disambiguation, which makes it my favorite track on the record.
Fans might need some time to adjust to the ‘new’ BMTH. We get to experience Oli’s clean vocals for the first time, Lee Malia handling all the guitar parts after the departure of Jona Weinhofen (ex-I Killed the Prom Queen), and various synth and keyboard effects that carry over from ‘It Never Ends’ that seem to be a permanent addition to the band’s overall sound. The mates in BMTH have been experimenting with tempo changes way more than we heard in Suicide Season, but we knew they could do it after listening to ‘Blessed With A Curse,’ off There is a Hell. Sempiternal just took it about 5 steps further. You’ll hear blazing fast tracks like ‘Antivist,’ paired with ‘Hospital for Souls,’ the album’s closer, and ‘Seen It All Before,’ which offer relaxed tempos and place added emphasis on Oli’s clean vocals. Oli is also the only vocalist you’ll hear on the new record, compared to the abundant guest vocals we heard on There is a Hell.
Don’t forget to purchase Sempiternal on April 2 via Epitaph Records. Bring Me The Horizon is currently on tour throughout Europe until they join the Warped Tour in the states all summer long. Find them at Facebook.com/bmthoffical and twitter @bmthoffical