Bring Me the Horizon
Bring Me the Horizon, often known by the acronym BMTH, are a British rock band from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Formed in 2004, the group currently consists of vocalist Oliver Sykes, guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls and keyboardist Jordan Fish. They are signed to RCA Records globally and Columbia Records exclusively in the United States. The style of their early work, including their debut album Count Your Blessings, has primarily been described as deathcore, but they started to adopt a more eclectic style of metalcore on subsequent albums. Furthermore, their latest album That's the Spirit marked a shift in their sound to less aggressive rock music styles.
|Bring Me the Horizon|
Bring Me the Horizon performing in 2016. From left to right: Lee Malia, Jordan Fish, Oliver Sykes, Matt Kean (behind), Matt Nicholls, John Jones.
|Origin||Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England|
|Past members||Curtis Ward
Bring Me the Horizon released their debut album Count Your Blessings in 2006. Upon release, the album was met with great polarisation amongst the public and critical disdain. The band began to break away from their controversial sound with Suicide Season (2008), which proved to be a creative, critical and commercial turning point for the band. Bring Me the Horizon then released their third album There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret. In 2010, propelling them to greater international fame, whilst incorporating influences from classical, electronica and pop. Their major label debut, Sempiternal (2013) achieved Gold certification in Australia (35,000) and Silver in the United Kingdom (60,000). That's the Spirit (2015) debuted at number two in the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. Aside from these five albums, they have also released two extended plays and two live albums. They have received four Kerrang! Awards, including two for Best British Band and one for Best Live Band.
Formation, signing and first EP (2002–2006)
Bring Me the Horizon's founding members came from multiple musical backgrounds within metal and rock. Matt Nicholls and Oliver Sykes had a common interest in American metalcore such as Norma Jean and Skycamefalling, and used to attend local hardcore punk shows. They later met Lee Malia, who spoke with them about thrash metal and melodic death metal bands like Metallica and At the Gates; Malia had also been part of a Metallica tribute band prior to meeting the pair. Bring Me the Horizon officially formed in March 2004, when the members were aged 15 to 17. Sykes, Malia and Nicholls on drums were joined by Curtis Ward, who also lived in the Rotherham area. The line-up was completed by bassist Matt Kean, who was in other local bands. Their name was from the final line of the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, in which Captain Jack Sparrow says "Now, bring me that horizon."
In the months following their formation, Bring Me the Horizon created a demo album titled Bedroom Sessions. They followed this by releasing their first EP, This Is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made For in October 2004. It was recorded in Nottingham over the course of two weekends, with drums and bass guitar laid down over the first weekend, and guitars and vocals completed a week later.
After the release of their EP, the band were noticed by local UK label Thirty Days of Night Records, who signed them for a four-album deal, in addition to re-releasing the EP in January 2005. Bring Me the Horizon were the label's first signing. The re-release gained the band significant attention, eventually peaking at No. 41 on the UK album charts. The band was later awarded Best British Newcomer at the 2006 Kerrang! Awards ceremony.
The band's first tour was in supporting The Red Chord across the United Kingdom. As with other early tours, they were able to get this slot by tricking venue promoters. Kean and Oliver's mother Carol Sykes were the de facto managers of the band at this time, a role they continued to occupy right up until 2008. For The Red Chord support, Kean emailed promoters and pretended they were opening on all of the dates, when in reality they were supposed to only play at their local show. This led them to being booked for the whole tour. In another case, Sykes created an e-mail account in the name of Johnny Truant vocalist Oliver Mitchell, which he used to contact a promoter requesting Bring Me the Horizon on their tour. Their live performances in their early history were fueled by alcohol consumption where the band would get so drunk they would vomit on stage and would damage their own equipment.
Debut album Count Your Blessings (2006–2007)
The band released their debut album Count Your Blessings in October 2006 in the United Kingdom and in August 2007 in the United States. The band rented a house out in the countryside to write songs but became easily distracted. They then recorded the album in inner-city Birmingham, a process which was infamous for their excessive and dangerous drinking. During the period drummer Nicholls summarised it as "we were out every night, just being regular 18-year-olds." The album was panned by critics, and added to the strongly polarised responses the band were already seeing from the public.
They supported Count Your Blessings by going on a lengthy headline tour of the UK in November. They immediately followed this by joining Lostprophets and The Blackout in a UK tour. across late November and December 2006.
In January 2007, Bring Me the Horizon were able to set their sights beyond the UK, when they replaced Bury Your Dead on Killswitch Engage's European headline tour. The slot became available after Bury Your Dead were forced to withdraw by the departure of their vocalist, Mat Bruso, from the band. Bring Me The Horizon's presence on the tour was poorly received by fans of Killswitch Engage, with concert attendees regularly throwing bottles at the band before they even started playing their set.
Suicide Season and Ward's departure (2008–2009)
Bring Me the Horizon recorded their second studio album (Suicide Season) in Sweden with producer Fredrik Nordström. Initially absent from recording sessions unless he needed to be as he wasn't impressed with their first album, Nordström later heard the new sound they were experimenting with during a recording session and became very involved in the record. It was promoted virally in the weeks following up to its release, with the promotional tag line "September is Suicide Season." In promotion of Suicide Season, the band embarked on their first headline tour of the United States, as well as appearing in the 2008 Warped Tour. In May 2008, Bring Me the Horizon was the main supporting band on I Killed the Prom Queen's farewell tour in Australia with The Ghost Inside and The Red Shore.
Suicide Season was released on 18 September 2008 in the United States on Epitaph and 29 September in Europe through Visible Noise. In 2009, Bring Me the Horizon attended the 2009 Kerrang! Tour alongside Black Tide, Dir En Grey, In Case of Fire and Mindless Self Indulgence. They also joined Thursday, Cancer Bats, Four Year Strong and Pierce the Veil on the North American leg of Taste of Chaos 2009 across February to April after the Taste of Chaos and Warped Tour owner Kevin Lyman offered them the slot.[note 1]
During the Taste of Chaos tour in March of that year, guitarist Curtis Ward left the band. Ward's relationship deteriorated with the band as his stage performances were poor and he was abusive to the audience during Taste of Chaos, and he contributed little to the writing of Suicide Season. Other reasons included Ward's worsening tinnitus in his one functioning ear. Ward was born deaf in one ear and admitted playing in the band worsened the ringing in his ear to such a degree that he couldn't sleep at night. Regardless, Ward offered to perform the rest of the tour dates to which the band rejected and instead asked their guitar technician, Dean Rowbotham, to substitute for him over the course of the remaining performances. Lee Malia noted that Ward's departure helped improve everyone else's mood as he was very negative. Within a week of the tour, finishing Sykes started talking to Jona Weinhofen, at the time the guitarist of Bleeding Through and former member of I Killed the Prom Queen, which the band knew him through. He then was asked to join on a permanent basis. Ward has since worked on the TV show Top Gear and has occasionally performed on stage with Bring Me The Horizon, playing "Pray For Plagues", most notably at Wembley Arena in 2015. In 2016, it was announced that Ward had joined the band Counting Days.
In November 2009, Bring Me the Horizon released a remixed version of Suicide Season, titled Suicide Season: Cut Up! Musicians and producers featured on the album include Ben Weinman, Skrillex, L’Amour La Morgue, Utah Saints and Shawn Crahan. Musically, the album incorporates many different genres; including electronica, drum and bass, hip-hop and dubstep. The dubstep style of the record has been acknowledged in tracks from Tek-one and Skrillex while the hip-hop elements are found in Travis McCoy's remix of Chelsea Smile.
There Is a Hell... and The Chill Out Sessions (2010–2011)
The band's third album and first with their new rhythm guitarist Jona Weinhofen, titled There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret., was released on 4 October 2010 and debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, number 13 on the UK Album Chart, and number 1 on the Australian Albums Chart, the UK Rock Chart and the UK Indie Chart. Despite reaching No. 1 in Australia, the album's sales were the lowest for a No. 1 album in the history of the ARIA charts.
Matt Nicholls describes the lyrical themes of There Is a Hell being "repercussions of everything we were singing about on our last CD [Suicide Season]", describing the music and lyrics as being a lot more moodier and darker. Five singles total were released from the album including: "It Never Ends", "Anthem", "Blessed with a Curse", "Visions", and "Alligator Blood", with music videos included for each of the songs. The band embarked on a headline tour in intimate venues across the United Kingdom with support from Cancer Bats and Tek-one. In December 2010, Bring Me the Horizon joined Bullet for My Valentine as the main support band, alongside Atreyu, in a short five date arena tour around the United Kingdom. To cope with high demand, Live Nation released extra standing tickets to all dates.
In April 2011, Bring Me the Horizon embarked on a European tour, starting in the United Kingdom. They toured with Parkway Drive and Architects as main support bands, with The Devil Wears Prada as the opening support for the UK and dubstep group Tek-one opening for the remainder of continental Europe. The tour, however, was not without its hindrances. On 28 April, Matt Nicholls broke his arm whilst playing football with members of Bring Me the Horizon, Parkway Drive and Architects. Instead of cancelling the tour, Architects' drummer Dan Searle filled in as the drummer, but this meant that Bring Me the Horizon's setlist was halved in length. The tour was extended with a North American leg from 13 August to 4 October, retaining Parkway Drive and Architects and adding Deez Nuts to the line up. On 23 August they released the fourth music video and single, "Visions." On 31 October, the next music video for the song "Alligator Blood" was released.
In December 2011, Machine Head completed an arena tour across Europe with Bring Me the Horizon as the main support band as well as DevilDriver and Darkest Hour as supports. Oliver Sykes stated that these would be the last European dates before they start the writing and the recording of their fourth album. 2011 concluded with an announcement by the band on 29 December of a new extended play titled The Chill Out Sessions, a collaborative effort with British DJ Draper. Draper first released a "officially sanctioned" remix of the song "Blessed with a Curse" in May 2011. The EP was originally supposed to be released in time for New Year's Day and to be made available for download and purchase though Bring Me the Horizon's website, but the EP's release was cancelled due to the band's "current management and label situation."
Sempiternal and Weinhofen's departure (2012–2014)
After the intense touring schedule, Bring Me the Horizon finally completed the promotion of their third album at the end of 2011. They returned to the UK for an extended break and eventually starting work on their next album. Much like their previous two albums, they wrote their fourth album in seclusion and isolation in order to stay focused. This time, they retreated to a house in the Lake District. In July, the band started to publish images of themselves recording at a 'Top Secret Studio Location,' and it was revealed that they are working with producer Terry Date for the recording and the production of the album. On July 30, the band announced they had left their label and signed with RCA, through which their fourth album would be released in 2013. Bring Me The Horizon only played three shows in all of 2012: Warped Tour 2012 on 10 November at the Alexandra Palace in London, which they headlined and was initially believed to be their only show the BBC Radio 1's Radio 1 Rocks show on 22 October, where they played a six song set supporting Bullet for My Valentine and at a warm up show for Warped Tour in Sheffield the day before on 9 November. In late October it was announced that the fourth album will be called Sempiternal and it would be released tentatively in early 2013. On 22 November the band released the Draper collaborative album The Chill Out Sessions for free.
On 4 January 2013, Bring Me the Horizon released the first single from Sempiternal, "Shadow Moses". The song was first played by radio presenter Daniel P. Carter on Radio 1. Due to popular demand, Epitaph was forced to release the music video for the song a week earlier. In January, the band also saw a change in their line up. This started early in the month when Jordan Fish, Worship keyboardist and session musician to the band during the writing of Sempiternal, was announced as a full member. Then later on in the month, Jona Weinhofen left the band. Despite denied speculation that Fish replaced Weinhofen reviewers have said that replacing a guitarist with a keyboardist fit their style more.
The band was confirmed for several festival appearances in February with the Australian Soundwave festival, performing at all five dates in: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, then at RAMFest in South Africa with Rise Against in March, Rock Am Ring and Rock im Park festivals in Germany in June and from June till August they are playing Warped Tour 2013 in the U.S. and Canada. To coincide with the 29 April release of Sempiternal the band have planned their first headline tour of the United Kingdom in 18 months with Crossfaith and Empress AD.
In support of Sempiternal, the band toured Australia with Of Mice & Men and Crossfaith, a British tour with Pierce The Veil and Sights & Sounds. They then completed a North American "American Dream Tour". The American Dream Tour had featured support from Of Mice & Men, Issues, letlive. and Northlane. The band was announced as the main supporter for American band A Day to Remember on their Parks & Devastation Tour across America throughout September and October, along with support acts Motionless in White and Chiodos. The band performed at Wembley Arena in London on 5 December with support acts Young Guns, Issues and Sleepwave, which was recorded and released as a live album/DVD.
That's the Spirit and Royal Albert Hall show (2015–present)
In late June, the band began to promote pictures of an umbrella symbol being used as tattoo, stickers, and posters all across England, which were later used for a promotional cover for the band's first single. Later on the band released a short video in early July, the worlds "that's the spirit" could be heard in reverse. On 13 July 2015, the promotional single "Happy Song" was released on the band's VEVO page. On 21 July 2015, Sykes revealed the album name as "That's the Spirit". The band then released the single and music video for "Throne" on 23 July 2015. Another promotional track from the album, titled "True Friends", was released on 24 August 2015. The album was released on 11 September 2015 to critical acclaim. The album has seen several music videos including "Drown", "Throne", "True Friends", "Follow You", "Avalanche", and "Oh No" respectively.
The band embarked on a US tour in October 2015 with support from metalcore band Issues and Rock band PVRIS. The band would also embark on a European tour in November 2015, The band embarked on a second US tour in April and May 2016 and will embark on an Australian tour in September 2016 and a second European tour in November 2016.
On 22 April 2016. The band performed a live concert with an orchestra conducted by Simon Dobson at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The concert marks the band's first with a live orchestra, the concert was recorded and the live album, "Live at the Royal Albert Hall" is expected for release on 2 December 2016 on CD, DVD, and vinyl, with all proceeds going to Teenage Cancer Trust. Following the show, Fish hinted the possibility of doing a full tour with an orchestra, stating that "It seems almost a bit of a shame to go to all this effort for months and months for just one night"
Style and influences
Among Bring Me the Horizon's earliest influences were American metalcore bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Skycamefalling and Poison the Well; and genres death metal, grindcore, and emo have been cited by Allmusic writer Steward Mason. However, as their sound developed the band started to take influences from progressive rock, post-rock, dubstep and electronica. Bring Me the Horizon's musical style has mainly been described as metalcore and – though they have since moved on from the genre – their early material was considered deathcore. Across their career they have also been said to play within the genres post-hardcore, technical metal and emo.
Bring Me the Horizon have attempted to grow and change with each album, as they believe each album should be different. Raziq Rauf, when writing for Drowned In Sound, Described Count Your Blessings as possessing "Norma Jean-style thunderous riffs mixed with some dastardly sludgy doom moments and more breakdowns than your dad's old Nissan Sunny." Suicide Season was described by Metal Hammer as a "creative, critical and commercial success" for the band as they started to adopt a more eclectic style, with its "crushingly heavy party deathcore". Leading up to its release Sykes described it as "100% different to Count Your Blessings" and that the album sounds "more rock than metal". As time went by, Bring Me the Horizon became rejecting of their debut album Count Your Blessings and considered Suicide Season as their "Year Zero[...] [their] wipe-the-slate-clean time".
Bring Me the Horizon then moved even further away from deathcore in their third album There Is a Hell, with the incorporation of electronica, classical music and pop into their metalcore style. This required more ambitious production feats, such as using a full choir, a synthesised orchestra and glitched out vocals and breakdowns (that were also toned down, favouring quiet atmospheric passages in song breaks). For the writing of Sempiternal, the band pooled far broader influences such as post-rock acts like This Will Destroy You and Explosions In The Sky and from pop music.
While at the Download Festival 2014, Sykes revealed to Linkin Park that he attended some of their early shows, after watching them perform, he was inspired to write music and formed a band.
Bring Me the Horizon has been experimenting with its music in the latestue years, mixing pop with metal music. This led the band to be labeled as a "pop metal" act. With the release of That's the Spirit, their sound shifted towards alternative metal and alternative rock, also incorporating other genres as pop rock, completely abandoning the metalcore sound of their previous albums.
Vocals and lyrics
Oliver Sykes' lyrics has a strong feeling of catharsis for him, he mainly draws from personal experience and has likened the band's live performances to being therapeutic. In 2006, when asked about the lyrics of Count Your Blessings, as they had been criticised for their content solely fixated on heartbreak to other themes that were called "shallow and meaningless", he responded "My life's never been that bad so I’ve not got that much to talk about".
Songwriting and recording process
In all the band's album notes, all of Bring Me The Horizon's lyrics are said to be written by lead vocalist Oliver Sykes while all five members—as a band—were credited with writing the music. With the exception of Count Your Blessings, the band has always written in a secluded area to avoid being distracted. The members of the band have stated how the debut album was written in inner-city areas of Birmingham while being pressured to write and record songs in the deadlines given. This led to the band being unimpressed with the final product. However, for the writing process of Suicide Season, the band realised that they much preferred picking areas with less human contact in order to focus on the music, they wrote their second album in the Swedish countryside. During the writing of Suicide Season, former and founding rhythm guitarist Curtis Ward wrote only two riffs of his rhythm parts of the album, mostly relying on Lee Malia to write all of the guitar sections of the album.
Lee Malia has stated that the typical writing process involves Oliver Sykes writing the main structure of the songs, followed by Malia writing the main riff. From this they would collaborate with each other to structure their work better and then to later include the rest of the band in writing the rest of the song. The writing dynamic of Sempiternal, typically featured Sykes, Malia and newly introduced member Jordan Fish, Malia felt that with Fish's influence on the record he was pushed to create more inspired guitar riffs. As they all took a break before writing their fourth album they felt less of a need for an isolated writing environment.
Image and legacy
During the band's early years, they were praised for their business mindset for selling mail-order merchandise rather than relying on sales at live shows. Bring Me the Horizon's image has been characterised by the dominating personality of singer and front-man Oliver Sykes, and he has often been seen as the band's "Poster boy"., bearing a majority of the brunt of the band's controversial image. In their early years Bring Me the Horizon's image was infamously characterised by the members fashion sense and use of skinny-fit jeans, T-shirts with death metal band logos on the front and colored hair/straightened hair. The band's image was direct onto what is known as scene fashion. The effect of their fashion aesthetics showed people, in show promoter Iain Scott's perspective, that "you don't have to look like a diabolical metalhead to be into metal or play in a metal band." However their fashion conscious appearance had gained them a "style over substance" label.
Many controversies that occurred in their early growth greatly affected public perceptions of the band, particularly that on an incident in 2007 at Nottingham's Rock City venue, in which a female fan claimed that Oliver Sykes had urinated on her. However, all the charges were dropped for Sykes due to a lack of evidence as shown from CCTV footage in the area. There were several documented examples of violence against the band during their live shows, including Sykes being pepper sprayed on stage; and people getting on stage to assault the band.
Their third album (2010's There Is a Hell...) was seen as a significant turning point in the altering public perception of the band.
Despite the controversy of their image, the band has been credited by various journalists as being one of the most forward thinking heavy bands in the UK. In 2012, just four years after the release of Suicide Season, the album was inducted into Rocksound's Hall Of Fame. Crediting it as a significant influence on the works of Asking Alexandria, The Ghost Inside and While She Sleeps and even credited it as an influence on metalcore contemporaries Architects and The Devil Wears Prada. With clear influence noted on Architects' Hollow Crown in their incorporation of keyboards and programming, and The Devil Wears Prada's Dead Throne for its more experimental and opinion-dividing sound.
The band caused further controversy in February 2016 when Oliver Sykes trashed Coldplay's table at the 2016 NME Awards during a live performance of Bring Me The Horizon's track 'Happy Song'. Although some people thought the table trashing was because of a prior feud between the two bands relating to similar album artwork, Sykes later stated that the act wasn't an act of 'dirty protest', and suggested that it was 'pure coincidence' that Coldplay were sitting at the table he trampled. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin allegedly laughed off the incident, stating that "it was great, very rock and roll".
- Studio albums
- Count Your Blessings (2006)
- Suicide Season (2008)
- There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret. (2010)
- Sempiternal (2013)
- That's the Spirit (2015)
Accolades and readers poll results
- Kerrang! Awards
|2006||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Newcomer||Won|
|2008||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Band||Nominated|
|2009||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Band||Nominated|
|2011||Blessed with a Curse||Best Single||Nominated|
|2011||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Band||Nominated|
|2011||There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret.||Best Album||Won|
|2012||Alligator Blood||Best Video||Won|
|2013||Shadow Moses||Best Single||Nominated|
|2013||Shadow Moses||Best Video||Nominated|
|2013||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Band||Won|
|2014||Bring Me the Horizon||Best Live Band||Won|
|2014||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Band||Nominated|
|2015||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Band||Won|
|2016||Bring Me the Horizon||Best British Band||NominatedRef|
- AIM Independent Music Awards
|2011||Bring Me the Horizon||Best Live Act||Nominated|
|2011||Bring Me the Horizon||Hardest Working Band or Artist||Nominated|
|2011||Bring Me the Horizon||Independent Breakthrough of Year||Nominated|
- Alternative Press
|2014||Bring Me the Horizon||Best International Band||Won|
|2015||Drown||Best Music Video||Won|
- Readers Polls
- In a 2009 Rock Sound readers' poll, Bring Me the Horizon achieved both "Best British Band" and "Worst British Band".
- In 2011 The Guardian ran a poll for "Who should win the Mercury prize?" and used 50 albums, Bring Me The Horizon's third album "There Is a Hell" won with 37%.
- In a 2013 Sirius XM published poll, Bring Me The Horizon won "Best Song Discovery" for "Go To Hell For Heaven's Sake" with the Octane radio station.
- In a 2013 Alternative Press readers poll, Bring Me the Horizon was nominated for four categories: "Best Vocalist" (Oliver Sykes; position 3), "Best Keyboardist" (Jordan Fish; position 1), "Single Of The Year" (Shadow Moses; position 2) and "Best Album Art" (Sempiternal; position 2).
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Fronted by a tattooed clothing designer and influenced by death metal, grindcore, and emo, Bring Me the Horizon aren't the average deathcore band.
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100% different" from "Count Your Blessings" [...] "More rock than metal. It's heavy though, and sounds a lot more fatter and beefier. We've also done some mellower tracks too.
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