Post Human: Survival Horror EP by Bring Me The Horizon | The Soundtrack To The Apocalypse
If there’s one band who refuses to be boxed into one style or sound that would surely be Bring Me The Horizon. Since their inception in the early 2000’s, they shifted from earsplitting deathcore on their debut Count Your Blessings, to melodic metalcore starting with 2010’s There Is A Hell… to full-blown pop-rock meets electronica on last year’s Amo, my favourite album of 2019. The change in sound has certainly divided their fanbase, but the quintet is more than confident with their choice to constantly subvert expectations, and the results have been quite stellar. On their newest EP Post Human: Survival Horror, they continue their upward trajectory by returning to their metalcore roots with a tinge of nu-metal to create their most relatable, catchiest, and aggressive music in years.
The first part in the series of EP’s that will become a part of their Post Human project (in lieu of a traditional studio album) Survival Horror sets the tone with the band’s heaviest material in years, both instrumentally and lyrically. Enlisting the help of BABYMETAL and Amy Lee of Evanescence fame among others, the EP creates a sound that new and longtime fans of BMTH have been waiting years for. Considering this is the first part in their series of EP’s to follow, they’ve certainly set the tone with this head-banging, apocalyptic record.
From a production standpoint, the instrumentals aren’t as varied and weird as 2019’s Amo, which bounced between hip-hop, trance, and heavy metal. Survival Horror is pure metalcore from start to finish. Thanks to the help of composer Mick Gordon, notable for providing the hellish soundscape in the recent DOOM Eternal video game. The result makes for some of the band’s heaviest songs since Sempiternal. I had a huge grin on my face throughout the entire project, hearing them return to their guttural breakdowns with a mix of their EDM, pop-rock inspired sound of recent years was a pure delight to my ears. At times they channel a more melodic, nu-metal sound that I will say with the utmost sincerity, sounds exactly like Linkin Parks’s works from Hybrid Theory or Meteora. Songs such as “Teardrops” and “1x1” would surely make the late Chester Bennington proud knowing how strong his band has influenced Bring Me The Horizon and other groups just like them.
Survival Horror kicks off with “Dear Diary”, the opening track features pounding drums over a manic guitar riff with equally manic vocals. Oli screams like a madman losing their mind with lines like (“The sky is falling, it’s fucking boring. I’m going braindead, isolated.”). On the Yungblud assisted “Obey”, they represent the politicians and leaders who have been suppressing and controlling people during these challenging times. Perhaps an allusion to how they‘ve desensitized us with the barrage of case/death numbers rising, and the much-warranted protests for equality. A message that we should obey and treat this as normal even though it’s far from it.
Oli and BABYMETAL yearn for people to wake up from accepting this new normal on “Kingslayer”, where cyberpunk meets metal meets J-Pop. Oli howls at the listener with the pre-chorus: (“Get the fuck up! Wake the fuck up! Wipe the system and back the fuck up! You’re a puppet when they cut the strings off”.). The discontent with isolation and social distancing carries on with “Ludens”, where the band questions how can they connect with friends and loved ones, begging for a new way to reach out. Even though this track was released last year, its lyrics ring true on the pre-chorus : (“How do I form a connection when you can’t even shake hands? You’re like a phantom greeting me.”).
Fear, loneliness, and depression begin to settle in with tracks such as “Parasite Eve”, where Oli anticipates, damn near prays, for the impending doom of our world with this post-apocalyptic message. The aforementioned “Teardrops” details how overwhelmed and numb we’ve become by our current times and the effect it has on our mental health. (“How’d we get this stressed out? Paranoid? Everything’s going dark. Nothing makes me sadder than my head.”). “1x1” continues the trauma this year has had on our mentality as Oli illustrates his own battle with his mind on the chorus: (“Put me out of my misery, my mind feels like an archenemy, can’t look me in the eyes”.). It’s a line that not only perfectly describes how we’ve all been feeling, but feels like a deeper insight into how our humanity keeps on creating the evils we continue to endure.
The EP ends with “One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death”. A searing ballad featuring Amy Lee of Evanescence acting as the voice of mother nature, With Oli acting as the voice for humankind. The track is an eerie conversation between the two as Lee harshly judges the damage that humanity (or Oli) has self-inflicted on themselves with the duet singing the chorus: (“Tell me, how is it gonna feel without my arms wrapped around, wrapped around you?
Bet it feels pretty real when your skin starts to peel from the bone
You were dead to the world, now I’m dead to you.”). It’s a searing track that upon listening, will make you realize the deeper, internal conflict that’s been brewing throughout this year.
As with most records I’ve reviewed in recent months, there’s no debating that the COVID pandemic has had an influence on the songwriting in a number of artists, naturally, BMTH has also been inspired by our current dilemma. Yet, on Survival Horror, they’ve truly captured this sense of isolation, loneliness, paranoia, and anger better than any other album released this year. Vocalist Oli Sykes along with the rest of the band take these elements and convey them in the most literal sense to envision what I honestly think is the defining record of 2020. Genuinely no other album this year has illustrated our deep-seated feelings about our current times than Survival Horror. The EP dives deep into the negative. apocalyptic visions of our society that we’re afraid to accept. From the fear of a global pandemic, the persistence to obey the commands of our leaders. To the rejection of our current situation and to then be blamed by greater beings as the reason behind our own annihilation, make for an extremely dystopian and apocalyptic listening session.
Bring Me The Horizon returned to their older roots to create one of their most enjoyable projects in recent memory. As the first part of their Post Human project, Survival Horror sets the tone for the rest of EP’s to follow, making for some eager anticipation as to how the next chapter of this saga will follow through. If this first entry is any indication, let’s expect some of the band’s best songs in the past decade.
Essential tracks: Dear Diary, Parasite Eve, Teardrops, Obey, Kingslayer, 1x1, Ludens, One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest as You March Towards Your Death,