Thrash Hits

February 28th, 2013

Interview: Bring Me The Horizon talk Sempiternal

Bring Me The Horizon 2013 press photo band sempiternal thrash hits

With their fourth album, Sempiternal, released in April, this is one of the most talked about bands around. We spoke to Bring Me The Horizon about all the hard work Oli’s done to make his vocals good enough, what the album is really about, how Jordan Fish joining the band has affected their sound and how they’ve used the criticism they’ve received over the years to their advantage. Could BMTH become the biggest extreme metal band in Britain?

Why did you release ‘Shadow Moses’ first? It’s probably the least exciting song on the album…

Oli Sykes
“We never intended for it to be a single. We played some live shows last year and we wanted to play a new song, obviously one that would be good for the crowd but management said we really should do it with a video and it came out a lot better. We were a bit apprehensive because like you were saying, it’s just a bit… stock. In comparison to the rest of the album, it does feel that way but if you compare it to our last album, it’s still a giant leap.”

You’ve also released ‘Antivist’, which is emphatically negative. What’s the overall message of the album?

Oli Sykes
“The album’s a concept in the way that each song’s a realisation of the process to get to the next song. When you get our album, it’ll be outlined what’s what. It makes a lot of sense. Every song’s got a completely different meaning or message but it is all observant of something that’s happened or something that’s happening.”

‘Antivist’ is a bit of a social commentary. It’s not even about us, it’s just our generation – they’re lazy, sit on their arse and think they’re doing something. Don’t talk about politics; don’t talk about shit you don’t know; say it’s horrible how Texaco have ruined the world and you’re driving around in your tourbus. Everyone being hypocrites, thinking they know what they’re talking about and they don’t know shit.”

“It’s too hard to say what the album’s about and that’s why it’s called Sempiternal, which means ever-lasting journey and that’s why our logo is called The Flower Of Life. That’s sacred geometry and it basically represents everything that goes on in the universe.”

Are there any guest vocals on Sempiternal?

Oli Sykes
“No. The only other people that feature are these two brothers in a post-rock band from Sweden called immanu el and that’s just textures and ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ to add a bit more depth. In terms of guests, there aren’t any and that’s a conscious decision because there’s been about six guest vocalists over our last two albums, which is cool – we like doing that – but we wanted this album to be just us, Bring Me The Horizon. No gimmicks. No nonsense.”

Your vocals do have a much broader range on Sempiternal than ever before. What have you done to improve your voice?

Oli Sykes
“It was an ambition before we started making this album to put melody into the vocals so it weren’t something I could do already and it weren’t really that easy either. When I started doing it, it took a lot of time but Jordan is a bit of a musical boffin and he knows everything about every instrument so he really helped me get it. It was basically just me and him spending hour after hour, day after day in my house. I would write a chorus or a melody but I didn’t actually know how to sing it so we’d map it out on a keyboard and I’d just practise for hours and hours until it started making sense. That was basically the process.”

Has Jordan joining the band on keyboards and electronics altered the band’s sound in that direction?

Jordan Fish
“To be honest, I don’t feel like I brought that in. We’ve got the same musical interests, pretty much – we all listen to very similar stuff – so it’s more facilitating it rather than exerting my own influence.”

Oli Sykes
“Jordan opened up the door to what stuff we’ve always wanted to do but also I think Jordan’s style is very distinctive. He had a band called Worship before this and you can hear that in our band so it’s definitely his influences greatly included on the album but we’ve always wanted to do this kind of stuff, we’ve just never had a person that could do that kind of thing.”

Bring Me The Horizon 2013 sempiternal cover art artwork sony oli sykes

You’ve been tipped to break out into the mainstream since Suicide Season. Is the increase in melodies an attempt to achieve this?

Matt Nicholls
“There’s a lot more melodies and a lot more poppy-ish sounding stuff on it. It’s not in any way a pop record but since we introduced Jordan into the band it’s been one of the things we can think about a lot more. The electronic things – we can do stuff like that a lot better.”

Oli Sykes
“We’ve always liked the idea of being the catchiest, heaviest band that we can be but I think after There Is A Hell… we’d done so much in terms of different instruments and textures. We’d done everything. We’d done choir. We’d done strings. We’d done all these digital things. It just felt like the only way we could push ourselves further was if there started to be more melodies in the vocals rather than trying to add. I had to push myself in terms of not just screaming but putting some depth to what I’m doing, Matt adding more to the drums, making unique beats and obviously Jordan adding to it but I think everyone just pushed a bit harder.”

You’re an incredibly heavy band to have been headlining Brixton Academy. How do you think your success thus far has changed the shape of the British metal scene?

Matt Nicholls
“I think it opened it up to a younger crowd. Extreme metal: it’s not just hairy dudes with big beards.”

Lee Malia
“Some younger bands came through as well. I think the fact that we’ve stuck around as well… We took on a lot of shit when we were younger. We’ve stuck around and I think that we’ve proved ourselves to a lot of people. We’re not just a fad band who are just doing it for the sake of it.”

bring me the horizon 2004 band promo photo thrash hits

Oli Sykes
“I like to think that we’re a very British band in the sense that we’ve worked really hard. It hasn’t been an overnight success – we’ve worked at this for eight years and it’s been a very steady growth. There’s never been a great jump. We’re not just one of those American bands that come over and are the biggest band in the world for a year. Coming from where we were, hated by most people – and probably quite deserved with the music we were writing and the way we were – we’ve worked so hard to convince people. We’ve had to work so hard just to become better musicians because we didn’t know what we were doing in the first place. I think we’re very unique sounding but that’s because we’ve always kept working at it.”

How much has that criticism affected you? You’ve never seemed to throw your toys out of the pram over any of it…

Oli Sykes
“We might pretend like we don’t care but we also consciously listen to it. We’ve worked harder and harder and we might have kicked against it to each other but I think we knew that we had to get better. We have a chance to be a big band so that this could last a lifetime and not just a couple of years so we did listen to people and we did listen to criticism and we grew stronger for it.”

Sempiternal will be released on 01 April 2013 via RCA, but you’ve probably already decided whether to buy it or illegally download it already, so whatever. Bring Me The Horizon will be on tour in the UK in spring before heading out across the USA for Warped Tour. Check out BMTH’s Facebook for more details and the option to click Like on stuff.


  • It’s sad to hear that even Horizon are down on Count Your Blessings and the first E.P. I think they’re both cracking and were formative records for myself and I imagine many others.

    • Raz

      I don’t think they’re down on CYB as much as they’re up on the new stuff.

      • Abraham Connor Harris

        Nah they’ve admitted that CYB was shit.

  • im not surprised they have changed so much since their first cd and ep, but those were the best days of the band in my opinion and in most peoples opinion. yea they got a lil caught up in the moment but what do you expect? its hard to be an artist and if your not listening to your fans, your gunna have no career at all. it might suck that they changed their music so much, especially since “count your blessings” and “this is what the edge of your seat was made for” were the reasons i started learning how to be a vocalist. but i still respect them as artists. after all the changes ive gone through with my voice i can empathize with this band. Im glad oli learned more clean vocals, its gunna make him a better all around vocalist and as a lead vocalist he cant be good, he has to be great. cuz if your a deathcore or nothing musician you wont get far. you have to appreciate everything or your fucked.

    • Chelsea Jett

      i don’t agree with the whole “most people agree bmth’s older music was better” bit. many many people that listen to them now didn’t know about them when this is what the edge… and CYB came out. sure, the screaming was better then, but the lyrics pretty much had no meaning. they just wrote random stuff. but now they don’t, which IMO makes the band much better.

  • im a quite new follower of bmth and i think they have developed alot music wise. but as allways bands allways are the best in the start, saying that i will allways listen to them anyway. oh and the new album is mint and its gonna rock.

  • I think that this album is the business card of the future :)))

  • This is definitely BMTHs most musically achieved and best record. As Oliver said, on the first EPs and LPs they were weak musicians and the constant struggle with the mainstream with this type of music has made them learn a lot of things they never expected to learn, and it made them grow into what they are today. I think that their best days are still way up ahead, especially after this type of masterpiece. I don’ think there is even a point to compare Sempiternal with their old records, it’s like comparing kids and men.

  • This album when it comes out is gonna blow alot of pple away, i still have the last album they did. That album at first didnt catch me, but as time moved on i ended up buying the whole album.
    I dont know much about bands over all, but i can only voice my “two cents” for good music.
    They’ve made some pretty fucking amazing songs and anytime i here them i feel i too can make a band and become some1. Not juss another face.
    BMTH, AWESOME JOB and i look forward to the rest of ya music for 2013.

  • Paul

    My only gripe is this: it’s not heavy. I really love the expansion of the sound, and Oli’s singing voice is great, but I do feel that they’re sacrificing a great deal of the heaviness that made all their past albums, particularly suicide season, so great. I mean, if a record label tells you ‘make it as heavy as possible’, by all means exploit that, surely? Nevertheless, this is a damn good album, and I’m really looking forward to having it for my own!

  • Shaun

    I hate that they are down on their new album, that album got me into the whole deathcore/metalcore scene but I understand why its hated by elitists. but they have found a beautiful direction with There Is A Hell, and they have continued to push that direction with Sempiternal .

  • Dave

    I like Sempiternal but it sounds a lot like Linkin Park. That to me is more a regression than a progression in their sound.

    • nater

      Thats not even reasonable to compare them to linkin Park. Bmth went from music that was loud heavy and fun to thrash to to this, sempiternal, with an absolutely epic sound. Maturing as a band. From more of a high school party rock sound to a more thought out and vocally mature sound. And i dont feel like they lost any heavyness in the music. If anything i feel that there is alot more emotion and thought put into this one and you can hear and feel it all. Excellent job guys truly a cornerstone in your careers. It seems like they have gone from just wanting a good mosh pit to really wanting to reach and connect with the audience on a more internal, core level. To really make them feel something in the music, which is really what its all about.

      I also cant believe ppl are complaining about the sound changing and maturing from album to album. Do u guys really want another Disturbed. They didnt change their sound at all through theircareers and what did u end up with? 4 cds that sound exactly the same. They didnt mature and their stuff got boring half way throught the second album. Nobody wants to hear the exact same sound cd after cd. Thats how you fall off.

  • Morgy

    Sempiternal is there fifth album and sixth if you count suicide season: cut up!

    • Tom

      No it isn’t.

      • aby

        yes it is, if you include there EP (the bedroom sessions) theres that, count your blessings, there is a hell, suicide season, suicide season cut up, and sempiternal, if you count properly theres 6 albums;)

  • Helen

    Brilliant band! Brilliant album!

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