Album review: Bring Me The Horizon – POST HUMAN: NeX GEn

Surprise! Bring Me The Horizon go beyond on post-hardcore-tinged but still rule-busting second part of their POST HUMAN series with NeX GEn…

Album review: Bring Me The Horizon – POST HUMAN: NeX GEn
Nick Ruskell

Life, as John Lennon sang, is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. A year ago, as they topped the bill at Download for the first time, Bring Me The Horizon were also, finally, making some sort of noise about the second chapter of their POST HUMAN series. It had been long enough: part one, the excellent Survival Horror, had dropped almost out of nowhere almost three years previously, on Halloween weekend 2020.

Put it down to the success of the first bit that the intended four-part run of releases couldn’t come out quite as swiftly as had been expected. Put it down to these things being harder than they look, or lockdown lifting earlier than expected and suddenly the time to work on such projects being at a premium again. Oli Sykes tells Kerrang! that, “The whole thing became a lot bigger than we originally imagined, the whole concept. So, we had to rethink a lot of what we were doing once we realised the size of the whole thing and what it could be.”

A year on from that, following delays, the departure of Jordan Fish, distractions like an arena tour and winning a BRIT Award, and the internet beginning to put it in the Duke Nukem Forever file of long-promised promises, NeX GEn is finally upon us. It may not have arrived within the now-amusing timeframe of a year since the first one, but talk from the time still rings true. As hinted at for so long, it does have more of a mid-2000s Warped Tour post-hardcore flavour than its predecessor. A record that, by necessity of all working remotely, leant into tried and trusted strengths the band knew they had. “The path of least resistance”, as Oli called it.

Here, things are played a lot less straight. NeX GEn definitely recalls those promised sounds, but you also get what Oli means when he says the idea has become bigger than they first thought. Next to the already-heard anthemic bangers Kool-Aid, DArkSide and AMeN, and the MCR-gone-hyperpop rush of LosT, there’s the ballad of sTraNgeRs, dancey electronics on R.I.P., and grunge-gone-weird on n/A (the ‘Hello Oli you fucking knobhead’ sing-along from the tour, captured here, as promised). Shades of Smashing Pumpkins’ breezy alt.rock pop up on YOUtopia, while liMOusIne throws in a bottom-end Deftones riff, and closer DIg It experiments with discordant, ear-itching glitches. Post-hardcore heroes show up in the shapes of Glassjaw man Daryl Palumbo, on DArkSide, and Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie on a bulleT w- my namE On.

After the immediacy of the first instalment, it’s a lot to take in at first spin. But when what Bring Me The Horizon are trying to do here falls into focus, it becomes a lot easier to digest and more fun to get lost in.

Lyrically, Oli is doing a lot of soul searching. Already heard on LosT, he’s asking, ‘Why am I this way? What the hell is fucking wrong with me?’ and it continues elsewhere. On Top 10 staTues tHat CriEd bloOd he notes that, ‘No-one’s gonna come and rescue me’, n/A’s introduction sees him introducing himself as an addict, while on DIg It he states that, ‘I hate my fucking guts right now’. As befitting the record’s theme in the story arc – part one being a call to arms, here going ‘What next?’ – he’s also bold in finding a way forward. As things close, Oli insists: ‘Give me something to believe in.’

And as befitting the title, NEx GeN is also a record that looks for the new, even knowing its intended idea to dine on something slightly nostalgic. In increasingly disposable times, a band of their size willing to experiment to such a degree as they have here, and take such time doing it, is to be saluted, as is continuing with such a project when it could so easily have fallen by the wayside as normal service resumed.

Having created a monster, BMTH have proven themselves equal to matching the creative demands it’s placed on them. What a re-GeN-eration.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Linkin Park, BABYMETAL, From First To Last

POST HUMAN: NEx GeN is out now via Sony

READ THIS: Who are Bring Me The Horizon’s fans?

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