11 lesser known Bring Me The Horizon songs that everyone needs to hear
Were you to draw a straight line between then and now, the one you would use for the teenaged Bring Me The Horizon who first screamed out of Sheffield in 2004, and the band who now sit as one of Britain’s biggest and most influential, might ask you if you were joining the right things together. The only reason you can believe, looking backward, that they are the same band is because you know it happened. From the other end, nobody could have predicted what would come next.
But what you realise now is that the messy metal din of 2004 was nowhere near their final form. The band realised that, too. And thus, looking back through BMTH’s catalogue, especially some of the less well-tended corners, is to chart a band growing, learning, experimenting and creating. Put together a playlist of their biggest songs, or stick on a Best Of and see. But the songs that haven’t stayed at the top table or on setlists tell the story just as well. Occasionally it’s hard to see why some songs have thrived where others from the same crop have been left in history, and the truth often is that there’s simply not enough space for everything.
And so, it’s time for a stroll through some of the lesser-spotted bits of Horizon’s collected works. There’s a lot of gold here…
Who Wants Flowers When You’re Dead? Nobody (This Is What The Edge Of Your Seat Was Made For EP, 2004)
Back when they put out their This Is What The Edge Of Your Seat Was Made For EP in 2004, Bring Me The Horizon didn’t sound anything like they eventually would. Not even a sniff of it. And, really, nobody could say they saw what would eventually happen coming without growing six inches of wooden nose. Hardly surprising, then, that this one’s been somewhat lost. With a name you can’t help saying in an Alan Partridge voice, and with an apparent mission statement that everything should be as noisy and heavy as possible, it sticks out like a sawn-off thumb now, but the exuberance and energetic scruffiness of this tangle of riffs is nevertheless a banger if what you’re after is a brick wall heading head-first into another brick wall.
For Stevie Wonder's Eyes Only (Count Your Blessings, 2006)
On their Count Your Blessings debut, Bring Me The Horizon drank far more heavily from the cup of At The Gates than they later would, and this sounds like an entirely different band these days. But just listen to those hectic riffs. And, indeed, Oli Sykes’ savage growl. In all this, though, there are the odd flashes of a clearer(ish), more familiar vocal style that would later become his stock in trade. Although, really, you’re not listening for that, just the absolute mayhem going on behind him.
A Lot Like Vegas (Count Your Blessings, 2006)
This one hasn’t been given the light of stage basically since it came out. Which is a shame, because it’s got a brilliantly sprinting riff, and the gang vocals in the chorus would be tremendous fun as a sing-along. Plus, it’s at primo circle-pit tempo throughout. Sadly, the line ‘No one can know about this’ looks to remain entirely fitting, as there’s probably no chance of it getting dusted off for setlists any time soon.
Death Breath (Suicide Season, 2008)
Like many moments on Suicide Season, there’s something weirdly uplifting about the way Death Breath smashes into its chorus, despite the downness of singing, ‘I’m not homesick, I’m just so sick of going home’. Perhaps it’s because, for the first time, the band were actually writing proper choruses, and discovered they were very good at it. Either way, Death Breath is at least equal to the songs around it, and presumably the only reason it’s been somewhat forgotten is that it’s simply lost in the noise.
Suicide Season (Suicide Season, 2008)
A reflection on death and the effects it can have on a person, this closer from Suicide Season displays an emotional resonance and songwriting skill previously unhinted at. Both are now fairly common parts of the BMTH arsenal, of course, but hearing such things for the first time – particularly at the end of a record that for the first time set the band up as proper contenders, in which they exploded with confidence and a degree of party banter – it hit extra hard. Still does.
Crucify Me (There Is A Hell Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven Let's Keep It A Secret, 2010)
Okay, okay, it’s not a deep deep cut, since it starts There Is A Hell… rather than being buried at the back, but it’s certainly one that’s been allowed to slide, isn’t it? The way it tumbles out of your speakers remains almost overpowering, with an element of almost panic to Oli’s opening throw (indeed, such were his problems with his voice recording that he thought his inability to perform could be the end). And just as Suicide Season marked a learning curve from their debut, in one song you have Bring Me chucking in a million new things all over the place here – electronic drums, a vocal spot from Lights, and Skrillex glitching everything up in a time when everyone was still calling him Sonny Moore. Quite why it’s been on the subs’ bench for so long is a mystery.
Blacklist (There Is A Hell Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven Let's Keep It A Secret, 2010)
Two things here. One: a massive, slow, floppy riff that sludges filthily all over the place. Two: a surprise guitar solo from Lee Malia that’s so cool and unfussy it could have come from the fingers of Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme. Not an oft-reached-for colour in BMTH’s palette, but absolute dynamite when they do.
Seen It All Before (Sempiternal, 2013)
An anthem that never had a chance to fulfil its destiny, Seen It All Before is built of strong stuff indeed. In an alternate reality, this could easily be back in heavy rotation. However, its massive chorus and heavy stomp are pure power, and in your mind’s ear, it’s backed by 30,000 voices singing along.
And The Snakes Start To Sing (Sempiternal, 2013)
They don’t do it often, but Bring Me The Horizon do those chilled, glassy moments of calm very well. Here, a crystalline Lee Malia guitar line builds until a giant wave of chorus washes in, more in line with Depeche Mode or Paradise Lost than anything you’d have heard from them a couple of years previously.
Join The Club (The Deathbeds EP, 2013)
The Deathbeds EP, released as a bonus thing in the deluxe version of Sempiternal, is a lost gem in itself. Stuffed in with the band’s best album as an extra during a period of expanding massiveness and Horizon-mania, even at the time it was somewhat overlooked. Join The Club is a punchy, almost punkier song than anything on Sempiternal, without that record’s overt keyboards or deep vibes. Instead, it’s a rager that gets in, does its business and gets out without any bells or whistles. But in this quality lies its strength – even so stripped back and straightforward, it’s an almighty belter.
What You Need (That’s The Spirit, 2015)
Ironically, What You Need is one of the more traditionally ‘rock’ songs among That’s The Spirit’s forays into pop and electronic sounds, with a straight-ahead riff and almost indie tang to the verse. It does stick out somewhat with the rest of the album, but then that only adds to its character. And if nothing else, it shows just how far the band reached in different directions, able to not only do so many different things, but master them as well.
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