Written By Simon Chisholm
Taken from the bands third album, ‘There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven Lets Keep It A Secret’ (2010), the video popped up on my Facebook newsfeed a number of times. Bring Me The Horizon is a band that is highly regarded in my social circuit, and thus I have tried them out before, but something about hardcore and silly breakdowns just failed to appeal to me. ‘Blessed With A Curse’ offered a welcome surprise.
The first thing that struck me was the simple, soft guitar part in the intro. The reverb gives it a relaxed, dreamy, space-age quality. The particular chords chosen provide a sense of harmonic movement not so often noticed in the greater hardcore genre. The harmonic progression gives a sense of swaying in a concave arc, like that of a pendulum, ending the sequence at a higher level and a sense of vertigo.
The next thing that drew me in was the vocals. I immediately start to think that this is not the indecipherable roar that I was expecting. Instead I hear the voice of a character struggling to be heard over a maelstrom of suffering. It isn’t a harsh scream, it’s not angry, and it’s not ‘brootal’. I hear a character desperate to communicate whilst fighting his last breath. I hear a sense of passion, like there is something inherently important and beautiful to be heard through all the noise. This style of vocal is made possible through the recording and mixing process. The vocals weren’t recorded screamed into distortion, just captured in the cleanest form possible, then layered within the mix so as to almost be lost beneath the other instrumentation.
The chorus is much bogger, introducing distorted guitars, drums and heavy bass. The harmonic progression stays the same, while the guitars adopt an upwards arpeggio pattern. Gang vocals top it off, creating a very thick and assaulting texture. It’s a satisfying sound. The dropout of the instrumentation allows a moment for the sounds and words to sink in.
The piano playing around the guitar part in the second verse nicely adds another element, another layer to the texture. The piano sounds the same as the guitar in that it is dreamy with heavy use of reverb.
The second chorus blends into a bridge section that eventually leads to a guitar solo. The think texture of the first chorus is added to with more gang vocals and another layer of guitar. There is also more frantic screaming. The lead guitar, plays a counter melody that moves into a laid back guitar solo, resolving with a quick passage when the instrumentation drops out.
The outro of the song is the bridge vocals repeated, and the dreamy guitars supplying a counter melody, while the drums roll out some solid tom fills.
There is a funny sense of clarity upon the conclusion of the song. Whether the guitar tones, the A+ arrangement, or the feeling that somehow Ollie Sykes’ screaming let a world of stress and anxiety off of your chest causes it. There is no way out of going in for a second listening.
Take time and watch the video, there is something elegant about it. Even through the fractured frames and seemingly plagued characters, there is a beautiful quality to it. Maybe it’s all the white…
Bring Me The Horizon are:
Oliver Sykes – Lead Vocals
Matt Kean – Bass
Lee Malia – Guitar
Matt Nichols – Drums
Jona Weinhofen – Guitar, keyboards, programming, vocals
Released 2010 by Visible Noise (UK), Epitaph (US) and Shock (AUS). Produced by Fredrik Nordstrom.