It turns out that Bring Me the Horizon‘s metalcore style is in fact not sempiternal. That’s the Spirit trades in intense breakdowns in favor of melodic synthesizers, as the U.K. based group experiment out of their comfort zone with alternative rock alongside dashes of electronica. Lyrically That’s the Spirit remains consistent with previous works, maintaining the darker nature that earlier albums have delved into. With topics such as depression and betrayal frontman Oliver Sykes travels through the somber parts of his mind: in contrasting “Follow You” takes on the sentimental character seen in “Deathbeds.”
“Doomed” enters in with a breathy vocals overlayed with an echoing playback, before embracing the characteristic scream of Sykes. The keyboard and programming of Jordan Fish command the track, yielding to the strings as the chorus commences. The synthesizer dominates subsequent tracks as well: “Throne” passes by without a lick to be heard over the oppressive work of Fish. The single also loses luster without the addition of the music video’s imagery; without distraction the simplicity of “Throne” becomes self-evident.
An arena rocking “Happy Song” comes equipped with charged chords and aggressive howls battling against a cheerleader chant of “Spirit/ let’s hear it.” Exploring Oli’s battle with depression, “Happy Song” showcases the ironic idiom “that’s the spirit” as a phrase used by others to encourage those struggling with mental illness. “Avalanche” also provides a take on the frontman’s mental health in the lyrics, “Give me a remedy cause my head wasn’t wired for this world.” Whilst “True Friends” stings with a message of disloyalty with the lines “True friends stab you in the front.” The blatant grammatical error of “I would’t hold my breath if I was you” adds to the effect by burning the lines into one’s mind, making sure that they are not forgotten.
A balance between synth and guitar is found in “What You Need” as the persistent bass and wailing electrics are complimented by the soft undertones of the keyboard. “Run” seems to play with various sound reproductions as vocal snippets are reverberated throughout; a similar technique is found in the newly remastered “Drown,” now with a distinguishable amount of additional backing, instrumentally and vocally.
“Blasphemy” implements an interesting drumming pattern that produces a sound comparable to clapping from the drum kit; the guitars meanwhile painting swirling pictures of melancholy. The only track that seems out of place on the album is appropriately titled “Oh No,” a mellow dance song with the accompaniment of brass instruments. Even with Bring Me the Horizon’s new direction “Oh No” makes for a relatively disappointing end to the of That’s the Spirit by breaking the pleasant flow.