Originally written by Michael Roberts.
I have to admit that I when I first laid eyes on Bring Me The Horizon, I feared the worst. The fashion, the haircuts and the song titles almost had me rolling the eyes in advance, expecting little more than yet another group of upstarts jumping on the metalcore bandwagon. So it was a pleasant surprise then to find that Count Your Blessings is a rather competent debut, if not exactly thrilling. Amid the silly lyrics and typical cut-and-pasting, Bring Me The Horizon has compiled together a cohesive set of songs with a decent metallic bite. It’s derivative, but if you aren’t tired of metalcore yet, you may find Count Your Blessings an above-average entry in the genre.
To be more specific about Bring Me The Horizon’s sound, these guys basically combine European, melodic death metal with black metal-styled vocals and a smattering of slow-and-heavy breakdowns. The songwriting is a bit choppy, but considering the youth of the band that’s a small criticism. Songs tend to halt and change a bit randomly – especially early on – with a lack of flow between the speed sections, breakdowns, mid-paced runs etc, but pleasingly this does improve as the album goes along. Case in point, closing track “Off the Heezay”. It’s easily one of the strongest and tightest cuts on Count Your Blessings, and given that it caps off the album’s brisk 36-min running time, it’s a positive indication of where BMTH are heading in terms of their songwriting.
Another aspect of this band you may appreciate is that like a lot of recent bands, there’s a far higher metal-to-core ratio going on with BMTH. The fact that screamer Oli Sykes never once breaks out into clean singing is something I’m truly grateful for. Sticking to very high-pitched shrieks, deep death growls and a bit of hardcore shouting, Sykes sounds like he’s about to cough up his viscera at any given moment. Musically, BMTH is on par with most bands peddling this style at the moment, with some nice guitar flourishes that owe much to the ever-present Gothenburg influence. As for production, Count Your Blessings has a bouncy, bass-heavy sound which is satisfying enough but a little too clean for my liking.
Count Your Blessings is certainly no masterpiece, but it’s an impressive debut from a young band in an extremely saturated genre. The album may be low on originality but there is enough quality to the songcraft here to indicate that Bring Me The Horizon have real potential, if they can only stick around long enough to follow up. That will be the band’s litmus test and hopefully a sign of reassurance for the more jaded among us that there’s life in the old ‘core yet.