Bring Me the Horizon released their fifth album, That’s the Spirit on Sept. 11, 2015. This album marks a departure from the primarily negative influence of the post-hardcore and metalcore scenes and is, in the band’s eyes, the beginning of a new chapter for all of them. Oliver “Oli” Sykes, the lead singer of the band, recently underwent treatment for an addiction to the pre-anesthetic drug Ketamine and credits his newfound sobriety as a huge factor in the new direction of their music.
“I didn’t want to scream anymore. I wanted to sing it from the rooftops,” Sykes said after finishing rehab.
Bring Me the Horizon has long been a bastion of angry music. Their previous records contained lyrics that decried organized religion and social injustices, and the band seemed to have reached its fullest potential as a metalcore band. Their song, “Shadow Moses,” on their fourth album, Sempiternal, was a furious anthem of hopelessness, with lyrics like, “Can you tell from the look in our eyes? We’re going nowhere,” and “We live our lives like we’re ready to die.”
Their new lyrics are markedly different. “Throne” is a song that explores themes of loneliness and frustration but still cries out determinedly that you will not be defeated.
“Every wound will shape me… don’t even try to cry me a river/ ‘cause I forgive you, you are the reason I still fight,” the lyrics say.
The demographic that bands of similar strain cater to have begun to move away from pure angst rock and are looking for more encouraging messages—stories that can be used to lift up the individual rather than allow them to stew in their own frustration like so much of the hardcore music from the past ten years.
Another example of this new movement is post-hardcore giant Of Mice & Men, whose lyrics have moved away from anger and depression to the theme of “You’re not alone,” which was the title of the first single on their latest album. The band began their careers screaming about divorces, betrayal, and abandonment, but now focus on bringing an encouraging and uplifting message to their fans.
Many who champion this music scene seem to recognize that, while there is a place for expressing anger, it’s not great to encourage adolescents to be angry people. In a music world that is increasingly populated by pop stars and country singers that laud casual relationships, alcoholism, and false, relativistic identities, it is refreshing to see and hear musicians that are not afraid to talk about the awful things in life but at the same time refuse to resign themselves to hopelessness. The majority of the people who listen to this music are young, impressionable teenagers who drink in media like addicts. The hardcore music scene is fast moving away from stereotypes of self-harm, anger, and depression and quickly becoming something much greater—a corner of the music world where one can go and feel at home, encouraged, and ultimately, not alone.
The fans are changing with the artists; the simple fact of the matter is that punk and metalcore junkies are getting older. The 15- and 16-year-olds of the early 2000s are now 20-somethings finishing up college or entering the job market and have realized that they need encouragement to move forward more than they need an echo of their laments.
A new revolution of mainstream metalcore is right around the corner. Bands in the hardcore scene have always tried to do something greater and tell stories that the fans can scream right back with all their might, but now their mission is not to incite but to empower. The music industry needs more musicians willing to bare all and show their scars instead of projecting a veneer of glamour. The music industry needs more people willing to scream until their hearts burst if only it means that one person hears them and is helped.