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Bring Me The Horizon | amo

The British outfit's sixth album might not be metal, but it's still heavy.

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“This shit ain’t heavy metal,” singer Oli Sykes admits near the end of Bring Me The Horizon’s sixth album. He needn’t have bothered — anybody who’s made it that far into amo is going to be well aware of that fact. Whether they like it or not is another matter. Though really, no one should be too shocked by it. Although Sykes and his Sheffield mates began life as a relentlessly savage metalcore outfit, they’ve been slowly softening their rough edges over the years. And expanding their creative, um, horizons by experimenting with female guest vocalists (including Canada’s own Lights), orchestral passages, poppier elements and more. The romantic concept album amo — the title is Portuguese for love — pushes their musical and lyrical ambitions further than ever before, seriously downplaying the primal-scream fury and guitar-driven mayhem for clean vocals, prominent melodies, open-hearted lyrics and track after track of skittery electronica, synth-pop and electro-rock (including Nihilist Blues, featuring guest vocals from another Canadian: Grimes). There are still a few bangers like the anthemic Mantra and Wonderful Life (featuring Cradle of Filth’s Dani Filth) and the thundering Heavy Metal (co-starring former Roots beatboxer Rahzel). But when it’s all said and done, the sensitive Sykes — who drew inspiration from his own roller-coaster love life, which has included two marriages and one divorce — wears his romantic yearning and desolation on his sleeve as transparently as the hearts that adorn the disc’s clear plastic baggie. That might not be metal, but anybody who’s been through what he has knows just how heavy it can be.