Friday, September 14th, 2018

Bring Me the Horizon – Mantra

Where’s the featuring credit for Siri, boys?

Iain Mew: It’s funny how certain British indie/rock approaches span sub-genres — between the speaking clock interjections and the particular tone of quizzical wordy satire (“Wait, how do you spell epiphany?”) this is basically an Everything Everything song as hard rock. The scruffy chorus and “before the truth will set you free, it will piss you off” stick out as an awkward tonal fit, but maybe it’s just that I’m not so into where they’re starting from that I don’t enjoy the combination with the elements I do normally like.

Will Rivitz: On another site I write for, users have savaged “Mantra” for, among other things, sounding like a bland rehash of old nu-metal tropes, a song interchangeable with every other song on SiriusXM Octane. These critiques are true, but as someone who exclusively listens to old nu-metal tropes and bland rehashes thereof while running, this song makes me feel like a badass while I wheeze through my third mile. “Mantra” is fairly analogous to the best of Tool: a near-perfect marriage of the parts of pop that work with metal with the parts of metal that work with pop, so aurally addictive that Oli Sykes’ lyrical bankiness can be overlooked. It’s not as jagged or loud as the band’s earlier work; in that sense, its more middle-of-the-road appeal is perhaps “blander,” more generically appealing. As someone who falls squarely into the contingent of listeners who will never grow out of that generic sound, I’m thoroughly satisfied.

Andy Hutchins: I’ve been friends with (white) folks who were the right age and had the right sensibilities to go from listening to American emo-punk to harder -cores of rock as the American pop charts largely diverged from driving rock in the late 2000s, and I know Bring Me the Horizon almost exclusively from car rides with those friends. This strikes me as a kinder, gentler, safer, and more boring BMTH: A song called “Mantra” shouldn’t sound anything less than fully anthemic, and it is a lot harder for me to care about something that could’ve been on a pre-everything Lostprophets album when I knew about and didn’t listen to Lostprophets back then. “Before the truth will set you free / It’ll piss you off” is a good lyric, but it’d be so much better screamed.

Ashley John: Of all the parallel universes where Bring Me the Horizon keeps putting out new stuff and we all keep tuning in, this is the most boring. “Mantra” is a beat too slow, a punch you see coming with plenty of time to dodge it.

Taylor Alatorre: So it looks like the soft-edged, easily digestible cynicism of 2015’s That’s the Spirit is not going to be a one-off. Pop psychology and modern spiritual movements are easy enough targets, but in place of heavy-handed mocking, we get a probing of the mindset that leads people to buy into them. The song structure vaguely reflects the dual identities of Oli Sykes’ cult leader persona: chunky hard rock riffs for when he’s taking you behind the curtain and dispensing hard truths, synth power chords and glossy vocals for when he’s pulling the wool back over your eyes and telling you to have faith. It’s about as nuanced as anything you’ll find on an active rock station.

Edward Okulicz: Only half the lyrical bombs go off, and the guitars are only about a quarter of the way to being intense enough to crush, but this is still a more than competent bit of catchy pop rock.

Reader average: [4.5] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Bring Me the Horizon – Mantra”

  1. I thought this was meant to be a piss-take of Muse? Are they serious?