Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Bring Me the Horizon ft. Grimes – Nihilist Blues

Say what you want about the tenets of Roko’s basilisk, at least it’s an ethos…


Will Adams: Amo gave a power surge to the beginning of my 2019 by providing me everything I want in a rock-goes-dance album, namely filling the void that Pendulum left at the start of the decade. “Nihilist Blues” is its peak: blustery trance-rock that refuses to let up across its five and a half minutes, working in half-time breakdowns, suspended-on-wire pre-choruses, moments where all the air is sucked out of the room, and finally, the culminating drop where Grimes brings everything together. Her presence is inspired, given that the track sounds like Art Angels at its most relentless. The lyrics’ nihilism would fall flat were the track not so bracing. It neatly mirrors the beginning of the decade, when apocalyptic music actually sounded like the apocalypse. Only thing now is that it’s real.

Iain Mew: Amo was one of 2019’s pleasant surprises, an energising album full of ambitious twists. Among its more brilliant and batshit moments, though, “Nihilist Blues” isn’t a highlight. Bring Me the Horizon meet Grimes in a middle ground that’s well on its way to just being her ground. It’s a cool place to be for a while, but they sound too polite or awed to give more than a soft reflection of her. 

Katherine St Asaph: Not the blackpilled tract I feared after reading a song title in 2019 containing “Nihilist Blues” and “ft. Grimes.” But once I was all set for this to this to turn into Covenant circa “Call the Ships to Port,” it instead turned into Imagine Dragons: worse, and also impossible to take seriously. Grimes, as far as I can tell, is only here to be human creepypasta, sing and/or be mixed at 25% of capacity, and add a half-time break from 2013.

Alfred Soto: The Grimes additions are as easy to spot as an ostrich on a highway: the manipulations of space, the murmured vocal promises, the sense that something mysterious no one has yet identified is visible on the horizon. She accomplished her mission: animating a track whose rock elements remain stolid. Speaking of missions, I credit her for getting the dudes to allude to “Katy on a Mission.”

Nortey Dowuona: A loping hyena bass chases meerkat synths in and out of a tunnel network filling with raindrop drums. Oliver sings alone in the water, pulling the meerkats onto a boat he builds from a slippery bass progression. The bass and guitar jab in and try to pull out Oliver and the meerkats, who cluster around him, frightened. Then an anthill of a bass drum breakdown lands on top of them, scattering the hyenas. Grimes climbs out of it, sending her ant armies to consume and devour the hyenas, who are shredded by the thunderous drum bites of the ants. Oliver and the meerkats make for the river while Grimes pursues. They pull out a guitar and some drums and send the entire ant army into the sun, while a furious Grimes pulls her stalk eye in frustration. 

Oliver Maier: Bring Me the Horizon shoot for the cheesy, dystopian “everything’s-fucked-so-might-as-well-boogie-about-it” catharsis of all good death disco, and nail it in spirit. You can instinctively balk at the aesthetic or try to meet it on its own terms. The sludgy bass and urgent synths are suitably atmospheric, and the blown-out rave drop is nothing if not the logical move. Where “Nihilist Blues” falls apart is in its admirable but kind of inexplicable ambition. It’s obvious that BMTH have underwritten, given the pointless, fidgety sounds on the verses and blockbuster drum fills on the pre-chorus, the latter a clumsy means to a climax. The vista should be stark, not cluttered, and the musical detour that announces Grimes’ vocal feature (itself delivered via peculiar croak, where her spooky soprano would be a better fit) exacerbates the issue, trading a focused four-to-the-floor kick for ugly syncopated drums and sending the whole track into a tailspin that it never really recovers from. If you don’t have enough ideas to fill five and a half minutes of song, maybe just make it shorter.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: It aims to be a stadium-sized epic and nothing more. The walls of sound and pounding beats have a hollowness that feel more lazy than poignant — I blame the title for making me think such empty-sounding racket could be hiding something meaningful. Grimes’s presence is appreciated, but the track’s outro makes one wish they were listening to “Venus Fly.”

David Moore: I finally googled I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness the other day, a band-as-sentence whose identity has been a disembodied phrase buzzing around the periphery of my mind for year. This band name is just like that, but I can’t tell if this is really what they sound like or if it’s Grimes I’m recognizing. So I doubt next time I will be able to ID them while listening — maybe they really sound like Dogs Die in Hot Cars? We Are Scientists? Surely not Pretty Girls Make Graves?

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Hard to pin down. I’ve spent the week going back and forth on whether or not this is as cool as it sets out to be, or if it’s too pretentious for its own good; whether it needs to be two minutes longer, two minutes shorter, or is just right. Grimes plays it coy; Bring Me the Horizon are either deadly serious or just good at never breaking character. The fever dream backdrop pulses with adrenaline and emo dance music angst. If they pull it off just barely, I suppose that makes it all the more exciting. 

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2 Responses to “Bring Me the Horizon ft. Grimes – Nihilist Blues”

  1. saw someone with a BMTH tattoo on the back of their hand on the bus to work today; I hope they’re doing well

  2. this whips, bring back industrial rock

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