Meet the British metalcore band Bring Me The Horizon. Formed in 2004, they got their name from the final line of the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, in which Captain Jack Sparrow says "Now, bring me that horizon."
When I first heard them, I was drawn to the passionate vocals and their aggressive, energetic sound. Despite explicit lyrical content, I sensed their frustrated, yet focused pursuit of truth. In their song "Crucify Me", lead singer Oliver Sykes screams, "There is a Hell, believe me, I've seen it! There is a Heaven, let's keep it a secret! No one needs to know! I am the ocean; I am the sea. There is a world inside of me." Josh Scogin, singer for Christian metalcore band The Chariot, sings guest vocals later on in this album.
After numerous awards, an exploding fan base, multiple millions of YouTube views, and headlining various tours and festivals, BMTH is poised to release their next album on April 2nd--Sempiternal. Unfortunately for the band, the album leaked online a couple months ago. I was really looking forward to seeing the direction they went, so I checked out the songs. I had high hopes. Musically and vocally, it was incredible. Lyrically, it was beyond disappointing.
Keep in mind: regardless of your thoughts on their music, BMTH didn't get their massive following by accident. They are talented musicians with nearly four million (more than the entire population of nearly half of the countries in the world) Facebook fans and 400,000 Twitter followers that back up that claim. Their top five videos alone have fifty million views on YouTube.
What's sad is that this immense, adoring fan base of primarily fifteen to twenty-five year olds is being pounded with a message of hopelessness. The very first song "Can You Feel My Heart" sets the tone: "Can you save my busted soul?...I long for that feeling to not feel at all. The higher I get, the lower I'll sink. I can't drown my demons, they know how to swim."
His despair turns to all-out hatred in the very next song, "House of Wolves". It appears that they have had horrible experiences with the church as Sykes belts out, "Show me a sign, show me a reason to give a solitary **** about your ******* beliefs...What you call faith, I call a sorry excuse. Cloak and daggers murder the truth...The house of wolves you built will burn just like a thousand suns. So when you die, the only kingdom you'll see is two feet wide and six feet deep!"
There is a glimmer of hope that comes through in arguably the best song on the record, "Sleepwalking": "My skin's smothering me. Help me find a way to breathe...Wake up! Take my hand, and give me a reason to start again." You can watch the recently-released video for this song below.
Their song "Shadow Moses" is the theme song of the album as it repeats the three words over and over (nearly twenty times) that sum up Sempiternal: "WE'RE GOING NOWHERE". It is heart-wrenching to hear Sykes repeatedly and hopelessly scream, "Can you tell from the look in our eyes? We're going nowhere. We live our lives like we're ready to die. We're going nowhere!"
The music is so powerful that it is easy to get drawn in, but the pervasive message is one of emptiness and leaves you hollow. Each word is dripping with deep-seated pain, and whether these guys believe it or not, they need hope. Their fame has brought them no joy. Thousands upon thousands of their worshiping fans singing their songs along with them each night has brought no peace to their souls. They need something more--just like the rest of us. They need new life.
This is just one band. There are countless others like them that have differing levels of success, but promote a similar message of despair and disillusion. Every night at shows and each moment via headphones, the massive and ever-increasing fan bases of these bands hear their idols spout "There's no hope for us!" ("Crooked Young").
Will anyone reach out to them? What if some of these band members found rest for their restless souls? What if their passionate message of hopelessness became one of hope? It would immediately influence thousands and in some cases like Bring Me the Horizon's, millions. Imagine the potential for changed lives. It's something to think about.