The return of Bring Me The Horizon to the UK live circuit is almost like a rags-to-riches story in its own right. Their first show since their triumphant Wembley headliner last December takes place in the rather nondescript Liverpool Academy, but don’t think they’re on a downward curve. In a mere few days the Sheffield metallers take to the Main Stage of Reading & Leeds for their biggest shows to date, followed in mid-September by the release of their fifth full-length That’s The Spirit, an album which, if the tracks they’ve already released are anything to go by, could make them the biggest band on the planet. That’s why tonight feels like so much more than a warm-up show, rather the genesis of Bring Me’s transformation into genuine megastars.
First though, Turbowolf  are given the unenviable task of being the sole opener, and while their electro-soaked hard rock gets more than a few bodies moving, a dire vocal mix lets them down, and unfortunately dulls their impact more than would’ve been ideal.
Bring Me The Horizon  on the other hand, face no such problems, and as they arrive to Happy Song‘s chant, it immediately becomes clear that this is a band firing on all cylinders and then some. As is to be expected, there isn’t all that much production (though a few CO2 cannons do go off sporadically through the set) but it shifts the onus fully onto the songs. There’s a shot of melody and punctuating electronic jitters that run throughout – even during earlier rager Chelsea Smile – that tie everything together nicely, but these are songs with more than enough chops to stand on their own. A one-two of Can You Feel My Heart and Sleepwalking can – and has – filled rooms many times this size, while punishing cuts like The House Of Wolves and the unadulterated belligerence of Antivist put paid to any doubts to be had about whether this band can still be heavy when they want. What’s more, Oli Sykes is in the best form he’s ever been in – screams seem more natural rather than forced, while his cleans come across as far more fluid and genuine than they have in the past.
The focus is mainly on new material though. Bar Drown, this is the first time any That’s The Spirit material has been given a proper airing, and even with that being the case, the level in which they already seamlessly slot into the set is astounding. The pummelling groove of Happy Song, the overt Linkin Park-isms of Throne and the towering anthemia of Drown are the sole new additions, but they’re already enough to give a concise image of Bring Me’s far more melodic future, and they never seem out of place. The band have tailored a setlist with peaks and troughs as it progresses, and it fully, wholeheartedly works.
Along with everything else, it makes it incredibly difficult to fault Bring Me The Horizon right now. To see a band at this level of quality at what is supposedly a low-key return bodes extremely well for the future, especially when that band has the power and potential to be such a force as this. Get Reading & Leeds and the album release out of the way, and there’s genuinely no limit to how far they can go.
Words by Luke Nuttall