On their newest single, "Nihilist Blues," Bring Me The Horizon crosses the yawning gulf between metal and pop, featuring Grimes.



In recent years, we've been seeing more and more Pop/Metal crossovers. You've got the recent trend of Kawaii metal bands like Babymetal and Doll $ Boxx. Or you've got the "Doom Pop" of bands like the late, lamented Muscle & Marrow from Portland, Or. operating under the umbrella of The Flenser records, fine purveyors of all things stylish but apocalyptic. Then you've got the recent singles from Grimes herself, like "We Appreciate Power", which sounds like Skinny Puppy jamming with Debbie Gibson. Grimes has been rolling out a series of singles, these last few years, like last year's "love4eva" with the K-Pop group Loona; "The Machine Does Not Control Me" with Mindless Self Indulgence's Jimmy Urine, and her guest appearance on Poppy's surprisingly heavy recent LP Am I A Girl?

So is this a sign that metal's finally lost its fangs, for real? Has style surpassed substance, once and for all? Or is it that even the Pop Idols are getting pissed?

Say what you will about hybridization, there's something to be said for embracing the populist appeal of Pop Music. Most listeners, even the experimentalists and noise lovers, aren't as likely to remember a song with no discernible rhythm, meter, melody, or chord progression. Sure, atonal noise is all well and good, but can you really expect people to pay attention? Also, isn't there already enough grating noise in this world? Maybe a pop banger to bang your head to is exactly what the doctor ordered.

On "Nihilist Blues," you really have to dig to unearth its dark side. For all intents and purposes, "Nihilist Blues" is a sleek, slick electropop track, all fluttering kick drums, and trancey synth arpeggios. It's nearly indistinguishable from big room club music, except it also features some post-hardcore breakdowns. It's not that far of a stretch from the drops of mainstream dubstep, and even Skrillex started out as a metal musician. The threads are all there, waiting to be woven into a tapestry of brooding malevolence, heartache, and existentialist dread. It's also not that far removed from Bring Me The Horizon's traditional metalcore, which pairs the weight and intensity of post-Hardcore breakdowns with the catchiness and emotion of emo.

"Nihilist Blues" is the lead single from Bring Me The Horizon's new long player, Amo, which is due out this week. We Are: The Guard is excited to hear more of this electro-metal hybrid. Style and ferocity need not be mutually exclusive!


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.