Count Your Blessings seems to be the odd one out when it comes to the comparison of Bring Me the Horizon records. While musically it is certainly less ambitious in scope when compared to Sempiternal or even There is a Hell…, the tenacity and ferocity found in the slightly raw deathcore-drawn sound of the band on their first LP is something to either fall in love with or hate. And while we can argue a bit over the maturity of the band and where they’ve certainly come as musicians since this record, there’s a noticeably less serious, more angst-ridden degree of fun to be had with this record – as long as you try not to take it too seriously.
And if you like deathcore.
But aside from the slightly tongue-in-cheek song titles (“For Stevie Wonder’s Eyes Only (Braille)”, “I Used to Make Out with Medusa”), much of Count Your Blessings resides in the grisly mashing of deathcore through vicious breakdowns, relentless tempos and spite-filled lyrics. It’s a little tough to decide what sets this record most apart from the rest of the band’s discography, but the tandem of Oli Sykes’ vocals and the less-than-crisp production of the record makes this a bit of a roller coaster compared even to Suicide Season. Sykes’ range is wild and free, something he has since honed into a much more reasonable, and performable, scale. The lyricism is a bit, dare I say, juvenile at times, and while it arguably isn’t enough to make this unlistenable if you’re down with deathcore, it certainly doesn’t leave much to the mind outside of being cathartic in nature.
Amongst the passages of pummeling guitars, blistering drumming and rhythmic slamming, Bring Me the Horizon shows their energetic flair amongst what doesn’t exactly feel like a re-invented look at an arrangement of breakdowns, screams and sprinkled shredding. While songs like “Braille” and “A Lot Like Vegas” are fairly straightforward in the task of delivering brutality with a dash of musicianship to boot, at times the wandering nature of BMTH’s songwriting shows to deter their lifeblood from the track of full realization. “Pray for Plagues” has moments when the engine is firing on all cylinders, but the later moments in the track feel a bit disjointed as the band punches refrain after refrain into our ears. Sure, it’s a kink that slows down the eventual delivery without really adding much to the final product, but it is more so proof of the stronger writing this band seems capable of on other tracks – creating ridiculously enjoyable jams that tap the breakdown lover’s mind with no regret.
And that’s really the selling point of Count Your Blessings. Is it technically profound? No. Is it mind-blowing in a sense to see where this band has come in what will be four albums? Absolutely. But as someone who enjoys such a sound in other bands, it’s damn enjoyable to kick back and take in the raw, heavy layers of this record. Bring Me the Horizon’s debut LP gave us plenty to remember, but it was also a huge stepping stone for where they’d go in the future.