When I first started taking this blog seriously, I attempted to review an EP I found fascinating and progressive for its time. I still admire the record and I think the transformation of genres, vibe, and overall atmosphere it represents is really on-point.
The EP was The Chillout Sessions –a reimagination of several tracks from one of Bring Me The Horizon’s heaviest records There Is Hell. The original deathcore madness got totally reinvented by the capable hands of Draper (and Oli Sykes’ full support), but it never managed to be officially released due to label complications. Today, I want to revisit the 2012 source of relaxation and tranquillity by reviewing the EP with more attention and focus.
There Is Hell is Bring Me The Horizon’s last deathcore record before the transition towards lighter, rock-oriented sound would commence. A chillout remix is not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear tracks like Crucify Me, It Never Ends, F*ck, Don’t Go, and Memorial/Blessed With A Curse – some of the most aggressive and heavy tunes of the band. However, isolating the instrumentals and taking apart the lyrics makes up for a solid foundation of an effective relaxation record. Throwing in a capable producer in the mix, emphasizing on the most emotional aspects of each song, and producing it with attention to detail makes it an almost certain success.
Lights rightfully takes the spotlight in this interpretation of the songs – it is an early display of her abilities and charisma
The Chillout Sessions uses instrumentals as the main element of development. It merges toned-down guitar riffs with dubstep/chillstep, electronic, and ambient elements to create a nostalgic, mystic, sometimes brooding atmosphere.
Vocals also appear with careful, controlled distribution to bring balance and diversity to the record. However, Oliver Sykes’ gruesome growls and screams are replaced with refined, gentle singing by Lights (who also appears in the original versions of Crucify Me and Don’t Go). Her soothing voice matches the vibe of the record and blends in with beat and instrumental structure to deliver a stunning final result – peace, tranquillity, and absolute relaxation.
I can’t help but admire the way Draper rebooted the songs. From aggressive and chaotic the There Is Hell signature tracks are completely transformed into a sensitive, emotionally enhanced tunes perfect for mediation or focus on work/studies – it is a 180° spin.
The specific feeling that Bring Me The Horizon always had is still notable – their essence is intact, but it is presented in a very different manner. All the emotions from the original songs become accessible in this lighter format. The sonic build-up is evident despite the fragmented nature of each track – rhythm is the main supporting element for the remixes, leading the melody through different tempos making the record far from static or repetitive.
It is worth noticing the progression and great arrangement of the EP. The only way to tell the songs apart is the recognizable instrumental preserved in its original form from each track. The six remixes flow into each other so smoothly it feels like you are listening to one 30-minute song.
There is also a great balance between the vocal and instrumental-focused mixes. Crucify Me, which starts the EP confidently, and Don’t Go use lyrics to enhance the emotion and give more context to the feelings in question – they feel like a mandatory part of the mix. This also brings more dynamics to the EP with a faster pace compared to the rest of the songs.
F*ck, Memorial, and Blessed With A Curse, on the other hand, are instrumental-centred and use the original songs riffs to create a suspenseful, hold-your-breath type of environment. They start slow and gradually build up to a livelier tempo mixing in different influences to elevate the mood drastically.
It Never Ends stands in the middle of the two types featuring a lo-fi type of instrumental core and blending in subtle lyrics at just the right moments to create a unique setting.
Despite having a sad undertone The Chillout Sessions is strangely comforting and reassuring – one thing typical for Bring Me The Horizon preserved to this day.
Draper managed to take the charm of the original tracks and elevate with a whole new look. He presented a different interpretation with equal emotional impact. You wouldn’t tell it is a deathcore band behind the original tracks – the EP remains my go-to choice when I am in the need of quality lo-fi chill mixes. Suitable for many occasions, moods, and times of the day, the mix is a great reminder of what open-mindedness and experimentation can do for musicians.
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