Worlds have collided for fans of Bring Me The Horizon and gaming! The latest Hideo Kojima release, Playstation 4 game Death Stranding, landed on Friday, and its soundtrack (Death Stranding: Timefall) includes music from various artists; including Au/Ra and Alan Walker, CHVRCHES, and of course, Sheffield favourites, Bring Me The Horizon.
Not merely a token appearance, the game and its message have hit powerfully home with Bring Me The Horizon. A self-professed videogame nerd, frontman Oli Sykes was smitten with Kojima’s philosophy on life. He particularly hooked into Kojima’s idea of humans being “Homo Ludens”, not merely “Homo Sapiens” (with “ludens” translating to “playing” in latin). The idea of play, and of trying to “beat this fucked-up game”, inspired a sense of hope in Oli in relation to the situation of a planet in ruin; the setting of the game as well as what seems to be in our not so distant future.
Hope is expressed in new single “Ludens”, which inspired purely by the game; something that was refreshing for the band who have just come from constructing their full length release amo. As told to Kerrang, Oli expressed that it was “crazy but it was fun. We just had to write one song and it just had to serve the video game.” This freedom of creativity is likely to extend into the band’s future also, with Oli stating in the same interview that shorter but more frequent releases is more likely than a full album. But until it’s confirmed what they’ll be doing, “Ludens” marks the start of the new music to come.
“How do I form a connection
When we can’t even shake hands?”
“Ludens” deftly lyrically ties reality into the concept of a game, referring to connections, cables, and crashing programs. Seeking to “retry” instead of quit, “Ludens” calls for embracing the reality we’re in and taking action with leaders, heroes, and players who believe they can make a change. The music video literally spells out: “From sapiens to ludens”, marking that transition from wanting someone to do something, to becoming that someone. Protection for the environment features noticeably through the song’s lyrics, referring to tides, a planet covered in cables, and flowers not meeting the sun.
Sonically, “Ludens” takes a dark and experimental angle that we heard in amo, but the nearly 5 minutes of music traverses through far more than just one mood. Bass pulses and a focus upon emotionless vocals at the song’s introduction soon evolves into a more driven and questioning stance. With Death Stranding scenes interspersed with Bring Me The Horizon playing, a sense of an uprising is apparent, and reinforced by slamming riffs.
Unexpected pauses and rhythms on a tight rein have the song cast a spellbinding mist, bursting into satisfying screams and stomping and bouncing opportunities for the collective to join in. The ‘ludens’ reveal themselves throughout the music video, and Bring Me The Horizon hit celebratory peaks with the anthemic chorus to match a “let’s fucking go” call to action that palpably seeps through the song.
A dance break and rapped/spoken word bridge is just icing on the cake, and a mammoth breakdown (complete with a Death Stranding baby) just wraps it all up in a neat bow before sending it off into another galaxy. If this is what creative freedom has Bring Me The Horizon deliver, I’m all for it. Experimental, inspiring, and addictive.
Watch “Ludens” below via YouTube, or elsewhere via https://smarturl.it/Ludens