Biffy Clyro were at a crossroads before creating 2013’s Opposites. Their previous effort, Only Revolutions was by far their most commercially successful record, despite gaining criticism from some fans for going down a more ‘mainstream’ route. From there, they could either play it safe, either by appealing to their hardcore fans, or a more mainstream audience, or do something completely different. Thankfully, they picked option number three…
Opposites is a sprawling epic, a double album split up into two ten-song halves. The first is titled ‘The Sand At The Core Of Our Bones’, and details the difficult times that make us who we are. The second, ‘The Land At The End Of Our Toes’, is more uplifting, focusing on the future, and the potential it holds. The album was originally going to be split into two separate releases, but they were combined into one, which became Opposites. And I feel like this was the perfect decision, making it longer, more epic, and making the album feel like a more coherent story.
As for the music itself, where do I even begin? The first half of the album is undoubtedly darker, typified perfectly by the first two songs- ‘Different People’ and ‘Black Chandelier’. The trio are not afraid to mix soaring melodies with crushingly heavy riffs, and they do it perfectly, especially in the latter of the two, my favourite song on the entire album. But it isn’t all like that, as each song is unique in its’ own special way; ‘Sounds Like Balloons’ with its’ intricately spiky riffs and ‘The Thaw’, with its slow build up from soft and quiet into loud and epic.
The second half is equally varied, being much more positive, although no less heavy. A song that perfectly typifies the entire album is ‘Stingin’ Belle’. The song contains relentlessly heavy guitar, leading up to an anthemic chorus, and even has a section with bagpipes at the end of it- the perfect mix of melodic, heavy and experimental.
In conclusion, this was the perfect step for Biffy Clyro at this stage of their career. They didn’t give in to commercial or fan pressures, and went on to create one of the best albums of their career. And it’s not just admirable, it sounds great too!
Best songs: Different People, Black Chandelier, Stingin’ Belle, Biblical