There Is A Hell... is an encyclopedia of existentialist philosophy
Existentialism is a twentieth-century philosophical movement and metaphysical theory which supposes that an individual person's existence entails radical freedom to make of himself whatever he wills. This approach to philosophy is echoed throughout Bring Me The Horizon's third studio album, There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret
The parallels between vocalist Oli Sykes' stream-of-consciousness poetics and the philosophy of existentialist godfather Jean-Paul Sartre are most obvious on the title track. Here Sykes rejects passive outward ambitions and divine providence alike, proclaiming the world inside of him as his true home:
"I am the ocean, I am the sea; there is a world inside of me"
Sykes is proposing that his choices alone determine his essence rather than the external world, truly the heart of the existentialist message.
His secret paradise is his own mind; "hell" as he has experienced it was the despair in realizing the vulnerability of his own self-imposed identity. Indeed, authenticity comes not with instant gratification but trial by fire.
Alluding to a one night stand with a lurid vampire, to dismiss "It Never Ends" as a run-of-the-mill Breakup Song
is understandable, as Sykes vents the melancholy of a fling gone out of control. But closer examination through the existentialist lens reveals that Sykes is not facing off with a codependent girlfriend but his very self. With great power comes great responsibility, and as Sartre would have it, realizing one's full self-ownership brings great anxiety, as enlightenment crumbles every excuse for mistakes that the individual had once clung to. The singer desperately fights to convince himself once more that his shortcomings are the fault of his impressionable and uncontrollable subconscious mind, but eventually surrenders to his full responsibility for himself, leaving him feeling sullied and restless. The closing mantra ("every second, every minute, every hour, every day: it never ends") is the protagonist's revelation, accepting that he has now climbed too far up the mountains of truth to ever run back and comfort himself with bad faith and factitious excuses again. The music video further punctuates the theme, depicting a surgeon removing Sykes' vital organs, which symbolizes the screamer's confrontation with his complete freedom to create his own identity as he chooses, as opposed to attributing his flawed character to an inherent, unchangeable essence.
There Is A Hell...
highlights the ups and downs of the existentialist's unending search for truth and anxious but profoundly victorious refinement of self. What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?