Miss May I

Apologies Are For The Weak

Written by: BL on 21/06/2009 23:47:22

Having been thinking about how to review this band for the last couple of days, I've finally been able to get my thoughts down into words. Miss May I are one of the latest new offerings from the-ever-more-scenester label Rise Records. In a way that sort of tells you how they're going to sound, screamo vocals, breakdowns and probably a slew of half baked melodic death riffing. Oh and Joey Sturgis as a producer I bet you. I'll keep score of how many I get right, game is on (or maybe lost already, depends how you approach these sort of bands as I know many will have turned away by now).

Straight off the bat I knew Joey Sturgis was the producer (score 1), his trademark high pitched drum sound kicks in at the start of the rocking "A Dance With Aera Cura" along with those sharp, super tight guitars. Not much of a sound from the bass guitar as per usual. Right then what about the sound? Well the vocals are very sort of Bring Me The Horizon mixed with As I Lay Dying with Levi Benton doing a sort of Oli Sykes array of high screams, guttural lows and lots of demon vocals (screamo enough, score 2). The AILD reference is due to the bassist Josh Gillispie providing fairly sturdy cleans in most of the songs, he sounds just like the AILD bassist Josh Gilbert (even have the same first names).

Now lets talk first about the makeup of the 10 songs you will find on this record. The first biggest impression for me was from their drummer Jerod Boyd who gives, for me, a phenominally tight (maybe with production help) and technically charged performance. There is barely a moment of rest for him as he pounds his kit at such speed through song after song. "Not Out Tomorrow" in particular shows some impressive blast beats and an array of mixed drumming patterns. He's got some very fast tom fills and kicks the double bass pedals firing like machine guns. The second biggest impression for me was that I was half accurate with the prediction about the guitars (score 2.5). Every song is jam packed with melodic death metal or thrash riffing on the get-go with most of it at an utterly relentless pace leaving you barely any room to breathe.

It is fair to say that although there is an enormous feel of Undoing Ruin era Darkest Hour guitar work, Justin Aufdenkampe and BJ Stead can certainly crank those guitar licks out like riff machines and like the drumming, keep it tighter than superhero spandex. My first complaint is that even if these riffs are fast and competent, there are simply so many of these riffs that one can feel lost at sea trying to remember all the dual harmonies running around and the tremolo picking everywhere. There are only the odd few really memorable ones, with "A Dance With Aera Cura" and "Blessing With A Curse" having my favourites (but its not like they're that different elsewhere). My other complaint is that, yep you've guessed it, the enormous range of breakdowns littered across the album (score 3.5). Sometimes they work, on "A Dance With Aera Cura" and "Architects" and the title track they can sound quite good because they have channeled raw aggression and some scathing vocal work with some nice drums backing the rhythm. But for example on "Harlots Breath" or "Tides" they sound so similar to earlier ones with barely any memorable beats or just become pointless dissonant breakdowns like ones used almost every other song (Okay so one of the ones on "Harlots Breath" with the demon vocals was mildly cool). There is the odd guitar solo, but they aren't technically impressive as the riffing and focus on being more melodic and tuneful.

For me I think as song writers they have some way to go, they need to work on finding more flow between parts of songs and finding more original parts too. At the moment, as accomplished the riff work is, everything feels a bit too cut and paste: have some fast riffing here, a breakdown there, some more riffing over there, maybe some clean vocals, oh another breakdown, and more fast riffing maybe with a solo to finish. Bizarrely the formula somehow seems to work on a short basis. What I mean is, its enjoyable on a very mindless level almost, its kind of fun to nod your head to if you're not really paying too much attention to it. Bound to be a hit with the kids (and I can sort of tell by looking on the last.fm page already) and utterly despised by metal purists, this is pure scenester thrash that I find almost as a guilty pleasure too ashamed to admit.


Download: A Dance With Aera Cura, Not Out Tomorrow, Apologies Are For The Weak
For the fans of: The Devil Wears Prada, Darkest Hour, Bring Me The Horizon
Listen: Myspace

Release date 23.06.2009
Rise Records

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