Memphis May Fire


Written by: DR on 24/07/2009 20:36:15

The latest band to emerge from the seemingly endless tap of American lemmings trying their hand at Myspace fuelled post-hardcore is Memphis May Fire. Though, they did release an impressive debut EP in 2007, they have since then lost a bassist and a vocalist (who, in this reviewer's opinion, was nothing short of intimidatingly good), leaving this quintet with something to prove with "Sleepwalking"; that they can take such setbacks all in their stride - as though they are nothing more than pebbles on their road to win the scene's heart.

Though there is no escaping the fact that Memphis May Fire are one for the fringed masses, they do succeed in their attempts to bring (some) much needed creativity to the tired, trite and tested scream/sing/breakdown format. Rooted in Texas, you can expect the southern influences, however there is a surprisingly rock n roll edge to "Sleepwalking" that helps nudge the album slightly towards the 'fun' side of things.

As previously mentioned, original wolverine-like vocalist Chase departed ensuing that new-guy Matt had some very big shoes to fill. It's clear right from the opening track that he's not as capable as his predecessor when it comes to roaring out those shrieks, squeals, screams and squawks which is why they sound somewhat forced, and why the aggressive vocals are used considerably less often than their on EP; but his clean singing is leagues ahead. He's not a redundant screamer though, the almost desperate cries on the title track "Sleepwalking" are a particular highlight, and a rare moment when the screams sound natural.

In fact, just about everything about "Sleepwalking" is better. The musicianship has matured, the band have shrewdly chosen when to apply the complex riffs - that only growing up in the heart of southern America can drive - and when to be less thorny. The lyrics are a vast improvement, despite not constantly being able to thrash out gems such as "I want to see the fire ignite, suffocating the sky" and though there is the odd corny "Bigger meaning, better purpose, please trust me, this is worth it", on the whole they display enough skill to (unlike the majority of the scene) appease your ears, rather than violate them.

Even the most stubborn post-hardcore fanatic will admit that the streets of 2009 have hardly been paved with good releases - I'd struggle to name 5 that are even so much as 'decent', but with this, their debut full-length, Memphis May Fire have created an album that's more authentic sounding, more killer than filler and somehow revives my ever-fading interest in the scene, even if it's just for a little while. A very high

Download:North Atlantic Versus North Carolina, You're Lucky It's Not 1692, Sleepwalking
For the fans of: Ice Nine Kills, The Blackout (had they been Texan), A Static Lullaby
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.07.2009
Trustkill Records

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