Memphis May Fire


Written by: BL on 31/03/2014 02:22:55

Having seen the band cut through the competition over the years, Memphis May Fire have now firmly established themselves as one of the biggest metalcore acts currently out there, cemented after their well received 2012 "Challenger" record. Masterfully combining theatrical soundscapes with crushing metalcore riffs, brutish yet inventive breakdown rhythms, and impossibly catchy post-hardcore choruses is what Memphis May Fire do with consumate ease, and these trends continues into their new 2014 followup "Unconditional". For the most part, the qualities of the former album are still present only seemingly more matured and more refined.

One of the main reason Memphis May Fire has excelled beyond most average bands playing this kind of music is that they do not skimp on any aspect of their sound whether it be the spotless drum rhythms from Jake Garland, the rumbling bass tones of Cory Elder, to the wickedly fierce riffage of song writer Kellen McGregor. Make no mistake the hybrid post-hardcore/metalcore instrumentals are some of the best around despite using the same tricks as the rest of the trade. The adrenaline fuelled opener "No Ordinary Love" serves as a clear example with a fantastic opening riff that underpins the rest of the song. And while you will inevitably hear similarities to "Challenger" in the song structures, the orchestral soundtrack influence can be clearly heard as a more prominent addition. The instrumentals aside, frontman Matty Mullins also reaffirms his own position as one of the best vocalists around too. Whether it be his ferocious screams and yells to his angelic singing voice, Matty puts his voice to great use on early tracks like "Beneath The Skin" and during a particularly gripping part of the alcoholism inspired "Sleepless Nights". When he screams "Inhale, exhale, why is it so hard to breathe?" it's hard not to feel the desperation in his voice as he battles inner demons in one of the album's defining moments. Elsewhere just sit back and appreciate some of the catchiest vocal melodies mixed with a pulsating backdrop crafted by Matty and the band in "Not Enough".

Speaking more of the lyrical content found on "Unconditional", the band try to tackle a more varied assortment of specific topics: global poverty in "Possibilities", image obsession and self-harm in the aformentioned "Beneath The Skin" from earlier, and familiar themes like past external transgressions in "The Rose" (something that was presented on the previous album in a similar fashion). While most of these songs are fairly accessible to the masses, it's during the latter parts of the album that "Unconditional" also starts revealing it's less than subtle religious overtones beginning with the soft "Speechless", followed by the protest against self-righteous extremism in "Pharisees" and lastly during the closing stages of the hugely epic "Divinity". As positive as most of the messages are to get behind, it can feel somewhat overbearing at times if you aren't quite of the same faith or any faith, which may not be what the band fully intended despite giving the album the title that it has. Fortunately at the end of the day, one thing is always constant which is no matter the lyrics, the music is unbelievably catchy and at times unforgettable. The way "Divinity" picks up for the finale and closes is truly some of the best stuff the band has done.

"Unconditional" is through and through a solid effort packing a lot of punches though perhaps is just short of the magic needed to make it something truly stellar. If anything, the album is unquestionable proof fact that Memphis May Fire know exactly how to please their fanbase without fault. The only other thing really left to consider at this point is that in future the band will probably need to push harder with new inventive elements to continue this momentum they are riding. Especially now that moreso than ever before, all eyes will be on them to succeed even further in a scene burdened with oversaturation and repetition.


Download: Sleepless Nights, Not Enough, Divinity
For the fans of: The Word Alive, Of Mice & Men, Hands Like Houses, Sleeping With Sirens
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.03.2014
Rise Records

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI