Texan post-hardcore kings Memphis May Fire
was established in 2006, and has since grown a relatively large discography, but also an even larger fanbase. Currently signed to Rise Records (Miss May I
, For The Fallen Dreams
, Of Mice And Men
), their legacy continues in 2014 with their fourth full-length "Unconditional
" hitting the air.
A long while ago, I wrote a review for the band's previous release "Challenger," praising it for its diverse songs, strong amount of energy, and potent musicianship. Taking this into account, it would be a tad difficult to beat, as it set the bar rather high for whatever the group would putting out next. However, any qualms about that can now be put to rest, because "Unconditional
" is shockingly better. It ups the musicianship, passion, and anything else that would make this album a great one.
For starters, the musicianship is quite fantastic. Although Matty Mullins's vocals have always been stellar, they have actually matured, even if it's just by an ounce. His range has grown more, for lack of a better word, natural, and it possesses a ton of vigor. The screaming effortlessly reaches between growls and mid-pitches, and the singing is just as compelling. The guitars are multi-layered and utterly loaded with extremely potent melodies and riffs, and the drums, while a bit on the technical side, sound just as solid and powerful.
Speaking of 'solid and powerful,' that's a very appropriate phrase to describe the production. Like before, it was done by Cameron Mizell (Sleeping With Sirens
, The Word Alive
), and he has yet again done a stellar job. His mixing gives the music a rich sound that makes it even more explosive than it already was, which is definitely saying a lot. Neither aggression or atmosphere is compromised, thus making the songs sound both hard-hitting and resonant.
Just like with "Challenger," this release's best aspect would be its energy. Not a second passes where the album doesn't teem with pure emotion and force, whether the music is loud, quiet, heavy, melodic, or anything else. For an example, the opener "No Ordinary Love" tackles both the mellow and clamoring moments, and it does so with a lot of intensity throughout. "The Rose
" has exhilarating speed, and "Beneath
," while darker in tone than the rest, bears just as much strength. The liveliness comes from both the musicianship and the dynamic, and it shines through very brightly.
If you pressed me, one flaw about "Unconditional
" could be that the structuring itself is a bit repetitive. A majority of the songs follow the 'verse-chorus' build, and certain people may be turned off by that. Despite
that, however, the songs themselves are so vigorous and potent that it's easy to ignore and ends up being a very minor chink instead of a true detriment.
On top of all this, the lyrics are just as gripping as the music itself. They seem a bit more personal than before, songs like "No Ordinary Love" depicting Unconditional
love and "Sleepless
Nights" tackling anxiety and paranoia. There are also lyrics that take on more external themes, an example being "Possibilities," which encourages service towards the poor and needy. The passion in these lyrics is certainly present, and they're only helped by the incredibly energetic vocals pushing said passion to the point where you just want to sing along.
" is phenomenal. Pretty much everything that this album has to offer demonstrates the type of talent and heart that you don't find very often in other metalcore and post-hardcore releases. The instrumentation is stellar, the production is top-notch, the lyrics are home-hitting, and the songs themselves are a joy to listen to. This record is energized, infectious, and empowering, and anyone looking for that type of music should check it out at all costs.
Originally posted on: http://metaljerky.blogspot.com/