Thursday, August 9, 2012

Memphis May Fire Rise to the Challenge

The metal core genre is a big sea with a lot of little fish trying to jump to the head of the stream and become one of the big fish. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it is required in this business in order to survive. The Texas based metalcore band Memphis May Fire did just that with their 2011 album The Hollow. Now, they have released the follow-up to that album entitled Challenger and it looks as if they built on the momentum that followed that 2011 album.

Challenger, their second full length album for Rise Records, was produced by guitarist Kellen McGregor and Cameron Mizell, who also produced The Hallow. I think fans will be surprised by the intensity of this record along with the heartfelt messages found in the powerful lyrics. Lead singer Matty Mullins delivers a very performance that is stellar from the first track to the last; even though the last track is an instrumental.

“Alive in the Lights” is the second track on the album, but it’s the one that really gets things going. Mullins definitely knows how to deliver a catchy chorus. He mixes up his vocal deliver to where one moment he is singing in clean vocals and the next minute he’s screaming with power and passion in his voice. “Prove Me Right” is another killer track that rocks. It may use the “traditional” breakdown approach in this song, but it still manages to sound fresh and relevant.

“Vices” is one of the standout tracks on the album. The song starts out intense and hard and ready to melt your face. Then, the chorus kicks in and it gets very melodic and catchy. Where some bands may fail and not be able to pull it off, Memphis May Fire makes it work and it sounds really cool. Add a few dashes of electronic elements that compliment the song and all the parts come together to make a pretty awesome song.

“Losing Sight” is a pretty interesting track that features Danny Worsnop, lead vocalist of Asking Alexandria. Matty and Danny offer contrasting vocal stylings that seem to complement each other really well. It would be nice to hear more collaborations from these two. There’s another collaboration on the album on the song “”Miles Away” which features Kellin Quinn from Sleeping with Sirens. It’s a metalcore ballad of sorts which features some heartfelt and emotional lyrics about life on the road. This track really displays the band’s versatility and truly stands out.

Overall, it seems as if Memphis May Fire has definitely raised the bar on this release. I am pretty sure that if you liked The Hollow that you will be pleasantly surprised by this new album. Matty turns in a stellar vocal performance and sounds stronger than ever. Kellen McGregor lays down some pretty tasty licks throughout the album as well as adding depth to many songs with his additional vocal contributions. The electronic elements that he adds to the songs help to propel them from ordinary metalcore to something different and special.

Is it a perfect album? No, of course not and that’s ok. There are the pitfall, generic, traditional breakdowns scattered about, but those few bitter parts just make the sweeter spots that much sweeter. It’s great to see a young band push themselves and step it up from one release to another. That’s definitely a key to longevity and Memphis May Fire seems to be travelling down that track and not looking back.

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