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Ryan Gardner 07/02/12 11:11 PM

Memphis May Fire - Challenger
 
Memphis May FireChallenger
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: June 26, 2012


Memphis May Fire’s sophomore record, The Hollow, was a bit of a sophomore slump. They ditched their bold Southern drawl and left behind the rock 'n roll feel to pursue a metalcore route not unlike other Rise bands. It was, at best, a letdown. However, their third record, Challenger, proves that the third time is the charm. Not unlike other Rise bands like Of Mice & Men, The Color Morale, and Miss May I, the guys still play “Rise-core,” but they kick into high voltage and make something different.

The theme of this record is a common one – Matt Mullins addresses the pains of being on the road touring constantly and having to be away from home. While much of the record is chug, chug, chug scream – you know the type – it isn’t all black and white. Employing Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn on “Miles Away” results in the best song on the record. Veering away from screaming and metal, the song is permissively inviting – not unlike Of Mice & Men’s fantastic “My Understandings.” Lyrically, the song hits home as Mullins and Quinn sing of the hardships of being away from loved ones while on the road (“How am I supposed to be / Everything they expect me to be / When I feel so alone / Cause I left my heart at home”). “Miles Away” alone sets Memphis May Fire leagues above their peers. If they can continue to write songs in this vicinity, the guys are going to have to problem standing out.

Still, they stay true their sound for much of the record. Mullins wails, “From the beginning / I knew I was different” on the chaotic “Alive In The Lights” over string-snapping guitars. The fury increases on “Vices” as Mullins viciously attacks the mic with his screams. That is not to every song is this ferocious, as “Prove Me Right” and “Jezebel” have Mullins' Jekyll and Hyde switches from clean vox to screams fight for control.

While it may not sound much different than other records in the genre, Challenger wages a war. Memphis May Fire are pissed off and they aren’t afraid to fight. Mullins roars, “Where is the inspiration I need / How could I hate this / I used to crave this / I tell my stories as a form of release” alongside Asking Alexandria’s Danny Worsnop on “Losing Sight,” one of the most honest songs he’s ever written. Moments like this remove any armor from Mullins and crew; they’re at full vulnerability but they aren’t backing down at any moment.

Challenger is exactly what its namesake implies – it’s a battle cry, a war. Memphis May Fire have been near breaking point for years and they waste no time letting it rip this time around. When combined with crisp guitar work, meaty bass lines, and thunderous drumming, the screams fire bullets against the enemy track after track, and unlike with Attack Attack’s This Means War, Memphis May Fire are winning the battle with Challenger.

7.5/10

Recommended If You LikeBring Me The Horizon’s There Is a Hell..; Miss May I’s Monument; Of Mice & Men’s The Flood

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Without Walls
2. Alive In The Lights
3. Prove Me Right
4. Red In Tooth And Claw
5. Vices
6. Legacy
7. Miles Away (Feat. Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens)
8. Jezebel
9. Losing Sight (Feat. Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria)
10. Generation: Hate
11. Vessels

Memphis May Fire are:
Matt Mullins – Vocals
Kellen McGregor – Guitar
Cory Elder – Bass
Jake Garland – Drums

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Jake Denning 07/02/12 11:27 PM

I really liked this album, I'd personally give it an 80%.

Ryan Gardner 07/02/12 11:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jake Denning (Post 110183662)
I really liked this album, I'd personally give it an 80%.

Yeah, I dig it a lot more than I would have thought prior to having heard it haha

Prae Omnia 07/02/12 11:33 PM

This album was a lot better than I expected it to be, but Memphis May Fire can still do better.

WeltallAY 07/02/12 11:55 PM

Great review but I disagree about The Hollow being a letdown. That album blew me away and is still my favorite from them -95%. Just got Challenger today and I love it though, probably a 90% so far.

bang.bang.BANG! 07/02/12 11:59 PM

Sleepwalking was an amazing album. Haven't been able to get into them since the Rise-core :(

tyler_182_ 07/03/12 12:25 AM

Solid review, I agree with the majority of it. You just might want to double check the personnel for this album. Are you sure Ryan Bentley plays on this record, and that it's not Anthony Sepe? This is an honest question, not trying to be a dick.

prettyoungraves 07/03/12 12:51 AM

Im about 99% sure Mullins does all of the vocals on the album,cleans and screams. Bentley might do some back up melody but Mullins does everything else. He cleared that up on the last record when people thought the guitarist was doing the cleans too. It is easily apparent he does them all on this record too,which is really admirable considering the switching back and forth. Live he does a great job with it too.

prettyoungraves 07/03/12 12:52 AM

And yea i have loved everything they have put out period. southern core and rise core both :)

Rickaly 07/03/12 01:16 AM

Mullins does all of the vocals on the album. Not the most original band, but definitely underrated. Everyone in the band are THE best in the "rise-core" genre IMO.

NateFoundGlory 07/03/12 01:16 AM

Couldn't disagree more. The Hollow was great, but this is just so mediocre. Generic lyrics coupled with chuggachugga scream verse/clean chorus formula.

Quote:

Originally Posted by prettyoungraves (Post 110185002)
Im about 99% sure Mullins does all of the vocals on the album,cleans and screams. Bentley might do some back up melody but Mullins does everything else. He cleared that up on the last record when people thought the guitarist was doing the cleans too. It is easily apparent he does them all on this record too,which is really admirable considering the switching back and forth. Live he does a great job with it too.


I was wondering the same thing.

Dustin Harkins 07/03/12 01:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by prettyoungraves (Post 110185002)
Im about 99% sure Mullins does all of the vocals on the album,cleans and screams. Bentley might do some back up melody but Mullins does everything else. He cleared that up on the last record when people thought the guitarist was doing the cleans too. It is easily apparent he does them all on this record too,which is really admirable considering the switching back and forth. Live he does a great job with it too.

Kellen does extra clean vocals live, not Ryan. But I'm not sure about in studio.

t00latef0rr0ses 07/03/12 06:34 AM

I enjoy this release. Disagree The Hollow was a letdown though. Still has good gym playlist value.

ThereWeWere 07/03/12 06:57 AM

Yeah Matty does all vocals on this record, with Kellen doing backing live. And Ant Sepe is not doing guitar on this album. He joined after this album was done

Ryan Gardner 07/03/12 07:04 AM

Fixed the vocal info. I had looked at my previous MMF album review for that info real quick, so that explains why it was off. Apologies