June 26, 2012 - Rise
The downfall of Memphis May Fire on their previous releases was a lack of focus and polish. They had their metalcore-lite and post-hardcore formula dialed in, and they stuck in a safe zone where everything could be thrown into their kitchen sink’s melting pot. On Challenger, the Texas band try their best to forge an identity for themselves. It may not be the identity some us had hoped for, like showing more promise in the contemplative melodic realm of Thrice or Underoath as many peers have. Instead, they go more into the good-cop/bad-cop vocal direction with melodic passages leading into epic breakdowns and electronic glitches to emphasize the songs’ climax moments. The vocals are the main departure; “Legacy” sports a vocal range that seems unreasonably extreme. Does any one song really need Geddy Lee helium moments that make way to mid-pitch metalcore screams, and then straight into Cookie Monster growls? We get it, you’ve got it all covered vocally, but reel it in a few notches, like on the simple and effective “Generation: Hate,” and we’ll all be a lot less stressed out. The songs themselves are sturdy and powerful, with the right mix of ebb and flow, and ample chug-chug parts for the pit monkeys. If the fact that Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn and Asking Alexandria’s Danny Worsnop make guest appearances gets your motor running, definitely check this out. If you zoned out even reading that last sentence, just politely move along.