Memphis May Fire

This Light I Hold

There’s a noticeable shift in the sound Memphis May Fire have pursued on their latest release. The Tennessee-based quintet return for their fifth studio album, blending elements of old-school Southern rock with abrasive unclean vocals resulting in their most engaging work to date. Having taken a significant amount of time off to write and develop this record, there’s a level of maturity on this album seldom seen on their prior releases. Fans get a taste of ’80s hard rock that’s subtly employed throughout tracks like “Wanting More” and “Live It Well,” while the more heavy-hitting, ‘core side of Memphis still shines through on tracks like “Out Of It” and “Sever The Ties.”

“She used to feel beautiful/before the world made her feel so small/now she prays that she just won’t feel at all,” vocalist Matty Mullins coos on “Not Over Yet,” laying down the groundwork for the dark-to-light tone of the album’s lyrics. Building up messages of positivity and hope, This Light I Hold still touches upon the heavy, edgier side of the metal world (“The Antidote,” “The Enemy”). Guest vocals dropped by Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix (the title track) and My American Heart’s Larry Soliman (“Not Over Yet”) only enhance the active-rock vibe of the record, expanding past the standard palm-muting pigeonhole and reintroducing listeners to some catchy melodies and range. 

There is a momentary lull on the album with more toned-down tracks like “Better Things,” but it is quickly remedied by the techno-inspired intro on “Letting Go” and the darkly whimsical “Unashamed.” Though this positive power-rock album may come off as more inclusive of a general rock-oriented fanbase, Memphis May Fire are branching out sonically without stifling their integrity. This Light I Hold is a well-structured balance of genres that all veteran fans and newcomers will quickly get into. 

OUR PICK: “Out Of It”