Review Summary: The band crush all of the promise that they initially had
Despite what the metalcore police would have told you a year ago in 2009, Miss May I’s debut full-length, Apologies are for the Weak
, was kind of promising. The band was young, and their take on metalcore via a prevalent melodic death metal influence in the verses of their songs worked rather well overall with a strong, varied harsh vocal performance coming from vocalist Levi Benton, making it seem like the band weren’t directly raping their contemporaries. Indirectly they still were, maybe
, I suppose, but hey, what’s a young band to do in this subgenre of music, especially having just started out? Miss May I still had a long way to go, though, but at least they were heading in the right direction.
Well, come 2010 and I can't truthfully say that this is the case anymore. Monument
has arrived and has crushed any of the promise that Miss May I might have had to begin with. The main issues with the band’s follow-up are in how they’ve managed to make everything sound so, well, generic and lackluster, even more so than last time. I’m not sure what happened, but with the addition of the new cleans from bassist Ryan Neff aside, Benton sounds as if he’s screaming after having been kicked in the crotch for the whole of Monument
's length. For instance, the extended distortion breakdown sections of fourth track “Relentless Chaos” go on monotonously, as if endlessly repeating themselves, but it’s not just the guitars that bore here; it’s also the grating sound of Benton behind the mic, bringing the lackluster filth of the music to a level ad nauseum.
Let’s get this out of the way, too: The cleans that Neff puts to use throughout Monument
’s length are certainly something that we’ve all heard before. Miss May I are obviously trying to get more melodic here, and in some cases it works out for them, such as the extended chorus sections of “Gears” that alleviate some of the pain that comes with the session of guitar breakdowns, or even in the chill distortion-free trip, “In Recognition”. But on a lot of other occasions, the nasally cleans just get in the way. In eighth cut “We Have Fallen”, the cleans tag team with those of the harsh nature, weaving a vocal patchwork of grating material that kills any of the promise that the competent chorus of the song might have had to begin with.
While listening to Monument
, you might start to sense that Miss May I’s potential is still in there, somewhere. It’s just been further hidden and obscured by all the garbage that the band have added to their sound on this go around. The melodic death metal-esque verse guitar riffs and the at-times poorly implemented breakdowns return once more, that hasn't changed, but the vocals of Benton and Neff here, clean and harsh, are largely what hold Monument
back. A lack of any instrumental improvement whatsoever doesn’t do anything to alleviate this problem either, so it just seems like Miss May I can do nothing but go further down on their new album, which is essentially what they do. Monument
is a disappointingly poor, generic release that reeks of nothing but laziness and a poor implementations of ideas. Toss it next to MyChildren MyBride’s Lost Boy
in the bend for piss-poor metalcore efforts of the year. You’ll have no need to return to this.