Memphis May Fire
Unconditional


3.5
great

Review

by Betray USER (5 Reviews)
March 13th, 2014 | 156 replies


Release Date: 03/25/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Memphis May Fire proves with every record they put out that they are the undeniable masters of the modern metalcore formula. Whether that's a good or a bad thing, is ultimately up to the listener.

Memphis May Fire’s 2011 effort ‘The Hollow’ was the perfect example of modern metalcore done right. Three years and two albums later, enter the group’s newest production ‘Unconditional’. With the band’s tried-and true song formula from the last two evidently in place from the start of the album’s opener, ‘No Ordinary Love’, it’s apparent that not much has changed. But is that necessarily a bad thing for fans of Mullins & Co.? Probably not.

Memphis May Fire’s lyrics have always been one of the higher points in their music - even if some of the same lyrical themes have been repeated a few times over. One thing is now more obvious than it was in their previous works; vocalist Matty Mullins’ stronger, more profound faith in Christianity. Delivering the line “I know you’re here; I shiver as you whisper in my ear, ‘Child, have no fear’” just two minutes into the album, Matty wastes no time in letting the listener learn of his faith, proclaiming “I tried to save myself, but I failed!” (See the entire track 'Pharisees', as well)

They’ve even jumped on the self-help bandwagon that so many others have, on the track ‘Beneath The Skin’. “She dreams of a day when she won’t have to cry herself to sleep! Is our generation too blind to see true beauty lies beneath the skin? So ignorant!” While the lyrical themes may not be new, or exactly what everyone wants to hear, it’s apparent that this is Mullins’ most genuine effort yet, in terms of singing about how he truly feels. Lyrical content aside, on nearly every track Mullins delivers an extremely catchy chorus or hook, as only can be expected by now. The chorus of ‘Sleepless Nights’ is one of the best he’s written.

The guitarists are back to their dual assault of heavy riffing and chugging on ‘Unconditional’. While there’s not anything in particular that stands out enough to write home about, the guitars on this album are simple, effective, and very accessible and appropriate. There’s a couple times during the album in which the direction the guitars take almost feels out of place, and at some points, the listener can’t help but wish they did something more, something different. This is a metalcore album, after all.

The drumming of Memphis May Fire has never really drawn much attention to itself in the band's previous works. They were very appropriate and worked very well in ‘The Hollow’ and ‘Challenger’. That changes this time. ‘Unconditional’'s drumwork grabs you by the collar and forces the listener to stop and notice just how expertly Jake Garland smashes the skins. Riddled throughout the record are hard, fast, and heavy grooves and air-drum worthy fills.

The stand-out track of the album is ‘Speechless’. In a word; it’s "beautiful". A song about Matty’s love for his wife, the track showcases the band’s softer, more heartfelt side, and offers a very different and sincere contrast to the heavier assaults of tracks like ‘Sleepless Nights’ and ‘The Rose’.

Overall, there is nothing new to be found on ‘Unconditional’. Nothing outstanding, nothing inherently bad. That fact, however is a double-edged sword. Fans of the band’s previous works will love the new album. At the same time there’s nothing here to convince those who don’t like MMF’s previous attempts to change their minds. 'Unconditional' is a great album, but it may leave some feeling a hole where there’s something more to be desired.


user ratings (176)
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2.8
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other reviews of this album
jaspvr (3)
"Unconditional", an album by a band perfectly happy to keep doing what they know their fanbase will ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Holy balls, this is kind of a long one. My 2nd review. As always, tell me how to improve.

Album's officially streaming here.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKcGEIO7V0rUK5FD4c21HL6RDiS16x0-H


Digging: In Flames - Siren Charms

Calc
March 13th 2014


12190 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

another rerun of the matty mullins show, everything is the same as it was two records ago.

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can definitely see how you can feel that way. It's their weakest full-length effort yet, even though I still think it's great. But even as a huge fan of the band, it's getting a little tiring.

Was the review okay, though? Besides the rating disagreement, of course.

elephantREVOLUTION
March 13th 2014


2744 Comments


the hollow was solid but i couldn't get into challenger. i'll probably give this a shot but i'm not expecting much

Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ele, it at least deserves a shot. This album feels more Hollow than Challenger.

I don't think it's better than Challenger; in a way though, I can see how some might say it is.

And at least tell me WHY you neg'd, whoever.

Calc
March 13th 2014


12190 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

review is good man, its hard to talk about a new album when the band doesn't change and you kinda make an excuse for that when you said about the guitars:

"and the listener can’t help but wish they did something more, but this is a metalcore album, after all."

to me this doesn't excuse the epic rehashing here which is also why i feel your paragraph about the drumming is disingenuous because it literally sounds exactly the same. But these are personal things and you did a fine job.

Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Appreciate the sincere feedback, Calc.

I won't deny that I AM a fan of this.

I battled with myself a little bit on the wording of the one line about the guitars. I wanted to make it clear that they left something to
be desired, but not make it sound like the genre they play was an excuse for that, by highlighting that they're very appropriate for
most of the album, but at certain points, you wonder "really? you chugged there?"

And to me, the drums stood out, for some odd reason. Maybe they stand out more in the mix? I dunno.

EDIT: Fixed up that line a little bit.

titanslayer
March 13th 2014


1726 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I feel like I heard the exact same song eleven times

Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I know it's a hyperbole, but I think that's a little extreme. Speechless sounds nothing like Sleepless Nights.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2014


14329 Comments


Decent review man, it's clear you're making an attempt to be a part of the site, so I'll stop being a dick to you lol

I can give you some in depth feedback if you like?

Digging: We Will Fail - Verstrung

Apollo
March 13th 2014


10305 Comments


Cut out the recommended and weaker track stuff, as well as the band members/what they play.

Otherwise a good review. Have a pos.

titanslayer
March 13th 2014


1726 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Speechless was probably the best song on here because it was actually different

Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Go for it Jacq.

And really, Apollo?

Apollo
March 13th 2014


10305 Comments


What do you mean, 'and really'?

I pos'd your review because I thought it was well written, and I gave you some simple advice,

Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nono, I didn't mean really as in like "really?!" I was more asking why that was a bad thing. I definitely appreciate the pos.

Apollo
March 13th 2014


10305 Comments


Ah okay haha.

Well, to be honest, its just overdone and comes across as amateur hour on the site. You are better off
linking a couple of youtube clips of your favourite songs from the album in the comments.

I really liked The Hollow. Challenger was okay, I might still check this out.

MotokoKusanagi
March 13th 2014


502 Comments


this band is still kickin huh?

Betray
March 13th 2014


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Alright. Appreciate it. And it's worth a shot.

nononsense
March 13th 2014


3384 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Matty is so good, but ever since they ditched the southern metalcore sound the rest of the band hasn't been consistent.

Digging: Invent, Animate - Everchanger

MotokoKusanagi
March 13th 2014


502 Comments


their self-titled EP jams



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