Review Summary: Lifeless.
2014’s “Rise Of The Lion” was Miss May I’s fourth album, around this time it’s usually make or break for a band and how people interpreted that album would be how they interpret the band behind it. In an odd way, it didn’t really do anything for the five piece metalcore outfit from Troy, Ohio. Sure, it had some catchy riffs and memorable clean vs dirty vocal hooks but then it was just more of the same standard metalcore they’d been producing over the short span of 5 years. The fortunate thing is that they’ve been given a second shot to fully prove themselves. Now it’s for real, whether “Deathless” is a reinvigorating turn of events or just a duplicate of past releases, this album will decide Miss May I’s fate.
It all starts off well. A subdued tone introduces ‘I.H.E’ and some thrashy antics such as breathless blast beats and crunchy riffs follow. ‘Psychotic Romance’ follows a similar pattern but with more prominent bass from Ryan Neff giving the song a deeper sound during certain passages. While Levi Benton sounds no different to any song he has sung on its heartening that his snarling voice has not altered negatively. He maintains consistency to the very end of “Deathless” where the album closer, ‘Born From Nothing’, comes full circle with a fast paced grooves and harmonies that encapsulate Miss May I’s overall character.
Now you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security that this is actually a decent metalcore album, it’s time to surface the copious amount of criticism this album will endure. The main fault is poor lyricism. The aforementioned ‘I.H.E’ stands for “I hate everything, I hate everyone” which seemingly only appeals to angsts teenager with a fringe as long as their Impericon wish list. The lyrics in ‘Bastards Left Behind’ are totally hypochondriacal whereby Benton describes the apparent heartache they feel about being “the fallen ones”. The title track is culprit of unimaginative singing: “you think you can take all that I made, remember it’s another part of me” and “I ***ing gave everything” are two poor attempts of vocal hooks within the song and the build up to the former line remains completely flaccid. Finally, the chanting ‘wooahs’ arrive that curdles the cheesiness level to a cringing maximum.
The term “generic” is used so often with metalcore that ironically, the use of that word has become generic. However, songs such as ‘Empty Promises’ seem unbearably basic with no real moments of quality within. ‘Arise’ is also guilty of this feature in both instrumentation and lyricism (how many times does a metalcore musician have to be “left behind” by someone to realise that they might actually be the problem") It’s a breakdown-heavy song however the superior beat down would actually sound great if it was a cacophony of sound rather than a sleazy rhythm of: chug-pause-chug-pause-chug.
‘Turn Back The Time’ it is heavily inspired song but Jerod Boyd trying to out-run Fear Factory drumming, stamping Slipknot riffs, and a Killswitch Engage dynamic is welcome at this point in the album and is a lone example of Miss May I actually proving themselves worthy of attention. If only the same could be said about the album as a whole...