Ohio natives Miss May I have become a staple act of the metalcore genre and scene. Their ruthless music and performances ignite a powerful response from fans each and every time. The band formed in 2007 and has released 5 albums to date: Apologies Are for the Weak (2009), Monument (2010), At Heart (2012), Rise of The Lion (2014) and their latest Deathless on August 7th, 2015. The Sound Live was lucky enough to get their latest album Deathless to provide an analytic review. A track-by-track analysis can really break down the strengths and weaknesses of the album.
Track 1- I.H.E: The album couldn’t have started off with a better song. IHE starts off slowly while building up intensity until Levi Benton comes in to take things to a whole new level. A very powerful tune which sets the standard for the entire album.
Track 2- Trust My Heart (Never Hope to Die): A bit softer and very different from the first track. While it is powerful, it lacks substance in the message it’s trying to get across.
Track 3- Psychotic Romantic: This song really picks things up again with a musical arrangement that reflect the emotion the lyrics are trying to get across.
Track 5- Deathless: The title track of the album is really the definition of the album itself; it’s emotionally packed both lyrically and instrumentally. Its also displays the perfect balance between lead singer Levi Benton’s growls and bassist Ryan Neff’s clean vocals.
Track 6- Arise: This track brings a huge shift in emotion; it suddenly changes from a very negative, dark perspective to an almost triumphant like return. It is truly the highlight of this album up until this point. The positive emotions the song conveys is so powerful, fully overpowering all the negative emotions previously displayed.
Track 7- Turn Back the Time: Once again, this song seems to go back to a negative perspective until the chorus of the song when you realize it is actually a very hopeful message after all. The musical arrangement is also similar to “Deathless” by keeping a balance between clean vocals and growls.
Track 8- Empty Promises: Right off the bat, a very catchy tune, musically. However, lyrically it goes back to a dark place. I really love the way it simply fades out in the end.
Track 9- The Artificial: While the album is still maintaining its aggression, this song doesn’t have anything that truly sets it apart from the rest of the material.
Track 10- Born From Nothing: This track once again feels like its not very distinct from the previous track. It feels like a weak song to end the album with.
What Miss May I does so well with every album they release is maintaining that ferocious power and energy throughout the entire album. While instrumentally, they remain powerful, they leave very little room to diversify their musical arrangement. There were very few surprises, if any at all. The most powerful moment came in track six, which is titled Arise. As such a staple act of the metalcore genre, it is almost impossible to disassociate them with teenage angst; the majority of the album felt like it carried a very negative and almost remorseful tone. This changes with Arise, where the entire tone shifts to a very positive one. It is the breakthrough track of the album and the reason for this is because it is the track to instill the most emotion in the listener; positive triumphant emotions will always over power the negative remorseful ones. This really should have been the title of the album, as the band maintains their heavy drum patterns and guitar riffs but accompanies it with very uplifting lyrics this time around; something the band does extremely well. If the band would aim to make more music with similar messages, it would really set them apart from many of the other metalcore acts present today.
Understanding the effect the album aimed to have on the listener, it would have been much more impactful had the album finished with track 7 “Turn Back The Time.” The song felt like a perfect way to end, both lyrically and instrumentally. Not enough emphasis was put on the albums song order, which in this case is one of the albums biggest flaws, really holding it back. The album should’ve maintained a concise song order of 8 tracks and ending it off on a positive note with “Turn Back The Time.”
Taking all things into consideration, it is extremely impressive that Miss May I has turned out 5 studio albums is just 8 years; Deathless follows the very recent release of Rise of The Lion which was released in April of last year. As a heavily active touring band, it only adds to the impressiveness of producing so much work in such a short time. Ultimately, Deathless will be a treat to fans of the band. However, it will fall short to anyone who is not already familiar with the bands work.