Memphis May Fire – Unconditional
Successfully following up a record that was as commercially viable as it was lauded by the fans can be tricky, yet Memphis May Fire have done just that with Unconditional.
Memphis May Fire had earned themselves a devoted (albeit niche) following in their formative years, however it was the release of 2012’s Challenger that saw the Texan metalcore mob morph from support act to bona fide headliner. The requisite chart appearances and Warped Tour dominations soon followed, with the group now firmly established as one of the genre’s leading lights. No mean feat when you consider the sheer number of similar acts in the genre all attempting to claw their way to the top of the metalcore mountain.
Successfully following up a record that was as commercially viable as it was lauded by the fans can be tricky, yet Memphis May Fire have done just that with Unconditional, delivering an album that is familiar enough to ensure listener loyalty while expanding on their palette in a way that won’t turn off those who have grown comfortable with the troupe’s creative output.
Lead single “No Ordinary Love” sees Matty Mullins and Kellen McGregor showing off the more accessible side of their vocal repertoire, focusing on the track’s anthemic choruses more so than the guttural moments that originally put Memphis May Fire on the map. Those looking for something a little heavier don’t have to wait long as “Beneath The Skin” opts for a more bombastic approach, immediately beating the listener around the head with a series of clinically executed breakdowns and roared one-liners, courtesy of the multi-faceted Mullins.
The more aggressive side of the five-piece continues to take centre stage throughout “Sleepless Nights” and “The Answer,” breaking for a well-executed stab at arena rock greatness with the radio-friendly “Possibilities”, the chorus of which you’re likely to hear on digital radio in the coming months.
As a respite from the much harder elements that are found within Unconditional, “Speechless” does the job, but a lack of genuine punch leaves it sounding like a poor man’s Saosin (and that’s not a good thing, FYI). The disc is quick to recover however, dropping a roaring cluster of songs that cover the Memphis May Fire playbook in equal measure, before closing out with the predictably epic but no less impressive “Divinity”.
Unconditional is hardly a game changer by any stretch, but for Memphis May Fire album number four is all about consolidation.
The Essential Track: “Possibilities” – Coming to a Marvel spin-off this summer.