When they erupted onto the scene in 2006 as Oh Captain, My Captain, Dallas natives Memphis May Fire made quite the splash with their early releases. Critically, the last couple of efforts have not been received well, though – the band became preachy but still maintained a gritty Metalcore sound, however, the output contained nothing to really awe the audiences.
The last couple of years have seen the world presented with more radio-friendly Metalcore albums. It has worked for Asking Alexandria and hopefully it will continue to work for Bring Me The Horizon, but Broken (Rise Records) is a calculated album, a recipe of self-help anthems, mundane and failing to trigger any innovative or progressive sparks. It’s just another Memphis May Fire album that, like the title suggests, is broken and needs to put together in a better way.
The lead single ‘The Old Me’ was a precursor to the lack of inspiration that would be evident on the album. Many of the tracks, like ‘Sell My Soul’, ‘Who I Am’, and ‘Over It’ are catchy but simple and the band fails to construct a different persona for each track. And it has nothing to do with the band dismissing the progressive Southern Hardcore that charmed fans—Broken just mushes together with never really having a standout moment.
So, what is good in this album? It’s really hard to remember. Five songs in is ‘Heavy Is The Weight’ where finally there is a vocal melody that is catchy and groovy until it hits you with the most unnecessary Rap during the bridge: experimentation is good but more caution should have been used here. The penultimate track ‘You and Me’ has a beautiful ambiance where guitar riffs intertwine nicely with a piano and synths that fit perfectly; the slowest song of the record really takes you back and reminds you as a listener that this band could still have potential.
On previous efforts, Memphis May Fire really excelled at the banging breakdowns that transcend and submit energetic fire through the sound waves, but on this album, they lack vitality and all the riffs and lyrics are generic. Lyrically, it’s another album riding the self-help wave, which is not a bad thing, but in this case is done so poorly and feel whiney, and ‘Sell My Soul’ Matty Mullins sings about not wanting to be another generic band while, ironically, delivering a generic, cheap album.
Perhaps, Memphis May Fire are having their Taylor Swift moment here where they’ll attract new, young listeners with Broken and will put them on to their better efforts, but this sixth effort really misses the mark and is just as dull as anything currently on the pop charts.