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Memphis May Fire - Unconditional

Memphis May Fire
by Emily at 20 April 2014, 4:42 AM

With 5 albums under their belt, MEMPHIS MAY FIRE are at the top of their game in creating melodic metal core for the masses. After their 2012 album ''Challenger'' the band knew they had a challenge to beat how successful it was when creating ''Unconditional'', which has taken the band to the point where they can only get heavier and better. MEMPHIS MAY FIRE is in the bracket of new Metalcore bands taking the metal world by storm, they're un-miss able and you can't help but be addicted to listening to their music.

''Unconditional'' opens up with ''No Ordinary Love'' which shows how romantic MEMPHIS MAY FIRE takes their lyrical content with the vocals of Matty Mullins sounding a lot softer too without his normal harsh vocals. But ''No Ordinary Love'' does feel like it's missing something but it's hard to figure out what, you can't tell if it's too pop punk for the band or it's the lack of being as heavy as usual. If you enjoy the music of SLEEPING WITH SIRENS then you're bound to enjoy ''No Ordinary Love''. ''Beneath The Skin'' is a huge improvement for the band compared to the previous track which was sloppy compared to this hardcore hit. The track is automatically stuck in your head when you hear ''Beneath The Skin'' and it won't leave until you've listened to it on repeat over a hundred times. It's a mix of how quickly Matty Mullins hits the highs and harsh vocals in the verse's and chorus's which makes it so good. The track was obviously hard for the band to write with its lyrics speaking about self harm and hard times, but to make it sound like a great track and not too emotional that it's annoying is a huge challenge that MEMPHIS MAY FIRE completely abolished.

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE step their game up and get heavier with ''Sleepless Nights'' which really takes the band out of their comfort zone which you can tell with their different guitar tone. ''Sleepless Nights'' is one of the most popular songs from ''Unconditional'' because it's appealing to its current fan base and new fans who've come across the album who enjoy the heavier side of metal core. MEMPHIS MAY FIRE combine how heavy this is with melodic vocals with a lot of meaning. Compared to their previous back catalogue of music the band have changed a lot but ''Sleepless Nights'' has a sound which is perfect for the band in every aspect. Guitarists Kellen McGregor and Anthony Sepe are what make ''The Answer'' such a catchy song. Without their technical melodies, this track would be boring and unoriginal. It isn't the best but it does have something that MEMPHIS MAY FIRE haven't added before. It's a style of song which you are more likely to hear on ''Challenger'', but there is nothing wrong with going back to the bands roots. By the end of the track you just want to hear a lot heavier from the band, it's a warm up for the rest of the album.

MEMPHIS MAY FIRE come back with vengeance after a plain song with, ''Possibilities'' which combines technical guitars with harsh vocals and simplistic drumming. Matty Mullins vocals are easy to listen to and the lyrics easily get stuck in your head after the first chorus. The beat is fast but simple with Jake Garland on drums, the only bad part to the song is that it lasts just a little too long, and can get annoying when the vocals are extremely repetitive towards the end. ''Possibilities'' just makes you crave more of the heavy Metalcore sound, even if you're new to the genre. A NINE INCH NAILS style is oddly taken with ''Speechless'', but it's very hard to tell if this works with MEMPHIS MAY FIRE's usual sound. Matty Mullins’ clean and sweet vocals suit this simple and mellow style really well when put with just drums and keyboards, but some fans may hate this style when compared to the generic Metalcore they're used too. Overall this track is really something special within such a heavy album, and it really does make you speechless. MEMPHIS MAY FIRE have taken hold of many genre's, but this pop style could work with them if they decide to ditch their metal roots.

As fans of the Dallas quintet know very well, they never stay with one style for too long. ''The Rose'' is a combination of ''Speechless'' and ''Beneath The Skin'' with its keyboards, chugging guitars and occasional clean sweet vocals which slowly develop into the common harsh vocals. But ''The Rose'' is too generic Metalcore , a song you'd find on too many records by the same kind of bands. Nothing massively special is added to this to make it stand out from the rest. Take the keyboards out and down tune the guitars slightly and you have something else. After generic track ''The Rose'' you're craving something more original, a lot, but sadly you're gravely disappointed with ''Not Enough''. The only difference is that it's got a lot more personal lyrics and a little less keyboards, if you made ASKING ALEXANDRIA add inspirational lyrics and tune their guitars differently this is what the finished product would be. MEMPHIS MAY FIRE have so much talent to give, but it feels like in the latter half of the ''Unconditional'' album, they really could not be bothered to improve with their current sound, but only to go backwards two years.

Yet again MEMPHIS MAY FIRE are bringing new ideas to the world in the form of ''Need To Be'', which sounds a lot like ''Miles Away'' from their 2012 album ''Challenger''. The only change being no guest vocals, and a lot more improvement in Matty Mullins vocals when he hits his highs. Songs like this are the most loved by the bands fans so you can see why it was added to ''Unconditional''. The song is sweet and is easy to get stuck in your head with its super simple beats. MEMPHIS MAY FIRE should add more songs like this and a lot of heavier ones too. They are the ones which are the catchiest and most meaningful, the most loved by fans. ''Pharisees'' is full of pure hate and anger which is a huge change from the bands usual romantic and kind hearted vocals which inspire self help. Matty Mullins vocals quickly switch from clean to harsh vocals with added growls which only compliment the melodic Hardcore guitars. The breakdown at 3.51 is something you won't find in any song in the world with it's funky bass tones and guitar riffs with added anger. It's always good for a band to change lyric styles, it experiments with what suits them and it was time for MEMPHIS MAY FIRE to let some of the anger out which was locked away for so long. ''Unconditional'' ends with ''Divinity'' which takes the band back to its roots of typical metal core with pop punk influences. Every member of MEMPHIS MAY FIRE is at top form in this track with it's tempo that makes you want to join a mosh pit instantly due to how fun ''Divinity'' is. It's a track that grows on you but you end up loving it and having stuck in your head for weeks. Lyrically it follows 8/11 of the songs of the album but it just has a little bit of something that is hard to figure out to make it special for the final song.

''Unconditional'' is an album different to their previous work, a lot heavier but with some songs reflecting back to the beginning of their career. MEMPHIS MAY FIRE are a band growing constantly and will continue till they release their last album. They are a band full of pure talent.

4 Star Rating

1. No Ordinary Love
2. Beneath The Skin
3. Sleepless Nights
4. The Answer
5. Possibilities
6. Speechless
7. The Rose
8. Not Enough
9. Need To Be
10. Pharisees
11. Divinity
Matty Mullins – Vocals
Kellen McGregor – Lead Guitar
Anthony Sepe – Rhythm Guitar
Cory Elder - Bass
Jake Garland - Drums
Record Label: Rise Records


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Edited 30 January 2023

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