Unconditional review by Memphis May Fire

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Mar 25, 2014
  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 6.7 (26 votes)
Memphis May Fire: Unconditional

Sound — 5
If you listened to this band 3-4 years ago, you would've never have thought of how big of a fan base they would get in just a matter of months. "The Hollow" is said to be basically their breakthrough (or best) album in many MMF fan's minds. Barely even a year later, "Challenger" came out. Many were disappointed, but I thought it was just as good as "The Hollow." I think the main reason why people were disappointed was because they saw how much money they were making, and how much their songs have become mainly about Matty. I've never met these guys before or have seen them live, but Matty Mullins seems to be one of the big figures in today's metalcore scene. Having been on Warped Tour for 2 years in a row is huge. I don't know if it got to Matty's mind, but there was a lot of controversy between him and The Amily Affliction's lead vocalist, about how Matty was basically calling girls "sluts" for what they were dressed as and how he has a wife. That, and bias about him aside, I honestly stand neutral about him as a person. I don't know him personally, nor have I ever met him before. As for his vocals, the singing is decent, and the uncleans are alright, but all in all, they seem a bit weak in comparison to their previous material. Nothing really grabbed my attention. The drums sound insanely processed on some tracks. It's too bad, because Jake is an amazing drummer. The guitars/bass break no new grounds. All in all, the sound is just boring, and feels uninspired and rushed.

Lyrics — 5
Lyrically, they seemed to have used a lot of the same aspects that were found on "Challenger" and some Christian related themes. "No Ordinary Love" rolls through with a cool main riff as the first track off the album, but other that, there really is nothing else special about it. "Speechless" and "Need to Be" were the only soft songs on the album. "Need to Be" most certainly showcases a cool theme.

"With every letter I read, 
I see their desperate cries to find the missing piece.
They just want to believe
someone can take away the burdens they carry.
Who am I to be here?
I am no different than them.
We are the same you see?
I wear my heart on my sleeve
For everyone to see
The man I want to be.
I just hope they see you
When they look at me,
because you are everything that I need to be.
My heart is heavy & torn,
Weighed down by all my mistakes & the chains I've worn.
A constant struggle with fear,
Unsure if I was enough from the day I was born.
But you see the beauty in my flaws;
you pick me up when I fall,
show me the way when I am lost.
In the eye of the storm you show me I'm not alone
& give me strength to carry on!
I wear my heart on my sleeve
For everyone to see
The man I want to be.
I just hope they see you when they look at me,
cause you are everything that I need to be."

The only other track that really stood out to me, lyrically, is "Pharisees."

"Somewhere along the line you must have missed the point, this is not about you. 
You twist the words of The Gospel to glorify yourself, but this is not about you!
Take the spotlight off the things that you've done & realize he did what you never could.
He carries the weight that you could never hold & even if you had the chance you never would.
You think you're superior?
Do you really think belittling is the cure?

You walk around with your head held high as if you're not the one that's living a lie.
You're living a lie!
What makes you think that you'll change their minds?
They'll never see the light if all you preach is hate from a mountain top that you couldn't climb."

The album finishes with "Divinity," a song that opens up with piano. This sort of reminded me "Artist Vs. Who?" by Secrets. So all in all, that track did not impress me very much. All of the other songs are basically about Matty's love life or his relationship with God.

Overall Impression — 6
Not a terrible album, but not a very good album either. I really was not expecting much after hearing the singles. If you really enjoyed "Challenger" then you may like this. I liked "Challenger," but I found that that was when they were starting to go downhill. I don't know if these guys are in for the money and fame, but this album seems a bit like rehashed material from "Challenger." Who knows. Maybe they'll keep selling out arenas like they've been doing. They may just become as huge as Sleeping With Sirens or Asking Alexandria one day (irony is that all 3 vocalists are "friends"). This album could sell as much as Issues new album will, but I don't think it will beat Of Mice & Men's. My favorite tracks are "Need to Be," "Pharisees," and "The Rose."

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Over produced, chug-a-lug metal. I loved The Hollow, and even like Challenger, but this album was so bland. The lyrics were preachy, and hard to relate to. Matty is clearly a talented writer with crazy flow, but what he wrote about just alienated me from a once down-to-earth band. I have nothing against Matty and his faith, but he needs to get off his Jesus train if he wants to stay relevant with fans of all shapes and colors. Matty recently said in an AP article "I'm defined by God and not by anybody else. You can take that and run with it or stop listening to my band." Matty, it's cool that your a very devoted christian, but until you write another down to earth album like The Hollow, I'm done with MMF.
    And also, where did the guitar riffs go? All I heard on this album was power chord after power chord
    The vocals are way too loud. This band are such sell outs, cry moar all you faggots I know what I'm talking about, go **** your mothers.