Sound — 7
When you're five albums into your career it becomes a point where you ask yourself if you've made yourselves well known yet. Troy, Ohio metallers Miss May I have certainly made the high status of doing such, from touring with bands such as Of Mice & Men, Whitechapel, Killswitch Engage, For The Fallen Dreams, Five Finger Death Punch, All That Remains, and of course being on Mayhem and Vans Warped Tour lineups for certain years. Ever since they had toured with KsE, these guys have been pushing their limits on who to tour with, and it's most certainly paid off, and given them a ton of exposure. It was mainly the FFDP and ATR tour who I think made them become bigger than ever. A couple of years ago I never would've thought they would make it this far. In fact, ever since Levi took a new approach on "At Heart" with his vocals, I didn't think people would still enjoy the band, but given that they got on a tour with one of their main influences, it was clear that they would keep moving forward. With all of that said, I literally just read an interview where the band was close to breaking up. Read that here. And it's clear that they're not overly happy with their lives, or at least Levi isn't.
In the opening track, "I.H.E." (also lead single) it's given with the line "I hate everything. I hate everyone." And even the chorus Ryan bellows, "My thoughts are fading and the weight is pushing me down deeper in my grave, but I cannot escape if I'm already underground, beneath the agony. In a wake I try to breathe, drowning in my dreams." Granted, people may find the first lyric really immature, but let's face it, we've all been there, and this is metalcore. Keep in mind that Ryan Neff sounds a LOT like Adam Gontier (former Three Days Grace lead vocalist) on songs such as these. Other songs, such as "Bastards Left Behind," "Turn Back the Time," "Empty Promises," and "Born From Nothing" really give off that Adam Gontier vibe in Ryan's vocals. It may be weird to say this, but the opening riff of "Bastards" sounds a bit like "You're Not Alone," and "Turn Back the Time"'s intro riff sounds a bit like "You Make Me Sick" both by Of Mice & Men. Granted, most bands in metalcore can sound similar at times, but there's also the bands that lead the genre that don't sound anything like other bands. I have yet to hear Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red, Darkest Hour, Every Time I Die, Haste The Day, Shadows Fall, Converge, Unearth, or Oh, Sleeper, (just to give a few examples) rip off or sound like another band in the genre.
Speaking of ripping off, I seriously do believe that Miss May I did this on "Empty Promises." Typically, when I listen to an album for the very first time I don't tend to notice these things, and if I do, I usually brush it off, or just say it sounds similar. When I first heard this song, I automatically placed it as my favorite song from the album, just because the riffs are great. I knew it sounded familiar, but it was on my second or third listen where I noticed it sounds exactly like "Beyond the Flames" by Killswitch Engage. Now, the thing is, I would pass this off if MMI weren't overly influenced by them, but they've even stated that they are, and have toured with them before. They did this a few years ago with "Masses of a Dying Breed," but it was just mainly the intro riff that sounded like "Whoracle" by In Flames. Granted, I still enjoy this band, regardless, but they need some originality in some places, and that can be said about other bands who rip off others. That said, there is still some quality stuff in the sound section here.
"Rise of the Lion" (their last album) was where they started using guitar solos, so I definitely respected that, and it definitely held me up on the listens. They continue that guitar solo work most notably on "I.H.E.," "Deathless," "Empty Promises," and "Born From Nothing." Speaking of "Born From Nothing," it is my favorite song. It's got some great blast beats, amazing tremolo picking, cool effects, Ryan's melodic vocals, and riffs that remind me of Killswitch Engage. Ryan is the one who has improved the most on this album, even though he has always been a solid vocalist, this time around he's proven how much of the backbone he makes for the band. He could even front his own band. Songs like "Deathless," "Turn Back the Time," and "The Artificial" instantly prove that.
Lyrics — 6
Most of the lyrics on this album tend to come across as the typical metalcore lyrics you find from bands who can't stop talking about topics such as "I will never give up, I will fight for my life." That said, the lyrics aren't a train wreck, but there's nothing entirely impressive. The last two albums I found a few gems here and there, but this album seems to mix most of the interesting topics with the generic ones that was found mainly on their first two albums. On "Trust My Heart (Never Hope to Die)" they bring up their favorite animal that was found on their first two albums, and the last one. "There's a lion's will inside of me beating harder, inspiring. When the flatline comes, I have to be the one who will carry myself though the trials of life, finding no surrender in sight."
On "Deathless," Levi gets a bit interesting, but still nothing to be overly excited over. "Bring me back now to the surface so I can feel at ease. Exhausted from all my attempts of being more and always seen as less. Write me off this list of disasters. I am over being mortified. Let me reach the summit to look down at my wasted life. All I desire is a hint of serenity after all the passion you have taken from me." "Born From Nothing" probably has the best lyrics, if anything. "To who I was, I'm not running from the past. I'm running from what I am afraid I'll become. A life born from nothing with no one here to guide me. Thrown to the wolves, drained from what I could be. This will no longer be my demise. I've left that life. Now I feel alive."
Overall Impression — 8
The problem with "Deathless" is that there is still two or three songs that did nothing for me, much like how "Rise of the Lion" was. Is this album better than that one? In some sections, yes, but these guys are still a long way from having me being fully impressed. I definitely see the effort, but songs, such as the "Arise" are overshadowed by constantly chugs that really make me question if these guys have stayed under that Risecore tag.
With songs like "Deathless," giving off a huge AILD vibe in the guitar work, and songs like "Born From Nothing" giving off a huge KsE vibe in the guitar work, they certainly sound like they're trying to get somewhere, but overall I still think they haven't formed their own sound yet. This album basically fuses the generic moments found on their first two albums with more of well written riffs and guitar solos found on the last two albums. This album title may have just been used by Revocation last year, but it doesn't make this album bad. In fact, I definitely think these guys are on the higher end when it comes to the newer generation of metalcore. Let's just see if their next album or so has solid content all around so they can get a higher score than just a 7/10 like they have been for years in my world.