Best of 2016 Playlist

July 20, 2015

Memphis May Fire - "Unconditional: Deluxe Edition" Review

Memphis May Fire is one of those bands with loyal fans, and fervent haters. Either way, the band has built quite the reputation in the metalcore community. Last March they released their 4th album, "Unconditional", and was met with great reception from critics and fans. And now their record company, Rise Records, has decided that like the rest of their bands, MMF will put out a deluxe version of their album. Does it strike out like some of the label's other re-releases? Well... you'll have to read the rest of the review to find out. 

"Unconditional" showed a new, more theatric side to the band. The album is full of double meaning songs, many examining lead singer Matty Mullin's faith. The four new songs off this unnecessary deluxe edition are the opposite. The acoustic versions offer a softer side to the band that was explored in songs like "Miles Away feat. Kellin Quinn", and "Speechless". But new songs "My Generation" and "Stay the Course" pump new life into the album. 

"My Generation" was released in May as the lead single from this re-release. It's a rock influenced metalcore anthem about how our generation deserves to have a voice, as we have the potential to do great things. "Stay the Course" is one of the best songs the band has ever written. It's on the heavier side, and void of breakdowns (a nice change for the genre). They swap out the chugged guitars for a sharp solo. Together, they are a prime example of everything that's write about the band. 

The acoustics add new depth and dimension to the songs, as well as to the band which had been a bit of a metalcore cliche after 4 albums. As the album closers, they fit in perfectly. But as a whole, they don't fit in. Stripped down, and with nothing more than guitars and vocals, both songs don't fit in with the theatrical, movie soundtrack vibe the rest of the album has. But this is a minor flaw. 

"Need to Be" provides an outlet for Matty Mullin's vocals to shine (though if you picked up his debut solo album them you already know how powerful his voice can be). "Beneath the Skin" is even more of a standout as an acoustic number. The message was a bit lost in the original version of the song, which featured far too much chugging, too much of Mullin's deep growled vocals. With acoustic tones, and the softer vocals, the song should have been recorded this way to start. That's not to say the original is lacking, but compared to the acoustic, there's little contest in which is better. The band's ability to shift from metalcore, to a much more "gentle" sound is highlighted in this song. 

Summary - 
Though this is as unnecessary as any of Rise's other deluxe editions, the band produces some of their finest work yet. Memphis May Fire opts for a broader sound, that's also free of the religious double meanings (a plus as some of their songs were coming off a little preachy). Do the four new tracks make the deluxe album worth the extra money? Well, in the grand scheme of things, no. But that doesn't mean you should ignore this re-release, because the new tracks are knock outs.

Favorite Tracks - 
Taking into consideration the whole album, my favorite track would have to be "Sleepless Nights"

Rating - 
Original album - 7.5 to 8/10
With the new tracks - 8/10