Memphis May Fire – The Hollow
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Although they had one previous self-titled EP, Memphis May Fire was officially introduced as a band armed with a fast-paced, rollicking Southern drawl with their 2009 debut record, Sleepwalking. Mixing drop tuned guitars and screams with Southern twanged vocals, Memphis May Fire definitely brought something new to the table with their debut record. However, their sophomore follow-up record, The Hollow, redefines this image of the band – and rather destroys it entirely. Gone is the Southern accent from Matt Mullins’ vocals, gone is the twang of the guitars, gone is the unique nature of the band. Some may welcome this change, while other fans will be completely put off, perhaps dismissing the band entirely. I fall into the former category, respectfully.
Sure, this record brings nothing new to the table, there’s no reason evading that point. The band is the exact product of a Rise Records band in every aspect of their sound and image. With the change in sound came a loss of young creativity, perhaps accidentally. Thus, the result of this change is a lack of any innovation whatsoever, yet at least Memphis May Fire fit the bill for this sound in an ideal way, both musically and vocally.
As gathered from the opening punches of “The Sinner,” Memphis May Fire have become one of the heaviest bands on Rise, as Mullins ferocious screams dominate track after track. The change in clean vocals is evident from the get go as well, with the clean pieces now resembling more of Of Mice & Men’s style than the previous Southern rock of Sleepwalking. The style works best on heavy hitters such as “The Victim,” as heavy and light battle it out of shredding guitars. The lyrics of “your excuses mean nothing when nothing means more than keeping your word” on the track are sure to be fan favorites. At times, however, it is clear that the production needs work, for Mullins’ screams often sound muffled and unclear, a slight hindrance to the record, at that.
The Hollow proves the tightening musicianship of Memphis May Fire, with each member working together to create track after track of destroying chaos. “The Deceived” is a breakdown class, followed by what may be the hardest hit on the record, “The Commanded,” a track of pure fury as Mullins shrieks “the bodies still hunt my dreams!” Encompassing every aspect of the record into one final blow, “The Redeemed” is a crash course of The Hollow, equipped with backbreaking drumming, deafening screams, and drop tuned guitars.
As the record fades out, fans will either be impressed or rather unimpressed, there’s hardly an in between this time around, due to the unexpected change of sound. Each track also lacks any sense of individuality, as each of the ten tracks bleeds together into the others. This lack of alteration definitely takes its toll on the listener, though some tracks do stand out more than others (“The Victim”). Still, if you’re looking for a solid heavy record to give a spin, give The Hollow a chance.
These guys suck now. They delete messages on their Facebook page if you write anything critical, even in a polite way, and have become just another generic Rise band. I'll stick to Sleepwalking and the EP.
not a fan of this review, it's boring and short. thanks for recounting some lyrics for me Ryan, i couldn't have listened to them myself... I'll also pick out my own favorites thank you very much.
the one interesting thing in your review im looking forward to hoping you're wrong about... is in the intro paragraph. "The Hollow, redefines this image of the band – and rather destroys it entirely. Gone is the Southern accent from Matt Mullins’ vocals, gone is the twang of the guitars, gone is the unique nature of the band." I really hope you're wrong about this.
Oh and I'd also like to point out that "Sleepwalking" did NOT introduce MMF to the world, only Matt Mullins. The MMF EP is probably one of my favorite EP's in the genre to date, give credit where credit is due.
I don't know..this band has LOADS of talent, I really hope the stench of this review doesn't ring true when I give it a listen tomorrow. Additionally, I hope they don't fall off like other bands with their sophomore full length.
eh, still sounds better than half the stuff on rise. this band never really caught my attention. a friend burned me their ep a while back, and i thought it was decent, didn't make me want to pick up sleepwalking though. perhaps i'll reconsider.