Miss May I continues their progression within the metal scene with their fourth studio release, “Rise of the Lion.” Sticking true to their signature metal sound, Miss May I manages to continue developing their style without losing their power and passion. Interestingly enough, the band brought back their well-known lion design for this release and used it as they launched an impressive promotional campaign that got everyone talking. So, how does “Rise of the Lion” stack up against their previous releases?
Without hesitation I’d say that the musicianship on this album proves to be their most refined yet, and drives their progression forward. The forceful drums make a great addition to the complex guitar parts, and the balance between the two is masterfully accomplished. Prior to the album’s release there were some who compared the melodic guitars in “Rise of the Lion” to older Killswitch Engage material. This, indeed, got me pumped about the album, and it delivers. The chorus melody in “Gone” could make any music connoisseur grin in delight! Though, the great melodic aspects of the album should not take away from the heavy-hitting parts. The dynamic breakdowns and uber-metal riffs are impressive enough to sell any metal-fan.
Levi Benton (vocals) and Ryan Neff (clean vocals) continue to drive the vocal aspect of Miss May I on “Rise of the Lion.” Benton’s screams are ambitious, yet do not vary much. However, his voice remains commanding and compelling. The lyrics in “Refuse to Believe” passionately proclaim,
Sometimes I want to look in the mirror / And know who I see
Sometimes I want to ask that ghost / Is this really me?
These heart-felt lyrics prove to stand out as the catchiest line from the song, which can be seen as unfortunate. This could be interpreted as unfortunate because Ryan Neff also sings in this song, but doesn’t fill out this song in a “great” way. Throughout the album, the singing doesn’t seem to shine through as it does on standout tracks like “Gone,” or “You Want Me.” Nevertheless, Benton and Neff weave their energetic styles into the band’s music, thus creating a full effect.
“Rise of the Lion” combines many elements from Miss May I’s previous releases, and capitalizes on them in a huge way. This album also remains true to their metal roots, and surely there will be many who find pleasure in that. With heavy and melodic guitar riffs, blasting drums, and solid vocals, “Rise of the Lion” is a record worth checking out!