Memphis May Fire continue their hot-streak in the heavy music scene with their latest release, “Unconditional.” It’s hard to categorize Memphis May Fire under a certain genre, as they have blended post-hardcore and southern rock influences to create a distinct sound. This time around, MMF stick to the signature sound they developed in their last record, “Challenger,” and unfortunately do not deviate much from that formula. So, the question that everyone may have is, “What does ‘Unconditional’ have to offer the listener?”
Well, I’ll have to start with the most positive thing on this record: the lyrical content. Matty Mullins (vocals) delves deeper into his personal faith and hopes to share his views with the world. The title “Unconditional” is most likely a reference to the unconditional love of God, and our inevitable failures which call for His grace. On the song “Beneath the Skin,” Mullins cuts to the heart of self-harm among the youth of the world, and opens our eyes to the effects of others actions.
Is our generation too blind to see true beauty lies beneath the skin / So ignorant
Another standout track from this release is “Divinity,” the closing song on the album. Mullins continues his pursuit of hope, allowing the listener to feel the power of his words. He talks about our divine place in God’s plan, and the personal process of making a change to accomplish our purpose.
God makes no mistakes / You are a miracle story
Mullins’ vocal style is one that is extremely hard to find in this genre of music. With commanding screams, and melodic singing, he reigns as one of the top vocalists of this style today. A skill that should be thoroughly respected because of the amount of difficulty that is required to seamlessly switch between the two.
With the better elements of “Unconditional” in mind, there are some others that should be placed under scrutiny. When MMF released their first single “No Ordinary Love” I almost instantaneously began thinking one thing: Challenger Part 2. The instrumental aspect of this band hadn’t changed at all, and left more to be desired. Their signature sound, developed in Challenger, has become a monotonous wave of songs that, at times, seem virtually indistinguishable. Some listeners will even notice a lot of the “bouncy” riffs in the album sound the same as they did in the previous album. That isn’t to say that there are not some great musical aspects in this release, but my overall impression was that of repetitiveness.
Regardless of my opinion, if you are a fan of their last release, you should pick up “Unconditional.” You’ll get an earful of blasting drums, intricate guitars, and some memorable vocals.