2018 is in the books and it was an odd one for recorded efforts. Then again, every year is fucking weird, I’m just trying to make some kind of sentimental point that nobody will actually give a shit about. That aside, a common theme of a great many bands and their releases has been that of survival. Trying to stay afloat in a horribly over-saturated and underappreciated market. Another theme would be excessive use of synth to try and be more appealing to kids, to which I proclaim, FUCK that. Alas, I digress. Hey, look! A new Memphis May Fire record, I bet you want to know what I think about it, don’t you?
Before we start chugging back haterade like any dude named Kyle chugs back energy drinks, I’m admittedly an MMF fan. Maybe not anything recent, but enough that if anything off The Hollow comes prancing across my ears that I’m guaranteed to bang along to that bitch. Broken, is unfortunately a whole different beast to this filthy metalcore fan. I had never wondered what an MMF record would sound like if it was ghostwritten by New Kids On The Block or Motley Crue, but I sure as hell got a taste of it this time around (no that’s not what actually fucking happened). Poppy doesn’t begin to describe this record and neither does watered down. What does describe this record to me is unoriginal, unenthusiastic, and a big fat heaping pile of “please for the love of God like my shit.”
The fact of the matter is the Memphis May Fire have been very back and forth over their career between dropping bangers and dropping flops which of course could be argued for days on end between fans and naysayers. They’re studio quality if nothing else has always been top notch and there’s no difference here with Broken. Everything sounds pin tight in its respective place to create what would normally be a perfectly catchy radio rock song drowning in attempts at synth wave accents to keep everybody’s dicks hard, with one little problem.
Earlier this year, Asking Alexandria dropped their Self Titled release that set the bar for today’s poppy-er metalcore efforts to come. When you’ve got an occurrence like this, followed by at least 3-5 major name bands dropping painfully similar efforts, it’s incredibly tough not to call bullshit on the creative aspect placed here. Take AA’s track “Empire” off said Self Titled record. Catchy tune, off colour compositional aspects for a metalcore band, and a guest feature from hip-hop artist Bingx. Fast forward to today with “Heavy is the Weight” off Broken. Same compositional aspects, a guest feature from hip-hop artist Andy Mineo. Regardless of how you want to look at the song itself, it’s painfully tough to deny that this is one hardcore bite off somebody else’s style.
I truly want to be as subjective as possible here, and I know I’m making some wild ass allegations, but when the dust settles, this record doesn’t do it for me. I can’t sit here reminiscent of tunes like “The Sinner” that made me fall in love with this project, then listen to a track like “Sell My Soul,” which is a flagrant down tune from previous levels of ferocity and creativity in my opinion and keep a straight face at the horrid hypocrisy I’m listening to. Anybody down with cheesy chorus countdowns and 80’s style riffage and group vocals will love the shit out of this record. Anybody that just loves anything frontman Matty Mullins does with his voice will love this record. I, on the other hand, cannot fuckin stand it, take your side and scream at your pillow about it.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Mike Milito