The way this review will be structured is I will give you a breakdown of the band, where there from, what genre they fit under etc. I will then move onto the individual songs and review them on a personal level, i will then review the album as a whole and finally finish with a little conclusion!
1. The Band.
Memphis May Fire are an American metalcore band that have risen from Dallas, Texas. The band currently consists of 5 members:
- Matty Mullins – Lead Vocals
- Kellen McGregor – Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
- Anthony Sepe – Rhythm Guitar
- Cortez Elderado – Bass Guitar
- Jake Garland – Drums
MMF have released 3 studio albums so far, Sleepwalking (2009), The Hollow (2011) and Challenger (2012) and are currently taking the world by storm, so far this year they have featured on the ever respected Warped Tour 2013, Slam Dunk Festival and have relentlessly toured the US, Europe and the UK. If you haven’t yet heard of MMF then where have you being sleeping?! You need to listen to these guys if you’re serious about your rock music!
2. The Album.
Challenger is MMF’s 3rd studio album and is full of head banging riffs, piercing cleans and deathly lows. This is a powerful yet intricate album that you need to only need to listen to once to admire but have to listen to countless times to fully appreciate the heart and effort that has gone into this album.
1. Without Walls
The ever faithful metalcore album intro song. Similar to other intro’s it starts with some piano, faded voices and then bursts life with some cracking music. However unlike other intros this for me sets the scene of the whole album, with lyrics like “This is who we are, these are the roads we paved, the strength we found and the mistakes we made along the way.” it shows that this album is full of personal experiences that the band are trying to share with us, the audience..
This intro shows exactly what MMF are about, great lyrics, though short they get to the point, a great riff and sound that makes you want to jump out of your seat and party on down to this amazing album.
2. Alive in the Lights
Straight after you’ve got over your little spree of partying to “Without Walls” you are thrown into the fast paced “Alive in the Lights” which immediately kicks off with an amazing riff and some lows from Matty Mullins. This song immediately shows you the diversity in the voice of Matty and how he can switch between clean vocals and screams and shows just how good of a vocalist he is. It also shows the synergy of the whole band and how they can piece together perfectly to get the emotion out of the individual parts of the track.
“Alive in the Lights” for me is about how Matty or in fact the whole band come alive when they’re on stage and that this is what they were born to do, that they weren’t going to be happy in normal 9-5 job roles and that this is how they truly feel alive.
MMF do it again, they create a song which features everything you expect from an amazing metalcore song, they have the diversity between screams and clean vocals, they have the little solo, they have the killer breakdown and just an overall greatly pieced together bit of music. Fab.
3. Prove Me Right.
Now onto “Prove me Right” one of the best songs on the album, in my opinion of course! I find that “Prove me Right” has some of the best, and most heartfelt lyrics I have heard in a song. Just by listening to this song you can tell that emotionally these lyrics mean a lot to the band.
I find that “Prove me Right” is about MMF’s old Record Label and how that some Record Labels aren’t bothered about their artists unless they are bringing money and that the whole system is based on money and greed. MMF go onto sing about “Where were you when they had no faith in us” and that MMF will always remember how they have being treat by individual people, record labels, anyone. MMF finish this song on a very lyrically strong note and this is one of the best quotes in a song to this day, again, in my opinion.
“count your money and i’ll count my friends, we’ll see who’s richer at the end.”
“Prove me Right” however isn’t just about it lyrics, it has some brilliant music behind it and a simple yet amazingly effective breakdown, complete with Matty’s laughs just to kick the old record label in their face! On a whole this song is brilliantly put together and will be forever one of my favorite songs.
4. Red Tooth and Claw.
“Red Tooth and Claw” tells a tale of heartbreak from Matty and about how he has being through troublesome relationships in the past but how he has come out of them wounded. With lyrics like “You made me so insecure and unsure” again you can tell that there is raw emotion coming straight from the vocal chords of Matty as we have grown to expect with this killer album.
“Red Tooth and Claw” however in my opinion is one of the more average songs in musical senses on the album, as it doesn’t feature much diversity in the song, however one of the best things about this song is the drums, from the little fill at the beginning all the way to the end the drums sound amazing. Great work Jake.
“Vices” was the bands second single off the album, following on from “Prove Me Right” and we can immediately see why, this song has such a strong intro that just makes you want to mosh along! This song, being one of the heavier ones on the record will immediately stand out to metalcore fans as it has some awesome lows from Matty and insane guitar / drum work, it features a killer breakdown and just an amazing feel throughout the song.
“Vices” is about drug / alcohol consumption and how it can take you away from who you really are and that it can make you weak. “Vices” is another song that finishes on an insanely hard hitting set of lyrics that I will leave you with.
“This is my desperate shout! Pull me out! Pull me out! God I need you now.”
“Legacy” is another one of my favorite songs on the album. “Legacy” features a fast paced opening just as we expect from MMF and immediately jumps into some screaming from lead man Matty Mullins, first off listening to the song, you dont really take in the true beauty of it. Upon listening to the song again you will take in the sheer effect the lyrics have on you, this entire song is about following your heart, aiming for your dreams and not missing your chance and I think a lot of people can gain motivation from this song! Simply amazing.
Onto the musical side, this doesn’t let the song down at all, musically this song is amazing, from the backing vocals in the chorus, to the amazing synergy between guitar, bass and drums. I find that the little “reflection period” as I would like to call it when the song goes into a slow section with some piano and clean vocals from Matty it truly hits the spot after all, “when you feel like giving up, when they say it cant be done it’s upto you to show them they’re wrong”.
Another amazing breakdown from MMF to lead upto the ending of the song, I strongly suggest a good couple of listens to this song. It could change your life for the better.
7. Miles Away.
This is one of the slower and more heartfelt songs on the album, it’s about the difficulties and trials of being on tour and being away from the ones you love as Matty sings about being away from his wife for long periods of time and how it in fact isn’t easy.
This song features Sleeping with sirens frontman, Kellin Quinn as he and Matty are notoriously known to be the best of friends.
Some critics say that “Miles Away” is in fact the best song on this album, lyrically it is an amazing song however I don’t think this song shows what MMF are all about, when I think of MMF I think of strong, heavy guitar and drum work.
Not to take anything away from this song as it is still amazing and shows that MMF are capable of diversity in their albums.
This song is in fact about girls that Matty meets on tour, now we have to remember that Matty is in a committed relationship with his wife and would never stray from that path! One of Matty’s pet hates which is what this song is about is the girls on tour that will try and sleep with the band or as Matty puts it “We’re all better off without your disease”
Being one of the heavy songs on the album, this is played in the low tuning of Drop G#, aswell as “Prove me Right” and immediately we are thrown into the anger that has built up in Matty over this sort of event! This song is unforgiving and down right angry at these sort of women, whereas most “Rock stars” would love this sort of thing. Matty in fact hates it, which in my eyes is quite admirable for him to be so devoted to his wife! Keep it up Matty!
9. Losing Sight.
Another one of MMF’s very strong songs and immediately stuck out to me upon first listening to this album, this song is very strong musically and you can tell straight away that MMF put a huge amount of thought into this song as it purely captures how annoyed Matty is at himself.
This song features Danny Worsnop from Asking Alexandria and we can see straight away through listening to this song that Matty is singing about how he sometimes gets down on tour when he knows he shouldnt and that he used to love touring. We can see from his lyrics that it can be hard on tour for anyone, even those who love music as much as MMF.
Lyrics like “Jet lagged and restless and always beat down. The rooms are full but i’m always alone” show how hard it can be on tour, being away from loved ones, being away from home, and just generally being run down and tired!
10. Generation Hate.
Yet another brilliant song from MMF which in fairness on first listen isn’t that special and sounds like most of the other songs on the record, however once again the lyrics pull through for MMF. Straight away we can hear that this song is about cyber bullying and people that “Act big” on the internet.
“You sit at home feeling so strong from behind that screen”
Shows how the internet is full of people trying to make other lives worst and this is the first song that I have heard that is devout to pointing out these flaws in the internet and I believe this song could save a lot of people from cyber bullying if they give this song a listen and take it on board.
Many brownie points to MMF for addressing this issue!
To finish off the album, MMF have thrown the instrumental track, “Vessels” into the mix, which for me captures the album as a whole and gives you the time you need to catch your breath, and reflect on this breathtaking album.
3. On a Whole.
Challenger is an absolute killer album from MMF and they should be extremely proud of what they have created, this album has surely directed a bold statement from MMF that they are here to stay and make a massive impact on the metalcore scene.
Challenger features some very personal and heartfelt lyrics in it’s songs and is a lyrical masterpiece from the band in my opinion. It also features some very synergistic guitar, bass and drum work from the band and just goes to show how comfortable they are with each other and how good of a band they truly are.
I can see MMF going very far and getting as big as the metalcore giants such as Killswitch Engage and Parkway Drive!
I’d give Challenger an 85/100 mark as personally this is one of the best albums i’ve heard and from it to come from a dare i say smaller band than the likes of the big metalcore bands it is simply amazing. I hope MMF can keep going and keep producing brilliance like this as they truly deserve the recognition they are currently getting as from this album we can feel the hardships they have being through and can only wish them the best for their upcoming careers!
First of all, thanks for taking the time out of your day to read this review, if you liked it, please leave a comment, share with your friends, leave me a message or do whatever you want, the world is your oyster after all!
I would like to remind everyone that these are my interpretations of the songs from the album and are my opinions, I mean no disrespect to anyone upon reading these and I hope you enjoy this album as much as I did.
Pick up MMF’s Challenger album from iTunes Here!