Miss May I - 'Shadows Inside' Album Review
1. Shadows Inside
2. Under Fire
3. Never Let Me Stay
4. My Destruction
7. Swallow Your Teeth
8. Death Knows My Name
9. Lost In The Grey
10. My Sorrow
I consider myself extremely lucky here at 3 Songs & Out. The opportunity to listen and review bands of all degrees of ability and fame (or in some cases, infamy!). I’m always excited to see what our editor-in-chief Mr F has in store for me. So when he presents me with the new Miss May I album 'Shadows Inside', I practically snapped his arm off. The reason being, Miss May I are one of the first bands that my partner introduced me to when I first started listening to Metalcore and similar genres. 'Monument', their second album, was ermm… Monument-al to my appreciation of this style of music and continues to influence both the bands that I am in or have been in.
Now, enough of the History lesson. It appears the five-piece Metalcore outfit from Ohio have been busy. It was announced in June last year that Miss May I had left Rise Records and that they were releasing a new album in 2017. 'Shadows Inside' is a ten-track album released in June, following a similar pattern to its predecessors. Weighing in at about 34 minutes, the time really does fly when you listen to it, but I feel that it demonstrates their dedication to maintaining quality, rather than just slamming tracks in to “fill it out”. You won’t find any filler in this album…
The first track, 'Shadows Inside' starts with a thunderous intro, a real set opener. Only a minute or so in and you’re hit with Ryan Neff’s haunting cleans and Levi Benton’s gritty and guttural vocals. It feels like classic MMI, yet subtly refined. The chorus is very hooky, with harmonising guitar riffs from BJ Stead & Justin Aufdemkampe complimenting the vocals perfectly. As the old saying goes: You don’t fuck with a winning formula… or something like that.
Next up was 'Under Fire' – This is how I feel Bullet For My Valentine wished they sounded. Nordic sounding guitar riffs, the verse bares resemblance to August Burns Red. Neff’s vocals are so powerful and distinctive throughout, I’m so glad that they’ve stayed true to their sound and kept clean vocals.
'Never Let Me Stay' brings about a totally different dynamic. MMI aren’t in the business of rewriting the same song 10 times over, as the track has almost a Deftones/Linkin Park vibe to it, yet you’re still very aware that it’s MMI. They never lose their unique sound for a second, with the drums distinctly setting the dynamic and general feel of the track.
'My Destruction' opens with Spanish sounding acoustic guitar. This is my second favourite from this album, it has a very Parkway feel to it, but more like their recent album, 'Ire'. This one is a huge track, with so much potential live. You can almost see yourself shouting back to the band in the chorus, definitely one to be seen in the flesh.
'Casualties is one of the heavier tracks in the album. Benton’s vocals are taut and aggressive, with intense guitar and double pedal madness from Boyd. Just when you think you couldn’t bang your head any more, Neff comes in with his resolving clean vocals. There’s simply no melody that he can’t sell to the listener.
'Crawl' is my favourite track on the album. This is a true flex of MMI muscle. It starts with Neff setting the tone, Boyd and the guitarists creating a reserved yet surging verse. I cannot stop singing the chorus from this song it’s incredible. What I love about it the most, is that after a few times listening to it, you can hear Benton complimenting the melody with his growl. This is a truly stellar track, I’d go so far as to say the best I’ve heard this year at 3 Songs.
'Swallow Your Teeth' is another standard MMI track, heavy sounding riffs with a real emphasis on Neff’s bass. Stead & Aufdemkampe are writing riffs that don’t sound so complex as to put off the listener or detract from the other members, yet you can hear the subtle intricacies that make them stand out as guitarists. This is especially important in a genre where a great number of bands fall victim to either downtuned muddy open fret noise, or just plain ridiculous fret-wanking that I, quite frankly, find unbearable.
'Death Knows My Name' and 'Lost In The Grey' further demonstrate Stead and Aufdemkampe’s incredible ability to write solid riffs and wail like the best of them. Boyd’s drums are incredible in 'Death Knows My Name'. Full of tight breakdowns, this is a track to see live and get angry, harking back to their Monument years.
The final track, 'My Sorrow' starts with one last audible assault from Benton and the boys. The song’s bridge is one last chance to hear Neff’s incredible clean vocals, leading to a dramatic and profound ending.
All in all, despite only being just over half an hour long, the replayability of this album is solid and it serves as evidence that a band can progress in their sound whilst still retaining what makes them unique as a collective. It’s the kind of album that’s made me seriously consider booking a cheap flight to Berlin just to see these lads play (this being the closest venue you’ll see them play this summer). The Verdict: What are you still reading this for? Go listen to this album!
Website - www.missmayimusic.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/missmayi/
Review - Cee Gregory