With 2011’s stunning ‘The Hollow’, Texas qunitet Memphis May Fire produced a textbook example of how tuneful, chorus fuelled metalcore can still pack a serious punch, even years after the formula had seemingly lost its bite. Barely a year hence, we could be forgiven for thinking that the band would struggle to generate the same buoyancy of last year’s release, which makes ‘Challenger’ an all the more surprising triumph.
Opening with the sinster pianos and beatdown led snarl of ‘Without Walls’, it’s clear the band’s angsty aggression is still very much a forefront weapon in their employ. ‘Alive In The Lights’ follows with a glut of chunky riffing and enraged vocal barks, before descending into some sparkling melodies. First single ‘Prove Me Right’ continues in very much the same vein, with an explosive chorus buffering some southern tinged guitar pummeling, and from here on out we’re treated to a veritable feast of contagiously melodic tunes.
Indeed, what makes ‘Challenger’, and Memphis May Fire throughout their career thus far, such a consistently engaging listen is the constantly stellar hooks from vocalist Matty Mullins. Always able to inject a moment of shimmering brillance between the chugging barbarism, tracks such as the massive ‘Vices’ and a full throttle ‘Legacy’ deliver sucker punch screams and soaring passages of melancholia which will leave the listener overwhelmed with the amount of infectiousness. Special mention also must be awarded to the fantastic ‘Miles Away’, a slow burning number which builds on some sumptuous melodies until a towering cresendo finish.
It really is a testament to Memphis May Fire‘s talents that they’ve delivered such a solidly commendable album. ‘Challenger’ marries flawlessly with the band’s irrefutable strengths, and with a continued flourishing such as we are seeing currently, there’s no telling what treats we’re in store for next.
Written by Tony Bliss