Ideally, if everything goes to plan, a record should take you on a journey. Whatever your genre, there should be a place for the intense, the subdued and the memorable. When compiling your record, this flow should be taken into account. In a recent developer diary with Enter Shikari, the band take the viewer through their song selection process, a highly scientific-looking graph with each track plotted upon it, the axes demarking a scale of accessibility and experimentalism.
This might seem like some extreme lengths to go to to get the right balance in your album, to give those 45 minutes a sense of journey, but if all is executed right the effect is seamless. Each facet of your sound is represented and the listener is carried through the experience in the ebb and flow of it. Of course, this is all well and good for Enter Shikari who find themselves in a position to diversify. It’s understandable that those flying the flag for metalcore may struggle to find more options at their disposal.
Miss May I are solid at what they do. They know all the tropes and they’ve got the chops to pull of the genre characteristics. Previous releases ‘Monument’ and ‘At Heart’ were melodic and aggressive, just as all good metalcore should be, and ‘Rise Of The Lion’ is no different. There’s all the requisite palm-muting you need to accompany a storm in the pit, and a steady trigger pedal heart-beat drives each track to keep your head bobbing. There are some gnarly vocals (‘Lunatik’, ‘Tangled Tongues’) from Levi Benton which are offset nicely by Ryan Neff‘s radio-friendly, if slight-divisive, clean accompaniment.
There’s chest beating, red faces and all the typical themes that angry young men enjoy singing about. The blueprint is faithfully replicated in 10 three and a half minute slabs, the catharsis of tracks like ‘Gone’ and ‘You Want Me’ positively palpable, but, it’s hard to escape the repetition of it all. Going back to my previous point, ‘Rise Of The Lion’ isn’t a journey. Instead, what we get is a series of laps around a well-worn racetrack, the tarmac of which was laid by Killswitch Engage about 15 years ago.
Written by Grant Bailey