Album Review: Miss May I - 'Deathless'

14 August 2015 | 3:01 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Par for the core.

The ‘metalcore’ label generally encompasses the interplay of clean vocals and unclean vocals, with few bands managing to do it without becoming embroiled in a formulaic mess. Miss May I, by all accounts, have been successful in getting away with following that specified path for a long time now. ‘Deathless’, their new record, is a mere continuation.

The playout of this album includes, but is not exclusive to, proclamations of ‘I hate everything/I hate everyone’ on ‘I.H.E.’, which isn’t cathartic so much as unoriginal, and a typical screaming verse/singing chorus combo. If marks were awarded for consistency in repetition, Miss May I would be sitting on an A+. It’s difficult to remember the songs in light of the fact that they predominantly conform to a similar structure, with alike themes and an expected attitude. Is this outfit really that reticent to change?

To be fair, ‘Deathless’ isn’t completely spoiled; it does possess redeeming traits that render it at least half enjoyable. ‘Trust My Heart (Never Hope To Die)' has an underlying emphasis on empowerment, and ‘Psychotic Romantic’ poses a slight deviation from a conventional structure. Titular track ‘Deathless’ leans more towards authentic catharsis than an embodiment of the Rise Records back catalogue. ‘Arise’ and ‘The Artificial’ both prove that Levi Benton is equipped with an impressive set of pipes to rival scene buddies Vic Fuentes and Caleb Shomo. Probably one of the best moments on the album occurs on ‘Turn Back the Time’, when guitars hammer fast enough to equal the rhythmic effect of a beating drum.

Having said that, stand out moments don’t take away from the fact that what would otherwise be solid songs blur together and lose their impact. There are songs on ‘Deathless’ that Jarrod Alonge could have written when critiquing the alternative scene on ‘Beating A Dead Horse, and that’s one, among many, of the reasons that the generic term ‘Risecore’ has stuck to bands like Miss May I. 'Deathless' sees no evolution for the band, continuing to dig out techniques from a bag of old tricks.

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It seems to be the case that many releases from established bands fall into somewhat of a duality, being 50% frustrating and 50% enjoyable. Miss May I’s ‘Deathless’ is an appropriate record fitting that framework. It’s not a product completely rotten, but ‘Deathless’ certainly isn’t bringing anything to the table that we can refer to as fresh.

1. I. H. E.

2. Trust My Heart (Never Hope to Die)

3. Psychotic Romantic

4. Deathless

5. Bastards Left Behind

6. Arise

7. Turn Back the Time

8. Empty Promises

9. The Artificial

10. Born From Nothing