Over the years, the name “Memphis May Fire” has become nearly synonymous with the genre commonly referred to as metalcore. Some love metalcore, some not so much, but regardless of your preference, it’s hard to deny that Memphis May Fire is one of the best the genre has to offer. From the guitars chugging away in dropped tunings, to the breakdowns, to the versatility of Matty Mullins’ vocals, the band offers a variety of things to love, and more recently, a few laid back tunes have even made their way into the band’s catalog, showing off their ability to maintain the listener’s interest with some slower, melodic, catchy material.
This past October, the band released the eagerly anticipated follow-up to “Unconditional”, “This Light I Hold”, and it did not by any means disappoint. The album featured everything fans of the band have loved over the years and then some. In addition to the heavy riffs, breakdowns, and catchy choruses that caused many to come back album after album, this one featured some new and more adventurous guitar leads than we’ve heard in the past. The vast majority of the album is heavier and pretty consistent with what anyone who is familiar with the genre would likely expect, though it does seem as though Mullins has opted to go a little lighter on the screaming this time around. His screams are as good as ever, there just seems to be a slight decrease in their use from their previous album, “Unconditional” and, in their place, there’s a bit more singing, which, if you enjoy Mullins’ voice like I do, is a definite plus. Lyrically, the album covers a variety of subjects, from uncertainty about oneself, to dwelling on the past, to frustration/determination with using music to speak on matters of faith, to hope and faith itself. No matter where you’re at, you’re sure to find the lyrics very relatable, and more than likely, in more than one case.
When you take all of these things and put them together, and throw in guest appearances by Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach and Larry Soliman formerly of My American Heart, you have an album that you’ll keep coming back to. “This Light I Hold” combines just about everything you could want in a heavy album and does so in a way that keeps things fresh from the opening to the closing track. Upon familiarizing myself with the album (I keep it going over and over in the car), I frequently find myself thinking, “Oh good, this one again!” If you’ve been a fan of what Memphis May Fire has had to offer in the past, there’s no doubt in my mind that this album will be high up in your listening rotation. And if you haven’t really listened to them much before now, this album would make for a great place to start.