‘Miss May I’ always pride themselves in being “one of the hardest working bands in the metal genre“, and their 5th studio album under Rise Records, Deathless, certainly backs up that statement. The band from Troy, Ohio team up once again with producer Joey Sturgis, who previously worked with the band on their first two albums. Also Joining them in the studio is producer, Nick Sampson, who has previously worked with the likes of ‘Asking Alexandria’, ‘Of Mice & Men’ and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’.
Deathless is certainly ambitious as it tries to offer something a little different with each track, while still retaining their signature Metalcore style. The opening track, “I.H.E.” sets the tone with a slow guitar intro before kicking into a riff that sounds almost thrash-inspired, with energetic drums and vocalist Levi Benton giving us a face-melting scream. However, it’s when the chorus kicks in that ‘Miss May I’ unleash their secret weapon. Bassist Ryan Neff really changes up’s tone of the song with his rough but pleasantly melodic vocals; a trend which continues throughout this album. This song ends with a brutal breakdown, contrasting greatly and effectively with the cleaner, popier chorus.
However, the first track was just a taste of what is in store throughout the rest of the album. Each track brings something different to the table, whether it’s blistering guitar solo’s, face-stomping breakdowns, super fast double-bass drumming or powerful vocal melodies. ‘Miss May I’ also do a great job of mixing up the song structure every now and then. Just when you think you know what to expect from a track, something creeps up and kicks you from behind. A great example of this is “Psychotic Romantic”, which is the only song on the album that doesn’t feature Ryan Neff’s clean vocals; choosing to focus more on heavy guitar riffs & breakdowns and Levi’s Benton’s satisfying screams.
The title track, “Deathless” really sums up the overall sound of this album and the ‘Miss May I’ sound in general. Giving us that balance between brutally heavy guitar tones, breakdowns and screams and the contrasting melodic guitar riffs, solos and at times beautiful clean vocal melodies.
“Bastards Left Behind” and “Empty Promises” are obvious stand-out tracks from the LP. The former gives us a solid guitar riff in the verses with some cool effects on the lead guitar and mesmerising drums. The chorus gives us the clean vocals that we’ve come to expect by this point, but keeps the guitars reletively simple with chords. This song also gives us a full length guitar solo which sounds very reminiscent of Bullet For My Valentine.
Meanwhile the latter, “Empty Promises”, goes for a more classic metal-core style riff, with minimal guitars, allowing the vocals take center mix just a little more as Neff sings some of the higher notes that are absent from the rest of the album.
While Deathless does many things well, it does feel like it’s playing things a little on the safe side. It doesn’t really do anything new for the metal-core genre, but it does manage to secure the classic metal-core sound, while also giving out something that may appeal to metal fans that don’t usually buy into this genre. The album as a whole doesn’t set any new trends, but it is extremely big, loud and angry.
Deathless is out now on Rise Records