Challenger, released on June 26th through Rise Records, consists of 11 songs that could only be the work of Dallas natives, Memphis May Fire. MMF is most notably known for their unparalleled sound that could be described as post-hardcore with a hint of southern twang. While they seem to have evolved since the release of their debut, Sleepwalker, it is still very easy to identify their work in the newest album.
In the album’s opener, “Without Walls,” the words “This is who we are/these are the roads we paved/the strength we found in the mistakes we made along the way” are chanted, setting the mood for the entire album. Lyrically, valuable lessons and advice are offered through the band’s personal experiences and point of view in every song. The blunt and sincere lyrics focus on the flaws within the music industry, the idea of surviving as a touring band, and feelings towards those who have wronged the band since they began their journey. There is absolutely no hesitation as Mullins lashes out at backstabbers and describes several painful experiences with an incredible vocal range throughout the entire album. Challenger‘s instrumentals are also fantastic. The technical details with production and tight, adhesive sense created between every part can be appreciated by any metal fan.
Challenger includes a couple guest vocal appearances. Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens) is featured in “Miles Away,” the softest sounding track by far. This song is about the pain of leaving behind a spouse while touring. Asking Alexandria’s Danny Worsnop is featured in the strong piece, “Losing Sight.”
Some would say that this album is generic and bares a typical resemblance to the works of other Rise bands. I don’t know if I’d say that, but many of the songs had a pretty predictable pattern between cleans, screams, riffs, and breakdowns. Challenger is very similar to MMF’s last album, The Hallows, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing?
Memphis proves that they have what it takes to become one of the music scene’s most recognizable bands as they step out and “challenge” anyone who has ever doubted them. Challenger is available now and definitely worth a listen. This record is unlikely to disappoint anyone fond of the previous albums of Memphis May Fire or similar hardcore bands.