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Album Review: Miss May I - At Heart

Miss May I is a band that can be easily lost within the current realm of modern metalcore acts. Their previous releases didn’t quite hit the mark that would set them apart from the others, but this time around, they nailed that mark square in the head.

For people who have been trying to get into Miss May I for a while, “At Heart” is the point of no return. The band mastered an important concept while writing the album: variety - an aspect of music that some artists simply cannot grasp. The band opted to work with Machine (Every Time I Die, Cobra Starship) instead of Joey Sturgis (Of Mice & Men, We Came As Romans)this time around, so the switch in producers may have aided their transition as well as enabling their diversion away from previous releases. It’s easy to admit that, if you listen to their previous release “Monument” from start to finish, it’s hard to decipher when one track ends and when another begins. The majority of the songs on “Monument” include the same rapid drumbeats and typical metalcore guitar shredding that most Lamb of God/Killswitch Engage-glorifying bands strive to emulate.

“At Heart” opens with the title track; its soft,gentle tones progress into a goosebump-inducing death march that carries over into ‘Hey Mister’, the record’s first single. The band carved a few slots for some set-worthy singles into the album with their notable thrashing guitar riffs and satisfying balance of dual vocals - two things longtime fans can’t get enough of. "At Heart" differs from "Monument" by being markedly more melodic, as well as having more structural diversity and sing-along worthy moments (the latter being pretty difficult to pull off for a band in their genre). There is no question that fans will be chanting, “Hey mister/Where have you been?” along with lead vocalist Levi Benton during Miss May I’s future performances, especially when they play the Main Stage at this year’s Vans Warped Tour. Listeners will find themselves joining in with clean vocalist Ryan Neff on the record’s more expressive and melodic tracks (‘Leech’, ‘Day by Day’,‘Found Our Way’). The record wraps up with the intentionally misleadingly titled “Ballad of a Broken Man,” which closes the album with the fitting line: “This is goodbye”. Nevertheless, "At Heart" definitely has its flaws. After a while, parts of the second half resemble the less memorable songs from the first, making a less-than-optimistic potential fan grow bored.

If you have had any preconceived curiosities about Miss May I, now is the time to act on them. The album isn’t chaotic, but it’s also not perfect. “At Heart” is Miss May I’s way of proving that they have the talent necessary to continue holding their position within a clan of contemporary metalcore acts that are seeking the legendary status of their superiors.


“At Heart” is out now through Rise Records.

Melissa Jones

Alter The Press!