REVIEW: Memphis May Fire – The Hollow

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Artist: Memphis May Fire
Album: The Hollow
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Rise

Let’s face it: Being in a metal band in 2011 is like holding onto a ticking time bomb. These scene has become flooded with terrible bands lacking talent and any promise of a lasting career, but people continue to flood shows because the bills generally have 4-12 of the genre most current “talent.” This is not a maintainable business model for any industry and sooner than later, something is bound to give. In fact, 2011 could be the year we finally see a vast exodus from the unsigned metal/hardcore scene, leaving those that remain to prove their relevance staying power. One group many are watching, Memphis May Fire, are about to release their bid to remain in the form of a full length entitled The Hollow. Out April 26 through Rise Records, one of the scene’s most stereotyped labels, this is one release that may catch you off guard.

Let’s cut the dramatics, if you’re a fan of the current metalcore scene, I doubt anything on The Hollow is going to blow you away. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say anyone with an even passing familiarity with the genre is going to be hard pressed to be “amazed” by this record. I’m not saying Memphis May Fire are a bad band, but there is no reason to pretend this band just created the album of the decade either. MMF make solid scene metal and, unlike many bands in the same genre, actually work to better themselves with each release. The Hollow continues this, but those hoping for a revolution will have to wait another year (or career).

Beginning with the same “eerie distortion turns to all out metal onslaught” every other heavy release has, nothing grabbed me about The Hollow up front. Maybe I’ve been covering the scene for too long, but I’ve definitely hit a point where it takes less than a minute for me to piece together the bands and songs that inspired any particular artist. While “The Sinner” may sound great to younger MMF fans, I have no doubts those with a better understanding of the heavy scene will quickly grab half a dozen artists who are currently attempting to make a living with the same exact sound. This plunge into mediocrity continues on later tracks like “The Unfaithful, “The Abandon,” and “The Commanded,” which simply feel a little too much like familiar territory.

All hope is not lost though as The Hollow does pack a few later hits that truly help to revive the album’s worn sound. “The Deceived” packs a relentless drive and undeniable riff while the one-two punch of “The Burden (interlude)” and “The Haunted” give the album a much needed technical and dramatic facelift. It’s in these later MMF tracks that we see the band finally taking the evolutionary step most fans probably hoped the whole album would hold. The band is still very much in their element, but with renewed sense of purpose and drive. For proof of this, look no further than the album’s closer, “The Redeemed.” Clocking in at nearly seven minutes in length, this finale plays like an anthem and comes packed with all of MMF’s strongest skills (soaring cleans, big hook, gut-wrenching screams, chugs).

As I said earlier, The Hollow is not a game changing album. In fact, I’m not even sure it’ll make anyone’s end of the year list. However, at least half this album shows a band trying their best to grow and evolve in a genre that prides itself on always being as extreme as possible. Memphis May Fire have the ability to shake this scene to the core, but unfortunately The Hollow won’t be the album to do so. Here’s hoping the get it right the next time around.

Score: 6.5/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • MMF8993

    shitty review
    clear your head of your issues with the scene before posting bullshit like this

  • mr. guest

    ur name’s mmf bla bla so sure u like the album. but that man is totally right. there is nothing new and mindblowing. i tried to find something but the record rolls the third time now and after it ends i realize that i had better stuff to do than listening to it

  • Wereger17

    i don’t entirely agree with this review, mmf does a really good job of separating themselves from around 90% of the other bands within the metalcore genre, its just the last 10% ( still alot ) that they seem to have a hard time separating themselves from. but overall this is a great band that seem to have ALOT of potential and are indeed capable of doing great things for the genre or possible modern music as a whole. should have an 8/10