To name your fourth album, somewhat arrogantly, ‘Rise Of The Lion’, when your band’s logo is a lion takes some real guts. But, then again, having one of your fans have said logo engraved onto their back for life, and then displaying it in all it’s bloody glory as the album’s front cover would probably go to my head too. It’s not all blood, guts and inflated egos though, there’s well you know, the music!
‘Rise Of The Lion’ launches straight into ‘Refuse To Believe’ with a no frills attitude; too many Metal records start on an intro track that’s a swirling mess of effects that really adds nothing to the dynamic of the record. It’s refreshing to hear an album that just starts with a song that’s strong enough to stand up on its own, no frills, no bullshit. It continues down this no nonsense path for the duration of the record; the arm swing inducing chugs of ‘Lunatik’ and the circle pit rhythms of ‘Gone’ are a real testament to this.
Particularly, the song structures themselves stand out; there are moments that are almost fused with a pop mentality and they really lock into a groove that hooks you in. It seems that by album number four, Miss May I have perfected their craft, and working alongside Terry Date has done wonders for the album’s production value. The guitars in ‘Darker Days’ are mouth watering and the scream is heavy, whilst retaining a certain clarity throughout.
The record itself focuses around letters the band have received themselves from fans, and at slower moments in tracks like ‘Echoes’, I can imagine fans essentially singing their own words back to the band. It’s a way that fans can engage with the subject matter on a whole new level, at first I was concerned that the emotional connection wouldn’t be there between Levi and his lyrics, but the emotion is still there, it’s just been put into the hands of the fans.
‘Rise Of The Lion’ does have a few cliche’d elements, but four albums deep, and Miss May I have already proved their worth to their fans and the metal world. In making this record, lead singer, Levi Brenton, said: the main goal was to create a timeless metal record that defines our band and I really think they’ve achieved their goal.
‘Rise of the Lion’ by Miss May I is out now on Rise Records.
Words by Shaun Cole