Posted on August 7th, 2015 (10:00 am) by Michael Negron

I make it a point to check out the Youtube comments for most of my reviews. Not really for any scholastic purpose, but rather to remind me that, in the end, every fanbase shares certain common qualities. The Youtube comments section is the great equalizer, in both its unabashed fanboy-ism and its inherent awfulness. One thing that very rarely occurs, though, is insightful criticism. That's why it's surprising to see the Miss May I fanbase express a more on-the-nose (if unintentionally so) analysis than most, genre notwithstanding:

"Sweet riffage for sure just can't deal with the lyrics…" – joe scanzillo
"Holy shit, Miss May I is back!" – Thetoonando
"I get such a three days Grace vibe with the cleans …" – corporal meme
"Everyone trying to find the radio sound, and Miss May I is just like EEEEYAAAHHHHH ROOOOOHHHHH!! I can dig." – ryan yochum

You can pretty much get the gist of what the record's about from there: Deathless is a polished return to the sound of the band's earlier releases, in a time when most metalcore bands are edging further away from the label, with a few interesting ideas and some god-awful lyrics.

Miss May I are, for the most part, pretty good at making thoroughly solid modern metalcore in just about every variant you can describe, but each slight variation on their style is clearly indebted to one of the many bands that came before them – As I Lay Dying in particular; though AILD has remained an influence of the band throughout their career, the effect on their sound has never been more prominent than with Deathless. Even the direction of the album as the band's fifth full-length – less a radical shift than a honing of an older sound – is reminiscent of AILD's fifth, The Powerless Rise. That's a positive comparison, but it's also important to note that As I Lay Dying had already distinctly defined their sound half a decade prior.

Even now, it looks like Miss May I are struggling to define what they want to be. As I Lay Dying are far from the only band emulated to one degree or another; there are a number of moments recalling The Black Dahlia Murder, and "Empty Promises" could have been taken from an outtake of The Fall of Ideals. They never fully venture into parody, but MMI often end up sounding like a fairly good cover band of unknown metalcore b-sides rather than a true contemporary. Throw in a helping of sophomoric lyricism and production by Joey "Fuck Dynamic Range" Sturgis and you get a thoroughly, frustratingly decent release.

You would think, then, that an album like this wouldn't have too much replay value. No depth to the lyrics, minimal (and derivative) variation, and a general lack of ideas tend to do that. But Deathless is actually something of a grower. When you've heard it enough to look past its clear and blinding flaws, you start to see some inventive ideas that hint at Miss May I's potential; the choral intro of "Bastards Left Behind," diversity of late-album highlight "The Artificial," and crushing intensity of "I.H.E" – their closest attempt at finding their footing stylistically – all point to something the album as a whole fails to capture. That is both inspiring and disappointing.

Track List:

  1. I.H.E.
  2. Trust My Heart (Never Hope To Die)
  3. Psychotic Romantic
  4. Deathless
  5. Bastards Left Behind
  6. Arize
  7. Turn Back the Time
  8. Empty Promises
  9. The Artificial
  10. Born From Nothing
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

62 / 100
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