If there’s one metalcore outfit that’s no stranger to change, it’s Memphis May Fire. Developing beyond all expectations, 2014’s ‘Unconditional’ heralded an incendiary new chapter for the Dallas lads. This time around, they have employed Brian Hood to banish the chaotic quality of the original recordings and tell a subtly adjusted story behind each note.
“I tried to save myself but I failed,” calls out the now-monumental ‘No Ordinary Love’, robbed of its intensity but also of its ear-shattering volume by the new remastering. However, the pent up devastation of ‘Beneath The Skin’ remains pivotal, while the remix keenly emphasises guitarist Kellen McGregor‘s neat noodling.
The crowd-rousing instructions on inhaling and exhaling through ‘Sleepless Nights’ burst forth with defiant authority, scrapping the previous deafening mic feedback, while the instrumental beauty of ‘Possibilities’ stands taller than ever before. Injecting clarity to the otherwise hectic ‘Pharisees’ and adding more heartfelt aspects to ‘Divinity’, the new remastering polishes a rough diamond, removing sonic mayhem and clarifying every key change in Mullins’ versatile range, most notably on ‘Not Enough’.
“We’ll fight ‘til they hear us out,” cries relentlessly heavy addition ‘My Generation’ through its rousing anthem of disillusioned youth, while the enchanting guitar solo amid ‘Stay The Course’ frames Mullins’ venomous screams in an addition to the record that should have been there from the start.
Acoustic versions of fan favourites usually fall by the wayside as half-hearted attempts to translate heavy riffs onto a subtle acoustic guitar, however, Memphis May Fire have completely rethought and structured the two closing tracks to the deluxe edition. Seductive melodies added to the stripped-back execution of ‘Beneath The Skin’ completely transform its original anguish-ridden wails into heartfelt reflections more applicable to its lyrical content. “I wear my heart on my sleeve for everyone to see,” declares ‘Need To Be’’s subdued and less-techy descendant, bearing significantly more poignancy and further presenting their flexible songwriting abilities as if they were ever in question.
While Memphis May Fire have missed a trick without an acoustic adaptation of lead single ‘No Ordinary Love’, they’ve defied the stagnant reputation of deluxe editions that merely add an extra track or two to flog more CDs to dedicated fans. ‘Unconditional: Deluxe Edition’ presents its predecessor as if brand new – revitalised by an expert mixing to maximise their musical potential.
’Unconditional: Deluxe Edition’ by Memphis May Fire is out now on Rise Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)