Full disclosure — I am just a normal guy, and Metal Thoughts are completely my own opinions. I have been in bands since I can remember and have always had a passion for heavy music. That being said, I am not paid to review albums and I am just trying to put good karma out there for some hard working, heavy, talented bands that may not be on your radar. I am a fan of music in general — but personally, metalcore is my favorite genre of music. I love metal, I love punk, I love grunge, and metalcore brings me the best of the gray area that lives in between.
That being said, I know that metalcore doesn’t get much love. It’s too heavy for a lot of punk fans, too melodic for a lot of metal fans, and sometimes the music gets lost in the translation. Critics are often very harsh on metalcore releases, often referring to the music as “too formulated” or “generic”. I have seen Shadows Inside receive a lot of criticism. Miss May I has been around since 2009 and has released 6 albums. The first three were met with critical acclaim and the Ohio-based-band seemed to be destined for greatness. Their last three albums, including Shadows Inside, have been matched with less than stellar reviews. That being said, it may be my favorite album of 2017 so far.
There are several things that stick out to me about this album. The title track, Shadows Inside, kicks the album off in a heavy, in your face fashion. It combines a lot of my favorite elements of the genre, chanting and group vocals, a heavy but ominous tone, double bass, and guitars soloing in harmony. Another key element that Miss May I does a fabulous job of throughout is melodic vocals singing over screams in the background. Miss May I — Shadows Inside
Another thing that sticks out to me is how well the album is put together. It manages to tell a story, and even though some songs follow the same “formula” on the record, they are all very unique. The album is very balanced in that there are some aggressive, heavy riffs and there are some songs that are more melodic and slower paced while maintaining a heavy vibe. The record reminds me a lot of classic AFI (which is a VERY good thing!) in that several of the songs do a good job blending minor key chants and group vocals, without making it over the top and distracting.
I have listened to this album at least a dozen times, and each time I listen, I gravitate to a different song to call my favorite. The album, criticized as it may be, has already released three singles which may be the heaviest songs on the album and are very well done. There are other hidden gems on this record though, specifically Crawl and Death Knows My Name which maintain the heavy vibe while appealing to a more catchy melody. The final track on the album, My Sorrow, is mesmerizing and though it is nothing new, tapers away as the album fades to an end without a pointed statement.
To be fair, this album has not been treated favorably in many of the reviews I have read. But my guess is that most of you follow this podcast because you love music and know enough to form your own opinions. So don’t listen to the critics. Don’t listen to me. Listen to the music — and let me know what you think on Twitter @JBoneBass!
JBone — Hard Rock/Metal Contributor. Follow Jay on Twitter: @JBoneBass