The music of Memphis May Fire is the sound of hope and compassion, delivered by a dedicated group of men striving for something greater than the world around them. Memphis May Fire is a clarion call to those who insist on bettering themselves, their loved ones and the conditions afflicting the world. It’s not about divisive politics, it’s not about polarizing debate – it’s about the transcendent power of love through heavy rock.
The body of work Memphis May Fire has crafted over their last three albums, together with producer and collaborator Cameron Mizell (Sleeping With Sirens, The Word Alive), represents a creative achievement beyond even what the band’s formidable success would suggest. Sure, Unconditional arrived at #1 on Billboard’s Rock, Independent and Hard Music charts, but that was just the mainstream icing on a cake that was lovingly baked by fans around the world who’ve discovered Memphis May Fire in the live setting, from satellite radio, from social media and from each other.
These five guys are like family to over a million fans following Memphis May Fire on Facebook, the tens of thousands who rushed out to put this year’s Unconditional at #4 in the Billboard 200, the dedicated diehards who empty the magazine rack whenever the group graces the cover of Big Cheese, Alternative Press, Outburn, etc. and the early believers who made Challenger the highest selling debut ever for Rise Records to that point when it was released in 2012. YouTube clips like “Sleepless Nights,” “Miles Away,” “The Sinner,” and “Vices” together represent more than 20 million views.
Charismatic frontman Matty Mullins, emboldened by a renewed purpose and the type of humility derived from personal struggles not dissimilar to the stories the band hears from their fans, leads the charge against a backdrop of instantly memorable hooks and bottom-heavy crunch. It’s all ably crafted by lead guitarist/co-founder Kellen McGregor, longtime bassist Cory Elder, deeply skilled drum basher Jake Garland and most recent addition Anthony Sepe, whose guitar chops came forth in the Challenger era.
“I feel a duty to put all of my cards on the table,” explains Mullins, speaking specifically about the emotional vulnerability all over the songs on Unconditional. “This album came from a very personal place. It’s very important for people find out someone else has gone through what they have. Otherwise, you feel like you’re losing your mind.”
The unity of shared purpose is palpable at a Memphis May Fire show, whether songs like “No Ordinary Love,” “Beneath the Skin” or “Losing Sight” are blasting from the Warped Tour’s main stage or emanating from the speakers at one of the packed clubs the band makes their nightly home. Cares cast aside, problems pushed to the forefront, the visceral connection between artist and audience is alive and audible with each sing-a-long chant. Melodic mood swingers like “Speechless” and “Need to Be” demonstrate the full capacity and scope of what Memphis May Fire is capable of doing, winning them spots on major radio festivals like Welcome to Rockville and Carolina Rebellion as their heavier side secures fests such as Download and With Full Force.
An organic and incremental growth has propelled Memphis May Fire ever since they followed their underground 2009 debut album with 2011’s The Hollow, a modern metalcore masterpiece that led into the broadened musical horizons of their commercial breakthrough, Challenger, and the 2014 Album of the Year contender Unconditional.
Plenty of Memphis May Fire’s contemporaries have fans that profess their adoration, gratitude & even spiritual connection to the power of music, but few groups embrace the full responsibility inherent within those reactions the way Memphis May Fire has, acknowledging that something bigger than rock n’ roll has taken hold. Make no mistake, Memphis May Fire deliver hard rock anthems steeped in modern subculture and the best of radio rock, but their purpose continues to evolve into something greatly bigger than themselves, with no limit as to what they can achieve.
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