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Miss May I - Shadows Inside

Miss May I is back to inspire the nation. DO NOT touch the lion!Ever since I heard Miss May I's Relentless Chaos off of their sophomore album Monument I've been a fan of their melodic metalcore sound. And their progress continues its positive trajectory with their latest offering, Shadows Inside. Having started when the Ohio quintet's members were still in high school, their connection has evolved considerably, making it possible to compose songs that touch on sophisticated subject matter while also thrashing hard. And the latest effort is a testament to that relationship.

Right off the bat, the title track kicks in the door with a thrashy attack that gives way to an anthemic chorus that's sure to light up live audiences on tour. My Desctruction surprises with a nice Metallica-style, nylon-stringed, quasi-classical intro that segues nicely into a melodeath riff reminiscient of classic In Flames - though I have to say it ends just as things really get going. But songs like this make for a good example of how Miss May I blends different subgenres into a compelling hybrid sound that lifts it above the traditional metalcore sound to highly listenable results. Swallow Your Teeth is another great anthemic tune sure to get fists pumping and crowds moving, particularly considering its self-assertive ("I won't be your prey!") lyrics and the current cultural climate. Such thematic content is par for the course with Miss May I, but it's a testament to their artistic sophistication that the aggression comes out in the music rather than with violent imagery, as aptly demonstrated on Lost In The Grey's monster riffing underneath a chorus of "We are greater than this / We are stronger than before / There's no locking us in / We're not hopeless anymore". Horns up to that.

The Bottom Line: Miss May I continues to transcend their categorization as a mere metalcore band by incorporating other styles into a more compelling, satisfyingly heavy sound to support their lyrical themes of rising above the mire of today's human condition through hope and perserverance rather than blind rage. Turns out optimism is a helluva drug.

- Genghis is feeling pretty good right about now...

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