Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oh, so this is Melodic Metal Mathcore...

Apologies Are for the WeakJust about a week ago I placed an order for some music by bands I've never heard of, including Troy, Ohio's own Miss May I, described in Metal Hammer's article as "pure-blooded metalcore." I'd heard the term "metalcore" prior to this article but, frankly, never intentionally sought out a band described as such to identify what that really meant. Now that I've gotten my Miss May I, I know. It means: "Sounds like Trivium's Ascendancy." Now, that's not a bad thing, necessarily, but in my case, eager to support the local boys, I grabbed both their albums, 2009's Apologies are for the Weak and 2010's Monument. I may just as well have chosen one or the other. Or just listened to Ascendancy again.

I'm being unduly hard on Miss May I. And I'm way oversimplifying a subgenre. And this is why: subgenres, once they exist, especially sub-sub-genres like "melodic metalcore" or "mathcore," become ridiculous and pigeonholing. I don't mind the guttural verses trading off with a chorus that sounds straight out of Fall Out Boy for a song or two - even an album - but every song, across two consecutive albums, gets tired ("In Recognition" from Monument is the exception but, sadly, it sucks). There's gotta be new territory to explore. If you're gifted enough to be able to read music, play music and, especially, write music, one would hope the art would evolve. Or at least mix it up a bit.

I've not heard As I Lay Dying. Never a note of Killswitch Engage. And I've sure as hell done all I can to avoid The Devil Wears Prada. I know I can be a close-minded snob but, with very few exceptions (Amon Amarth and, lately, Jungle Rot) I prefer my heavy metal delivered by bands with single-word names. If two words are necessary, it's best that they be combined into a longer, single word (lookin' right at you, hometown favorite Skeletonwitch). I gues I should have known what I was getting into with three-word-named Miss May I but, in my defense, they still have fewer letters overall in their name than Metallica.

Seriously, I cannot blame Miss May I or Metal Hammer. Their piece on the band name-checked all of these and more. If I'd gone to Wikipedia beforehand and just typed in "metalcore" I would have known exactly what I was getting into. And, again, I like Trivium, I enjoyed Ascendancy and I can dig Apologies are for the Weak. Or Monument. But not from beginning to end and sure as hell not back to back.

I want to support heavy music. I want to support local music (even if this band has grown beyond their local roots). I'm going to give Miss May I a chance on their next LP and am going to do my damnedest to check them out live. They've got the chops, no doubt about it. They just need to rise above - and grow beyond - the label they've placed on themselves.

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