Review: Miss May I – ‘Curse of Existence’

It’s been five years since their last album – their first on new label SharpTone Records – but Miss May I have come back with a bang and a roar, and the effort shows. Even from the very first track on ‘Curse of Existence’ it’s obvious that they’re doing what they do best – guitar riffs that shred, and a gorgeously balanced combination of clean vocals and roars.

Their opening gambit ‘A Smile That Does Not Exist’ is already a showcase of vicious talent, bursting in with a fast-paced drum beat courtesy of Jerod Boyd, overlayed with fierce riffing from B.J. Stead and Justin Aufdemkampe, and brought home with lead singer Levi Benton’s powerful growls. He’s backed up more gently in the choruses by the clean vocals provided by bassist Ryan Neff, where they share a well-crafted message of not giving in to self-loathing.

The singles released off the album have incredible impact – most of all ‘Free Fall’ which addresses imposter syndrome and it does so well, with a focus on getting through it, and ‘taking the leap’, as Benton cries as the song comes to an end. Despite its more serious subject matter, the band doesn’t skip out on killer, fast-paced guitar, and Benton and Neff’s vocals are showcased at their absolute best. ‘Unconquered’ was the lead single from the album, and it was the first indication that Miss May I were back in full force. There’s a slight build in the intro before you’re dropped right into some more incredibly ferocious riffing, and a simple but anthemic chorus that’ll be stuck in your head for ages to come.

‘Bloodshed’ is the closing track and it serves its place in the album perfectly, a climatic song built on powerful drum work from Boyd, supplemented again with the soaring crush of the guitar and the backing choir that only serves to strengthen Benton’s vocals during every chorus. The choir provides the fade out, and fittingly, the final word we hear from the band themselves is the lead vocalist’s forceful ‘FAREWELL’.

While it’s hard to match 2010’s ‘Monuments’ as an album, ‘Curse of Existence’ has come extremely close, with a near-enough perfect combination of heartfelt meaning in every song, that is in no way eclipsed by the ferocious instrument and vocal work provided by the band that comes together to form a brilliant metalcore album, well worth the listen.

Curse of Existence is available September 2nd via SharpTone Records:

Review – El

Photo Credit – Ross Theisen

MISS MAY I online:

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