Double-barrel blast beats are a perfect way to open an album, and metalcore upstarts Miss May I deliver on the title track that introduces their third release, At Heart. But this album is more than a crushing blow of an opening track; it is an intense, feral demonstration of rabid playing by the Ohioans, leaving vocalists’ Levi Benton and Ryan Neff plenty of room to spout layered aggression across the disparate landscape.
For the most part, At Heart works. Even the dirtiest, speediest grinds are tempered by melodic passages that soar, but this recipe does wear thin. “Leech” loses grip on the circling clean chorus that takes the composition from a brazen attack to a limp salute, and, along with “Second to No One,” de-fangs the opening half of the 13-track album with hooks that are more syrup than strychnine.
All is not lost on At Heart, though, and Miss May I still churn out a precise, heaving set that resembles a band maturing, although still feeling the awkward pangs of youth. “Hey Mister,” “Opening Wounds,” and “Bleeding Out” all strike a vein, with the latter echoing “These scars are never healing.”
There is plenty of rage, confidence, and stubbornness on At Heart that confirms Miss May I aren’t going anywhere, although they still have a bit of growing to do.
At Heart is being released June 12 on Rise Records.
Rating: Three Stars