This Light I hold

An Album By

Memphis May Fire

Review by

Listen now

Album by:
Memphis May Fire

Reviewed by:
On November 26, 2016
Last modified:November 26, 2016


It’s rare to see a band hold true to their identity throughout five studio albums. Especially so after multiple member changes. After a year of writing and recording new material, Memphis May Fire is back with their latest album, This Light I Hold, and they’ve stayed just as true to who they are since their debut release, Sleepwalking, almost eight years ago. Featuring guest vocals from Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach and Larry Soliman of My American Heart, fans can expect the signature sound of Memphis May Fire for yet another polished album.

With flawless musicianship and outstanding production, musically, Memphis May Fire always brushes up next to excellence, and this album is no exception. However, while the band stays true to their quality sound, they remain thin lyrically. Vocalist and lyricist Matty Mullins holds his audience at a distance with a lack of imagery and specific story elements in his songwriting. His vocal performance is stronger than ever, bringing his dynamic flair as he has in the past, making up for content that fell slightly by the wayside.

There’s a good amount of passion and angst boiling in the undercurrent of each song, undeniable in the stellar guitar riffs, penned by original member Kellen McGregor, and Mullins’ vast vocal range. The aggressive rhythmic changes in songs like “Out of It” show that Memphis May Fire still holds their place at the top of the metalcore food chain. Tracks like “Wanting More” also show off individual chops, between the tasteful drum fills and solid, steady bass that drive the listener’s attention right where it needs to be once the breakdown hits.

The band’s musical strength, though, is overshadowed in songs like “That’s Just Life” with lyrics that string together one cliché after another. Each song on the record follows the same general narrative, with no specific storyline to distinguish them. Vague lines — like “What will my story be? Did I tell it with my whole heart?” and “Keep pushing forward” — leave the audience aching for metaphor, poetic device, anything to motivate creative listening. The broad lyrics make for universal songs but sacrifice the personal touch Memphis May Fire fans have grown to value.

Regardless, it’s safe to say Memphis May Fire has only gained more traction with This Light I Hold. It remains true to the band’s character and is consistent with their message and sound. The band is sure to pack out venues around the world as they have been, consistently delivering high-quality material and professional releases. Memphis May Fire isn’t slowing down any time soon, and TLIH won’t change any of that.


Comrades 2020

Becoming Comrades

The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.


Photo by Quinsey Sablan

Full Feature
My Epic performing their last final show before COVID-19

Between the White Noise

My Epic's last full-length album came out in 2013; despite a number of EPs along the way, the band's dedication to their craft, lyrical approach, and unyielding approach to let the music come naturally has made them critical darlings. Now, they're learning to interact and feed a rabid fanbase in between albums and in a new normal.


Full Feature
All Features