Your Memorial says farewell with this five-song, self-titled EP, and, while the final release from this Twin Cities metalcore act is a bittersweet concept to process, the music couldn’t be more on-point. The longtime Facedown Records staple give it their all on Your Memorial, and what we’re left with, as listeners, is a stunning elegy to a band that never gave up, never lost hope, and now concludes its career on its own distinguished terms. It’s the band’s memorial this time, and the final chapter of a group that makes a beautiful, hopeful sound for heavy music fans.
The band — vocalist Blake Suddath, bassist Skip Helms, brothers Tommy and Willy Weigel on drums and guitar, respectively — released the “Forever United” single in 2016, the sole indicator of Your Memorial’s studio activity since its third (and now final) full-length, 2012’s Redirect. The standalone track was a valiant entry from the metalcore quartet, and a taste of things to come with the swan song EP, but also an acknowledgement that things were slowing down: The group’s debut LP, 2008’s Seasons, was followed relatively quickly by Atonement in 2010 and the aforementioned Redirect. Including this self-titled send-off and “Forever United,” however, we’ve really only heard a handful of songs from the group in the past five-or-so years.
Thankfully, whatever Your Memorial may lack in the quantity of its material, it more than makes up for in the quality of tunes presented for your headbanging pleasure. The 20 inspiring and unrelenting minutes of Your Memorial present a fierce, compelling portrait of a group that’s evolved as experienced navigators of the nooks and crannies involved in its genre alcove. Admiringly, it’s all brought out in vivid detail by the crisp production of For Today and Nothing Left’s Ryan Leitru, who engineered, mixed and mastered the release at the scene favorite Graphic Nature Audio (home of Gideon, Silent Planet, et al. producer Will Putney).
Things go off with a bang on the EP’s five near-perfect songs, starting with the suitably savage (and subtly spooky) “Degenerate,” and ending with the tear-jerking, indomitable climax of “Steadfast.” (We could say the former recalls Blood of the Martyrs’ best work, the latter evoking a similarly intrepid Everything In Slow Motion song, but these are merely touchstones of the milieu, and they don’t fully grasp the brave, effusive farewell offered by Your Memorial here.) In the middle of the EP, at the center crest of “Anchor,” you’ll be nearly convinced you’re adrift at sea, amid a lilting drizzle, the sonorous swells of yawning, underwater guitar mooring you to a deep ocean floor.
It’s all a very fitting end for a great band, and it’s hard not to feel sentimental about it. “These last six months have flown by way too fast,” Suddath said on the band’s Facebook before heading out on Your Memorial’s final tour. “It might sound silly, but I keep telling myself to try to stay in the moment for these last shows and experiences.” And, really, we couldn’t put it better ourselves. Don’t discount the moment, cherish the experience. It’s all going to end someday, somehow. We should all be lucky enough to have as impressive a memorial as Your Memorial for our life’s work.