13 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

At Heart is Miss May I’s most punishing album yet. Following the intro of the spooky-sounding title track, “Hey Mister” detonates like the demolition of a whole city block. Singer Levi Benton screams as if he’s trying to spit out his vocal cords, while drummer Jerod Boyd approximates the sound of skyscrapers collapsing. It’s not until a minute and a half into the song that we’re reminded of the band’s melodic aspect—bassist Ryan Neff’s clean vocals are so fetching that he could easily thrive as a solo singer in a less brutal musical genre. But as “Opening Wounds” best exemplifies, these guys are screamo to the core. They’ve done their homework and graduated with honors. Boyd’s blast beats here (and throughout) are mechanically flawless, and the band’s chemistry ebbs and flows like the well-oiled engine of a constantly touring quintet. But At Heart has moments that reveal the band deviating from its genre’s blueprint to take on classic thrash metal: “Leech” gurgles and growls with Benton’s feral shrieks, as gargantuan walls of guitar distortion are built up and blown apart.

EDITORS’ NOTES

At Heart is Miss May I’s most punishing album yet. Following the intro of the spooky-sounding title track, “Hey Mister” detonates like the demolition of a whole city block. Singer Levi Benton screams as if he’s trying to spit out his vocal cords, while drummer Jerod Boyd approximates the sound of skyscrapers collapsing. It’s not until a minute and a half into the song that we’re reminded of the band’s melodic aspect—bassist Ryan Neff’s clean vocals are so fetching that he could easily thrive as a solo singer in a less brutal musical genre. But as “Opening Wounds” best exemplifies, these guys are screamo to the core. They’ve done their homework and graduated with honors. Boyd’s blast beats here (and throughout) are mechanically flawless, and the band’s chemistry ebbs and flows like the well-oiled engine of a constantly touring quintet. But At Heart has moments that reveal the band deviating from its genre’s blueprint to take on classic thrash metal: “Leech” gurgles and growls with Benton’s feral shrieks, as gargantuan walls of guitar distortion are built up and blown apart.

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