Early this month, veteran metalcore band Miss May I unveiled its latest album through SharpTone Records. The band’s seventh album, Curse of Existence is an interesting new presentation from the band that is likely to find the majority of its appeal among the band’s most devoted audiences. That is proven in part through its musical content, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content will also appeal to that targeted audience. It will be discussed a little later. The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. Collectively, they make Curse of Existence a record that metalcore fans and Miss May I’s established audiences will agree is worth hearing at least once.
Curse of Existence, the latest album from Miss May I, is a presentation that will appeal largely to the most devoted metalcore masses and of the band’s established audiences. That targeted appeal comes in part through the album’s featured musical content. The content in question is the band’s familiar blend of metalcore and death metal influences is just as present here as in the band’s existing albums. From one song to the next, audiences can clearly once again make comparisons to works from the likes of As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, and to a slightly lesser degree, the band’s label mates, Of Mice & Men. The heavy, crunching down-tuned guitars that rip through each song with the sharpness of a chainsaw pair with the equally tight drums and low-end from the bass to make each song powerful in its own right. Given, the overall musical content does not necessarily break any new ground for the band, but it is still such that it will appeal to said audiences what with its wall of sound effect from one song to the next. The addition of front man Levi Benton’s powerhouse screams makes that even clearer. To that end, the record’s musical arrangements are, again, a safe choice for the band this time out but still play well into the album’s overall presentation.
The musical arrangements featured throughout the course of Curse of Existence are collectively, just one part of what makes Curse of Existence worth hearing at least once. The record’s overall lyrical body does its own share to make the album engaging. That is because said content largely presents themes of facing and overcoming adversity in life. That includes facing it internally and externally.
As Benton stated in an interview about the album, “Curse of Existence is exactly what it reads, the curse we have in our existence. This doesn’t mean anything strictly negative, but it covers all existence that is the good and the bad, the highs and the lows; the sorrow and the joy. Everything that comes with life comes with a lesson and a price that is what we have put into this album.”
Those highs and lows are present throughout the album’s lyrical content. The album’s single, ‘Unconquered’ is a prime example of this. Benton sings/screams in this song of that personal/inner strength. He states right from the song’s introductory lines, “If it’s us versus the world/Then I will remain/The last man standing/SO bring on the pain” before continuing in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I walk alone through a crowd of eyes/I see a vision of red/terrified/It goes from bad to worse/If every blessing is a curse/Then how will I survive/The walls are closing in/What’s on the other side/It’s been so long/Since I’ve felt alive/Maybe I’m the only one who can save me/From the monster I’ve become lately/All these ghosts still chase me/And there’s nowhere left to run.” This is that message of realization of one’s self, that realization that a person is at a certain breaking point and it is up to that person to change himself/herself. Again, it centers on that inner strength to overcome that personal adversity. The message continues in the chorus tied to the second verse, which states, “So heavy/The world around me/Can’t let it crush me…The only way out is through/And the sun that stops the flood is still inside you.” He is saying that said inner strength is there and that people must remember they have that power to stop the bad. It is a message that is certain to resonate with so many audiences.
‘A Smile That Does Not Exist,’ the album’s opener, is another song that is certain to resonate with audiences, what with what comes across as a message of overcoming one’s own mental health struggles. This is inferred as Benton screams in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “The world has kept the chosen ones free/Safe from the storms that rain down on me/The coming winds of catastrophe/Face the beast or find no peace/Descend into madness/Shattering glass into fragments/Locked eyes watch me writhe across the floor/Pick up the pieces/Come back for more/In the mirror/A blank stare/No one’s there/No one cares/I pretend that we share/A smile that does not exist/My obsession with the darkness in my reflections/I always see the worst in me/Breathe in, Breathe out/Drown in self-doubt/It’s always in your head/But it’s only in your head.” That final statement that “It’s only in your head” is so important. It is a reminder that all of those negative thoughts that so many of us fight daily are just that. They are in our head. That self-doubt is there, but it can be overcome. This reminder is so simple, but so important. Benton adds a statement in the song’s second verse of memories fading away, “devouring brighter days.” Again, this is that emotional darkness that countless millions the world over feel every day. The reminder that follows once again, that it is all in one’s head is sure to motivate so many listeners. Once again, it shows the importance of the lyrical content featured in this album.
‘Bleed Together’ is yet another example of that importance. In the case of this song, it comes across as a commentary about someone coming to terms with a troubled childhood. This is inferred most clearly in the song’s second verse, which states, “I only sang a silent lullaby/You let a part of me die/A broken God through a child’s eyes/I’ve walked these hells before/But now I’m re-writing history/Please let the apple fall far from the tree.” That mention of the apple falling far from the tree is typically used to talk about connections between children and their parents, so to that end, this really does point toward some emotional conflict and disconnect between a child and parent. Later in the song, he adds, “I will not stand in the shadow of your demons/No/Bury the past in the dirt/I refuse to relive the hurt/There’s only one thing in this short life/I won’t give to you, my dear/The key to all the pain I’ve locked inside.” Again, this comes across as a discussion from someone facing a past that involved a troubled childhood relationship with a parent. If in fact this is the case, then it is certain to resonate with audiences in its own right, too. That is because there are so many people who had those stormy relationships with their parents. It is another topic that is all too familiar in the rock realm, but one that is still just as relevant today as it has ever been. To that end, it is yet another clear example of the importance of this album’s lyrical content. When it and the other themes addressed here are considered alongside the rest of the album’s lyrical themes and with the album’s musical content, the whole creates a solid foundation for the album.
As much as the content featured in Curse of Existence does to make the album worth hearing, there is still one more item to address here. That item is the album’s production. The production is important because of its role in the album’s general effect. Each song featured in this record is so intense, musically. Thanks to the attention paid to each musician’s part in each song results in each work having so much impact. No one part overpowers its counterparts at any point in the record. The result is that the album’s general effect is positive in its own right, too. Keeping that in mind, the production that went into this record does just as much to make the album worth hearing as the album’s content. The whole makes Curse of Existence worth hearing at least once.
Curse of Existence, the latest album from veteran metalcore outfit Miss May I, is another work that the most devoted of the band’s audiences and the most devoted metalcore fans will find engaging and entertaining. This is proven in part through the record’s musical content, which is fully familiar to those audiences. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements is important, too. That is because of its accessibility. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, creating a positive general effect that does its own share to keep audiences engaged. Each item noted is important in its own way to the album’s presentation. All things considered they make Curse of Existence anything but a cursed record.
Curse of Existence is available now through SharpTone Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Miss May I’s latest news at: