Album Review: Memphis May Fire – Broken

Broken is not only ambitious but it is also a bold declaration of resilience. 

Memphis May Fire have released a stellar sixth record which fashions music into a sharp sword, dedicated to cutting free the bonds of self-doubt.

Broken is both a perfect distillation of everything the band has achieved creatively, with the group’s signature passion and diversity, and a bold leap into the future. It’s powered by the confident assurance of four musicians who know exactly who and what they are. Singer Matty Mullins, emboldened by a renewed purpose and the type of humility derived from personal struggles not dissimilar to the stories the band hears from their fans, leads the charge against a backdrop of instantly memorable hooks and bottom-heavy crunch, skillfully performed by guitarist/co-founder Kellen McGregor, longtime bassist Cory Elder, and drummer Jake Garland.

Produced by Kane Churko (Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Ozzy Osbourne) and mixed by Drew Fulk (Motionless In White, We Came As Romans), Broken kicks off with recent single The Old Me. Talking about the new cinematic video for it, singer Matty Mullins said ‘[Director] Caleb Mallery always goes above and beyond to bring our songs to life visually. The Me vs. Me concept of this video represents my inner battle with anxiety and depression. [It’s] the two versions of myself that are constantly at war with each other. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!’

The following Watch Out turns up the heat another level with a heavy dose of, well, heavy. While Sell My Soul may seem a little more timid it packs a lyrical punch alongside the slow drums that will engrave into your brain.

Heavy is the Weight features Christian rap artist Andy Mineo and is an outright refusal to play the cutthroat games of interpersonal competition. One of the most beautiful ballads on the record is without a doubt You & Me. It takes on the painful topic of coming to the realization that a relationship has come to an end. “There’s nothing left here to fight for. We’ve both been there, try and stop wasting time, yours and mine, cause God knows we’ve tried.”

Lyrically the strongest track on Broken is Live Another Day, which closes the album and is an anthem for those burdened by thoughts of self-harm. “We were born to be great, don’t just throw it away” pleads the band in a calm counterpart to the heavy and fast-paced chorus.

“It was important to be honest in a way that encourages people who are struggling to feel understood and to be known,” says the band’s lead singer. “Most of the album is about saying it’s important to know that it’s ok to feel broken. I’m broken, too.”

The unity of purpose is palpable at a Memphis May Fire show, as both the audience and band share their life experiences, their dreams and fears, through the power of transcendent music. As important as it is to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is great strength to be gained from a sobering, stark look at what it feels like in the throes of adversity.

Memphis May Fire crafts the sound of hope from struggle, delivered by a dedicated group of men who aspire to something more with their art.