Miss May I

At Heart

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The musical legacy of the third millennium's first decade is alive and well on the new album from Troy, Ohio's Miss May I, 2012's At Heart, which proudly waves the flag of melodic metalcore as popularized by the likes of Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, and Heaven Shall Burn...and modern trends be damned. The band will never score big points for originality or visionary invention, but tell that to the legions of fans who carry on appreciating this style, no matter what the self-appointed arbiters of fashion might say. The bottom line is that the members of Miss May I are all obviously dedicated students of this form, or else these songs assembled from so many familiar spare parts -- heavy metal riffing, hardcore breakdowns, more clean and dirty vocal styles than you can shake a stick at -- wouldn't sound nearly as immediate or anthemic. Familiarity isn't always a bad thing. Yes, all of those influences sometimes choke the life out of second-generation mirror images like "Road of the Lost" and "Ballad of a Broken Man," but one still can't imagine any mosh pit worth its salt standing still when kinetic fare like "Opening Wounds," "Day by Day," and "Found Our Way" is trotted out. Other cuts like "Leech" and "Bleeding Out" really get their thrash on, too, and the rather striking "Second to No One" literally demands that fans pay heed and salute during its rousing finale. Again, cynics will never forgive At Heart's anachronistic debts to the albums that preceded it, but if keeping once universally loved music styles thriving beyond their sell-by date is a dirty job, then Miss May I seem to be just the guys to do it.

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