MISS MAY I is currently regarded by industry elite as one of the hardest working bands in the metal genre, and are touted by rabid fans across the globe as the “Next Big Thing” in the heavy music scene. The band has graduated to the mainstream, making the transition from headlining small clubs across the US to landing Support slots on Major festivals all over the world. Having played 900+ shows since 2009, Miss May I has made their presence known the old fashioned way: with blood, sweat and hard work; playing every s how like it’ s their last and treating every fan like their first.
Upon securing a die hard fan base with incessant touring and their first three albums –Apologies Are For the Weak, Monument, At Heart – Levi Benton [vocals], Justin Aufdemkampe [guitar], Ryan Neff [bassist], B.J. Stead [guitar], and Jerod Boyd [drummer] are finding inspiration within that very fan base with their release of Rise Of the Lion. Levi Benton found his lyrical voice by looking through the hundreds of letters the band receives from fans all over the world, fans expressing their gratitude and appreciation for the band that had guided them through dark and trying times with their music. Benton describes this original third person story telling as a “breath of fresh air”, “a lot of the letters were very deep and heartfelt and I had to do a lot of research into some of the subject matters”, Benton recalls. He was able to take a step back and look for his voice in other peoples’ experiences- this album is written for and about the fans.
Miss May I took a similar approach in the recording process while working with producer Terry Date (who has worked with bands such as Slipknot, Pantera, and Deftones). Benton describes Date’s producing style as “being a strong mentor that was also able to step back and give the band space when the situation called for it. He was a key motivator and never let the band just settle”. That gave the band the opportunity to evolve the songs through five or six stages before the final version was agreed upon. Benton recalls, “This is the first record we could sit back and re-write songs. We would listen and critique musical parts until everyone in the band was happy”. This attention given to every song is apparent in the new album; Rise of the Lion shows a more eclectic side of the band by blending Benton’s heart-felt lyrical style and the inspiration drawn from deep with in the roots of the metal sound.
The sound of Rise of the Lion is deeply rooted in old school metal and at the same time blazing a new trail for the genre. “We want to show a young, real metal core band. No one is making true metal anymore, we want to get off the fads”, describes Benton. There is nothing to suggest the band is falling into old established restrictions on this new album and if anything it shows a glimpse of the progression for the younger generations of metal music.