Flyleaf remind us to be mindful of death with their new album Memento Mori
For those of you who don’t already know Flyleaf are an alternative Christian rock band hailing from Belton, Texas. Their self titled debut album went platinum driven mostly in part to the success of the single ‘I’m So Sick’, the video of which was predominately displayed in one particular scene of Bruce Willis’ latest addition to the ‘Die Hard’ Franchise ‘Live Free Or Die Hard’. In the closing stages of 2009 Flyleaf have returned with their sophomore effort ‘Memento Mori’, which translated from Latin means be mindful of death.
With the hard rock genre typically awash with artist’s who draw inspiration from pain, suffering and general pessimism, Flyleaf’s lyrics focus on deeper spiritual struggles and encourage us to have faith in a world that many of their fans feel increasingly disillusioned with. Yes, the core members of the band (especially lead vocalist Lacey Mosely) are of the Christian faith they do not identify themselves as an archetypal Christian band, but simply as an alternative band whose members share one faith. Some Christian’s would likely jeer at the occasional outpouring of screams from lead singer Mosely, but her vocals certainly do grab you by the balls and make you pay attention. Together with the redemptive lyrics, ear piercing guitar solos and thrashing of drums their collective sound is nothing if not profound.
The album itself seems a tighter, sleeker evolution from their serrated, if utterly compelling debut. They have progressed as a band and now seem comfortable when dipping their toes into a more pop rock realm. Tracks such as ‘Tiny Heart’ and ‘Treasure’ demonstrate excellent melodies and solid vocals, whereas the lead track ‘Again’ sees the band returning to more familiar territory of the all out hard rock, metal thrashing of their debut. The sounds of Memento Mori certainly range from lighter fare to more all out harder driving alternative rock.
The standout track of the album is most certainly ‘Swept Away’. The lyrics describe Mosely’s pleading with a friend to follow a path to God and righteousness when her own spiritual faith is severely tested. The track has a strong duality as the side of sin and righteousness square off in a battle to save the soul of one particular individual. It is marked with eerie and distorted sounds that are identified in part to an almost inhuman growl. These effects add depth and atmosphere to the song as the dark, almost Korn-esque sounds of foreboding clash with the soaring choruses. This hybrid of styles do mesh well together and with the addition of Mosely’s tight vocals, together with some of the albums few screams we are treated to just what a battle of salvation should sound like.
Potentially Flyleaf has a huge hit on their hands with Memento Mori. It has enough hard metal moments to satisfy the followers of their self titled debut and by diluting their sound ever so slightly they will attract a wider fan base who will appreciate the intentions of their music.