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Flyleaf - "Memento Mori" (CD)

Flyleaf - "Memento Mori" CD cover image

"Memento Mori" track listing:

1. Beautiful Bride (3:03)
2. Again (3:05)
3. Chasm (2:54)
4. Missing (2:55)
5. This Close (3:21)
6. The Kind (2:47)
7. In The Dark (3:47)
8. Set Apart This Dream (3:15)
9. Swept Away (4:09)
10. Tiny Heart (3:07)
11. Melting (0:57)
12. Treasure (3:24)
13. Circle (3:03)
14. Arise (4:18)

Reviewed by on November 23, 2009

"'Memento Mori' may not be a contender for Album of the Year, but it’s a solid piece of work and a good listen while you’re heading down the highway, or just sitting in your chair playing a video game."

I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s very rare that I just sit and give listening to an album my undivided attention. That’s why particularly when I’m reviewing one, I’m looking for a hook, that moment that grabs my attention and makes an album something better than average. While Flyleaf’s "Memento Mori" is a very pleasant CD to pop in and hear while you’re doing something else, there’s really no moment that makes you stop and say "This is really great."

That’s not to minimize or criticize, because Flyleaf really has put together a good, solid album that is a fun listen. Sure, it’s too mainstream for a lot of metal fans, and those who are vehemently opposed to a band who openly calls themselves Christians unfortunately may not give it the time of day, but you really wouldn’t go wrong with "Memento Mori."

Flyleaf teased its followers with listening parties and an early debut of "Again," one of the singles off "Memento Mori," and hands down the best track. But others like "Missing" are pretty good too.

Lacey Mosley’s vocals surprisingly are comparative to some of symphonic metal’s best maidens, but there are a few moments where she rushes through the words, making them almost indiscernible. Particularly in "Swept Away," vocally she is dead on, with an almost sighing sound, but the hurried lyrics detract from this otherwise solid piece. And while the lullaby sounding music box that closes the track out may be a bit melodramatic, it somehow fits with this admittedly sweet song.

The only really strange moments come in "Melting," which is a 57 second track called an "interlude," though it seems odd to put an interlude virtually at the end of an album. It sounds a bit too much like the film score for a bad black and white horror movie, and the 15 seconds of dead air at the end are something anyone with a background in radio will tell you is synonymous with death.

"Memento Mori" closes with "Arise," a track that musically isn’t really much different from the rest, or particularly powerful. However, here we see a glimpse of Flyleaf’s Christian roots, and the message is a good one with which to wrap things up. "Arise" gets a bit draggy in the middle instrumentally, but not enough to become annoying.

With "Memento Mori," Flyleaf manages to deliver an album that is undeniably mainstream hard rock, and yet so much more than the negative connotation a lot of Christian acts get. In fact, with a couple exceptions, it’s a work that even non-religious folks can appreciate. "Memento Mori" may not be a contender for album of the Year, but it’s a solid piece of work and a good listen while you’re heading down the highway, or just sitting in your chair playing a video game.

Highs: "Again" is a good track all the way through, and Mosley’s vocals on "Swept Away" have an almost sighing symphonic sound to them.

Lows: The only fault really is that after a while, some of the tracks sound too much alike.

Bottom line: Sure it’s mainstream, but even the diehard opponents of Christian rock will have to admit that Flyleaf has put together an enjoyable listen with "Memento Mori."

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)