BEST SECOND RELEASE 2009 Award Winner!
Runners-Up: (Ocean Eyes), (SKRIPT (Spreading Kingdom Realities In Perilous Times)).
One song has a literal use of D***, and two others have literal uses of H***.
Flyleaf’s long-awaited second album (and we’re not kidding there— the wait was 4 years! ) is a concept album of sorts; and instead of lyrics, the liner notes contain ‘journal entries’ that form a complementary story (the final entry of which gave us goosebumps, as did no less than 5 of the album’s songs).
Memento Mori kicks right off with “Beautiful Bride”, a great Hard-Edged Rocker that showcases frontwoman Lacey Sturm’s excellent— and now both newly-expanded and richer— vocal range.
Following that is hit single “Again”, an excellent and very memorable heavy rock track.
Layered rocker “Chasm” contains some unusual vocal rhythms and melody combinations that are also memorable.
“Missing” is a regular-rock track that has an interesting use of synths underneath the guitars.
“This Close” features melody combinations that are occasionally somewhat unsettling, in keeping with the track’s lyrics and story.
“The Kind” contains some slightly intense visual metaphors (explained by the journal entry), and because of this it’s a fairly powerful track, too.
“In The Dark” begins muted and, well, dark ; then slides into great fast-paced rock (which itself turns into excellent full Hard Rock in the chorus).
“Set Apart This Dream” is a medium-paced, regular-rock track with sweepingly visual lyrics. Interestingly, the muted segue that follows after is basically a snippet of an extra song.
“Swept Away” again features occasionally unsettling music; and while its chorus is sung as usual, its verses are actually spoken. The end of the track purposefully collapses into a music-box segue.
“Tiny Heart” is another memorable song, this one with a piano/guitar combination in the verses and great regular rock in the chorus. It flows into the next track without a pause.
“Melting (Interlude)” is a slightly suspenseful instrumental/sound-effect track.
Excellent song “Treasure” musically builds to Rock in perfectly-placed steps; and, combined with the journal entry, its lyrics form a beautifully moving picture of true love.
“Circle” is a heavier track that— again, combined with the journal entry— is quite powerful.
And encouraging track “Arise”, with its powerful final minute, closes the album perfectly.
[: The album also contains a pregap hidden track called “Uncle Bobby”, which is a eulogy. As such, it’s somewhat emotional, and yet still hopeful.]
The Expanded Edition contains 4 B-sides (“Break Your Knees”, “Enemy”, “Have We Lost”, and “Who Am I”), which range from great to a bit experimental.
The Digital iTunes Version contains a cover of U2’s “Stay (Faraway, So Close)”.
And those who preordered the Expanded Edition through iTunes also exclusively received “Bittersweet”, which is a slightly suspenseful and great heavy rock B-side.
The Digital Amazon Version does not contain either “Stay” or “Bittersweet”, but it does include “Tina” (from Flyleaf’s Limited Edition Much Like Falling EP).
Memento Mori is an excellent album, and worthy of Best Second Release.