Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Album Review; Emmure - Eternal Enemies
1. Bring A Gun To School
3. N.I.A. (News In Arizona)
4. The Hang Up
5. A Gift A Curse
7. Like Lamotta
8. Free Publicity
9. Most Hated
10. Grave Markings
11. Hitomi's Shinobi
12. Rat King
13. Girls Don't Like Boys, Girls Like 40's And Blunts
14. New Age Rambler
15. We Were Just Kids
This is both the first time I write about or try to completely digest an Emmure record as a listener. As always, I go into this with an open mind, despite the never-ending torrent of abuse I've seen online, attacking the band, and particularly their fontman Frankie Palmeri. At the same time, I see plenty of people rush to their defense. So for what it's worth, I decided to review this new record myself and add my vote to the count.
I would set the scene here by saying that the last few years have seen a few different things happen that some believed were signalling a return of Nu-Metal. KoRn returned to form, Limp Bizkit came back from the grave, Coal Chamber toured and bands like Escape The Fate had elements of their sound compared to the Nu-Metal of days gone by. I say with no embarrassment that some of the first Metal I discovered and became a fan of was Nu-Metal. Some of the classic Nu-Metal albums, I still listen to from time to time, whenever I feel a little nostalgic.
Therein lies the problem with Emmure, from a matured Metalhead's point of view. Here's a band that have taken the marmite Deathcore subgenre and have mixed it with Nu-Metal's more simplistic and adolescent format. From the intro track 'Bring A Gun To School' this album's goal seems to be to allow kids a way to vent their pre-pubescent problems, and at the same time Emmure seem to be on a hollow mission to shock the parents and authorities of the world. This alone makes me sigh with exasperation at the sheer shallowness of the band.
Before I get into the album properly, I'll get the good points out of the way; The production job is great, the album sounds as professionally mixed as a band of this notoriety should. Now, onto the main event...
'Nemesis' is the album's first song proper, and it's clear that Palmeri's vocal influences are Jonathan Davis, Fred Durst, but he also delivers a bland and generic Deathcore growl. The song itself is largely made up of breakdown-type riffs that are so simplistic, I wonder if Jesse Ketive and Mike Mulholland even know how to play guitar at all. Not even sure if I'd call them riffs. 'N.I.A (News In Arizona)' is lyrically infuriating; the kind of song that only hardcore fans could ever claim has any substance. All this sounds like to me is Frankie Palmeri trying to come across as a hard man while he attempts to sell a sadistic fantasy to kids who want to hear something that's edgy for the sake of it.
"I'm damaged goods, I'm the toy that you broke and threw away, but I'll remain above it all stuck underneath. No one can face me now." That's the kind of lyrics that even Fred Durst would not have been able to sing with a straight face.
'The Hang Up' is another song exactly like the last. Tough-guy posturing, lobotomized musicality, horribly unaccomplished shriek vocals thrown in amongst the Deathcore blandness and Durst-like clean vocals. The fact that Palmeri manages end the first verse by saying "Bullshit you say to get attention, Just pretentious, Growing tired of your shit" is so laughably hypocritical that it made me shake my head every time I heard it. 'A Gift A Curse' is another track that tries to be brooding and introspective, instead coming across as the kind of thing that you'd expect to hear coming from the Cd player of somebody who's very quick to claim that they hate you and nobody understands them.
'E' is a call-to-arms for the die hards that don't know any better than to love Emmure. It contains very clear homages to KoRn, though I can't help but hope that if KoRn ever came to learn that they had inspired this drivel then they would sincerely apologise to the world. Lyrically it's full of the same lines we've heard in countless brainless hip hop and dance songs. The phrase "Keeping it real" should be banned.
Really, there's nothing I can say about the rest of the album that I haven't said already! This record could probably be improved by being half the length that it is. That wouldn't absolve it, however; because this album is so safe, so grounded in a musical blueprint that is less than mediocre that it can't help but be constantly bland and infuriatingly brain dead from start to finish. When it comes to lyricism, there's nothing positive to say whatsoever, I could probably find an instrumental album with better lyrical sense. (Yes, I know how stupid that looks, but honestly, it's utter garbage!)
Emmure have made it plainly clear why Nu-Metal died off and hammer it home that it should never be resurrected. Leave it to the old guard that were actually good enough to carry on after the genre's implosion. If it's Emmure's aspiration to be the new Limp Bizkit, they've got no chance. Limp Bizkit at least had a sense of style to them. This album shows no style at all. In fact, it shows no sense at all.
The only people that could possibly like this record are those who enjoy cheap angst as opposed to anything else. If you love that one-chord-fits-all style of guitar playing, then here's fifteen whole tracks of it. The one thing I can say for Emmure is that they know how to provoke a response from the listener. Many will tediously defend this steaming pile of an album by saying things like "You don't get it, it's not meant for people like you!" or that it's somehow cool to dislike the band. It is true that Emmure probably isn't aiming for fans of Extreme Metal, or any of the more traditional Metal subgenres. However, it gets touted as some form of Metal music and as such, I imagine many Metal fans will reject this band for the hollow insult to modern Metal music that it is.
I can say nothing positive whatsoever about 'Eternal Enemies'; it's a terrible, terrible album that somehow manages to make stuff like Black Veil Brides and Of Mice & Men seem like musical genius. Never a good thing! There's nothing memorable. There's nothing vaguely catchy. There was not a single moment that this album made me do much as nod in appreciation of the music. All that this album has done is taken up time in my life that I can never get back.