Emmure
Look at Yourself

 

When Erik asked if anyone wanted to review the new Emmure album no one was chomping at the bit to do the review, except for me.  Being a long standing fan of the band, I really wanted to review this. I know how polarizing the band is to many in the metal community, due to Emmure playing deathcore, mixed in with some rap/free-styling vocal patterns, but to me it makes them more dynamic then let’s say The Acacia Strain.  Anyone who follows this genre knows the long war, years ago between both bands, as to who was better etc…  I was a huge fan of The Acacia Strain, early on, but then their albums began sounding too similar, and the songs were all super slow and I started yawning.  Emmure, were more dynamic, interesting and even heavier than The Acacia Strain.

The band resides in Queens, NY and Look at Yourself is their 7th full-length album.  Emmure have been on a roll since 2011’s Speaker of the Dead, 2012’s Slave to the Game and the monstrous Eternal Enemies in 2014.  But then all the musicians bailed on vocalist, Frankie Palmeri, leaving him holding the bag.  The split was due to personal and creative differences.  I thought the band was done, but Frankie said “Oh Hell NO”. So basically this is like a whole new band and trust me, I am a huge Emmure fan and their last album, Eternal Enemies is godly and I so wanted to give this a double thumbs up, but I cannot.  I can understand Frankie continuing with the band and starting fresh, but much of Look at Yourself sounds like a much different band that we’re all used to. I’m used to monster hooks, catchy songs, pummeling slams and Frankie’s varying and creative vocals keeping the tank rolling and rolling all damn day.  For one, the production, while pretty good, is much thinner than other Emmure records and not nearly as powerful.  This sucks, because some of the good tunes, would have made more of an impact if the production was better.  Not all is lost with this record, so let me get into the meat and potatoes of the positive right now.

The title track is the usual deathcore opening intro, but it’s short, done really well and goes into the bouncy “Shinjuku Masterlord” and I immediately notice a huge Korn influence, the early Korn years, that is.  I love the first Korn album, but I don’t want Emmure to start sounding like them for crissakes.  Over the last several Emmure albums they have incorporated quite a bit of djent, Meshuggah like moments to their sound.  There will always ever be 1 Meshuggah, however, Emmure really did the djent, start-stop polyrhythms quite well and they immediately start pummeling the listener with these moments on this tune and it’s highly effective. Emmure over their last 3-4 records have also incorporated some cold abrasive industrial guitar noises and twangs to parts of certain songs and this is used excellently on this track.  Some excellent vocal patterns and the bouncy feel to the song is quite fun and will be a live favorite.

“Smokey” is up next and is one of the strongest songs on the album.  The 25 second part is the Holy Shit part with a monstrous Meshuggah like moment straight out of the Chaosphere era.  Frankie growling and screaming…OMG this tune is ferocious….still all the while if the production was like their last album, this would be deadly… Anyway at only 2 minutes, this is one helluva song.  “Natural Born Killer” is up next.  Nice groove opening.  The 38 second isolated guitar part, squealing, then the drums and growl comes in 10 seconds later before we are treated to one of the best Emmure moments ever and certainly the best part of this album. This is the proverbial Holy Shit moment of the year.  Massive chaotic djent-like heaviness swirled into a monster pit groove.  It’s like one of the greatest pieces of metal all damn year.  So goddamned heavy and brutal.  Cold, calculating, monster heaviness…  This part repeats towards the end of the song when Frankie spews “Bitch”, it goes right into that monster moment.

The best song on Look at Yourself and one of the greatest Emmure tunes.  “Flag of the Beast” is up next and sounds like something off the 3rd Korn album, catchy, but after “Natural Born Killer”, I thought we were headed into a killer rest of the album…”Ice Man Confessions” is next and is catchy as hell with Frankie’s vocal patterns, song is kind of heavy, but it’s a real good tune no doubt.  Then after this, shit starts falling apart.  The next 7 songs are really run of the mill type deathcore tunes, and not having the Emmure moments I’m used to.  The djent moments are very prevalent on this entire album and mainly for the rest of this album.

The songs are heavy, but the catchiness and flow of past Emmure albums is not there at all and the tunes begin sounding identical and rather boring.  Now had the songs been better, I would have forgiven some of the production values, because as I stated this is a much thinner sounding album than previous Emmure releases.  Some of the Korn-like moments are way too much for me and then parts of this album has an alternative edge to it, almost pandering to media friendly fans and radio.  I mean how on earth do they go from writing one of their greatest songs ever, on this, “Natural Born Killer”, to the rest of the album’s boring, uninspired moments has me scratching my head.

Look at Yourself could have and should have been heavier, better, and had more crushing, TRUE Emmure songs, like the first 6 tunes, but sadly it does not.  The album cover is as bland as the second half of this album, but the booklet is well designed and contains excellent pictures, which no doubt go along to the song titles.  I’m sure Look at Yourself will sell by the boatloads and they are on the Vans Warped Summer tour.  I’m happy for them for that tour, but Emmure can do better and dammit, that’s what I expect on their next album!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 11th, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: Grindymcgrinder

    His new band is the tony danza tapdance extravaganza.


  2. Commented by: Kevin E.

    I had actually planned on doing this review as I’m a fan, but you pretty much nailed how I felt. It’s good, and the vocals do keep it interesting, but this one is a pass. These guys seem to be at the odd point where every other album is a good one, as far as I can tell.


  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    Yeah, I heard, have not listened yet. Thanks!


  4. Commented by: Frank Rini

    Damn, Kevin, had no clue you were gonna review it as well. Yeah, these Korn influences just were not doing it for me.


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