Saturday, April 28, 2012

Emmure Prove Old Habits Are Hard To Break

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m not sure if Emmure is familiar with that saying or not. It’s been just a little over a year since their 2011 album Speaker of the Dead came out, but the boys are back already on the music scene. A new album entitled Slave to the Game has just been unleashed by the band. Is it another chug fest or do the guys charter new ground and branch out? It’s time to break out the scalpel and dissect this new effort.

The album opens with “Insert Coin” and it’s a short intro that sounds like someone going into what may be an arcade and inserting coins into a game. Track two, “Protoman”, starts off with a killer riff that grabs you from the start. Frankie Palmeri’s vocals are top notch on here. His growls are just as fierce and intense as ever. If this son is any indication of how the rest of the album will go, then we are in store for a very interesting ride.

Well, old habits and patterns are hard to break. The band, which is notoriously known for the use of or overuse of breakdowns, suddenly begins to sound repetitious. You know the pattern: chug, chug, chug, breakdown, breakdown, chug, chug, and chug. Could it be that’s what the fans expect from them and they’re just delivering what they want? If that’s the case, then fans of the band will really like this album because it doesn’t stray from the formula that they use.

Don’t get me wrong, the album is good and it has some killer tracks on it. The previously mentioned “Protoman” is one as well as “Blackheart Reigns” and the insane “Umar Dumps Dormammu”. The latter song is heavy on intensity and shows the band using some samples and electronics which does show the band showing some range. The track probably will turn some fans off because of the experimentation.

The guitar work on this album is also very interesting at times. Jesse Ketive and Mike Mulholland show signs of growth on several tracks. They bring in elements of playing that I think will surprise even the most hardcore of fans. I’m not sure what’s going on with the bass though, as it seems to struggle to be heard on many of the tracks. Did the other guys in the band punk Mark Davis by turning down the amp on his bass? New kid on the block Mark Castillo does a great job on his Emmure debut as drummer and he definitely brings the intensity throughout the entire album. Vocalist Frankie Palmeri is just as strong and solid as ever.

Overall, I can’t give the album two thumbs up or two thumbs down. Maybe it was rushed? Maybe they should wait longer next time in between albums? Maybe working with another producer besides Joey Sturgis again will push them creatively? Comic books and video games are all fine and well, but sometimes you have to write songs with more substance to them in order to keep your fans attention. Time will tell if their fans get tired of eating from the same buffet or if they decide to try something else.

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