On December 22, 2015, it was reported that Frankie Palmeri, was the last man standing in Emmure, the other members of the band abandoning Frankie like rats leaving a sinking ship. The bands line-up has always been in a state of flux and Frankie Palmeri’s statements about his disappointment with the musicianship on 2012’s “Slave To The Game” during the interview run for 2014’s “Eternal Enemies” didn’t go down so well the the other members.
It wasn’t until April 2016 and a performance in Oberhausen, Germany that the new line-up was revealed, with Josh Travis (Guitar), Phil Lockett (bass) and Josh Miller (Drums) backing Frankie Palmeri. That’s right, current and past members of Glass Cloud and Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. Now, I’ve been a fan of Glass Cloud and Josh Travis’s guitar work for some time so a lot was expected of a new record. While the live show that was released gave a hint as to what was to be expected with Travis having the ability to play like two players at the same time.
“Look At Yourself” delivers by the shovel load. Breakdowns piled on breakdowns in typical Emmure style with little nuances and background sounds that make all the difference. This is barebones, punishing, Death Metal-flavoured metallic hardcore that crosses over with Deathcore, DJent and the rhythmic bounce of nu-metal. There are hints at Limp Bizkit with Frankie doing a few verses that sound like Fred Durst, though this itself is nothing new. There was a chance that given vocal surgery the uncleans would be replaced by a lot more rapping but that isn’t the case. This is exactly what fans wanted. All killer and no filler straight from the off, short and to the point. Your only complaint could be that at 31:27 it’s about 2 songs short but this is quality not quantity!
“Shinjuku Masterlord” starts the album in real style following the atmospheric intro tune and tone setter “You Asked For It”. It’s a powerful song that sets the tone for the record as a whole, blending all the best bits of the things that are to come. Lyrically setting the tone and pointing the finger at all those who doubted Frankie’s desire to succeed.
“Smokey” adds a layer of eerie guitar tone and spoken word samples before “Natural Born Killer” piles in demonstrating a refinement to the band’s sound and style while staying true to it’s core. These are anthems for the downtrodden and cast aside who are now ready to roar back in the face of their adversaries and it’s quite clear this is how the band themselves feel. “Flag of the Beast” hints at what could be to come from Emmure. It’s a powerhouse track and a real highlight on the album. In the video, fittingly, Frankie preaches the vocals to a Mexican church. It’s probably the most commercial song on the album, but radio friendly it’s not.
The six string bass and eight string guitar are in full evidence on “Ice Man Confessions” and follow up “Russian Hotel Aftermath” which in title is a nod to the electric shock Frankie received on stage in Russia in 2014. “Torch” was the first song released by SharpTone records as a hint at what the album would be like before anyone knew what the bands lineup would be. It’s another short and sweet affair and perhaps also could be considered a throwback to the “Sunday Bacon” era of Emmure. Closer “Gucci Prison” is probably the best track on the album. As with “Shinjuku Masterlord” it takes all the elements that make the new album good and then lifts it. Stunning stuff and a real return to form for the Queens bruisers. [5/5]
Emmure will be in the UK in November on the Impericon “Never Say Die!” Tour with Deez Nuts, Chelsea Grin, Kublai Khan, Sworn In, Polaris and Lorna Shore.