After the resounding success of the Emmure combination of vocalist Frankie Palmeri with Glass Cloud trio Phil Lockett, Joshua Travis and Josh Miller that was 2017’s “Take A Look At Yourself” there was bound to be some fall out, if only because controversy seems to follow Palmeri around like a black cloud. So bassist Phil Lockett exited stage left in 2018 and was replaced by Nicholas Pyatt while drummer Miller has formed a side project with ex-Lorna Shore and current Chelsea Grin vocalist Tom Barber called Darko. This new record “Hindsight“, the eighth studio record under the Emmure moniker was started back in August of 2019 with a couple of touring breaks while bizarrely Palmeri released a twitter line that said “Trust me when I say; I emotionally and spiritually reject almost every lyric I’ve ever written. It all steams from material pain, a fragile ego, a inability to cope. It’s unfortunate that anyone has ever identified with any of what I’ve said in my music. A lot of people are/were hurting“.
As the heavy riff of “(F)Inally (U)Nderstanding (N)Othing” kicks in staccato style with some vinyl scratching it very much sounds like Emmure are starting out Party Deathcore style with Nu-Metalcore flavors and programming in the mix. It’s hard to deny that in places Palmeri sounds like Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame and the speak and spell style programming only adds to that but the beefed up sound leaves the Jacksonville Nu-Metallers in the dust. Basing lyrics on internet hate “Trash Folder” rips through maintaining the sinister groove while stabbing at social media commentators and keyboard warriors with vicious, vitriolic intent. Both tracks maintain the short sharp stylings “Take A Look At Yourself” while cutting out the choruses and going straight for the jugular vocal attack. First single “Pigs Ear” is another brutal riff ripper of pummeling breakdowns piled up with neat tempo shifts, while making use of programming to underpin everything and provide nuance and snippets of things that bounce out of the mix across multiple listens. “Gypsy Disco” smashes and pulverizes as the classic tale of a road warrior who has lost his way seeing a new city day after day while also featuring suicide hotline references, paying tribute to GG Allin but “I’ve Scene God” is the one which grabs more attention. Name checking various bands – Stick To Your Guns, Stray From The Path, Attila, Knocked Loose, Thy Art Is Murder, Vein, Nails, Fit For A King – during the lyrical flow of a far slower, denser chugging track it contains a warped spoken word that hits home. It’s clever if strange and by this point, it’s hard to tell if there is an in-joke that hasn’t quote come to the surface as yet.
Mid album “Persona Non Grata” comes across as a warning shot, another slightly slower and DJent heavy chugger with the repeating lines “Bad boy, bad boy for life” screamed through the dense dark atmosphere, it’s as brutal as it is strange but remains good fun in a bizarre kind of way. “Thunder Mouth” sees Palmeri play with different voices with some Jonathan Davis “Twist” style mumblings which make for a nice throwback with rose tinted spectacles to some of his Nu-Metal influences. Referencing himself as some kind of Peter Pan type character, the child that never grows up in the dark and groove heavy “Pan’s Dream” makes for thrill ride with some warped programming from Travis adding some Alice in Wonderland flavour. “203” is the album’s longest track at 217 seconds and by this point if Palmeri didn’t seem like he’d lost his mind, then this track is the work of someone who is rapidly losing the plot. Unhinged ramblings with tick-tock drum patterns fill voids between some ripping guitar work and screaming that is the stuff of nightmares in an atmosphere of bleak darkness. This album is full of raw emotion and whirlwinds of destruction, the glitchy touches of samples and electronics shinning thanks to Drew Fulk’s mix. At times it’s like a mix tape that cuts between moments like a tease with the brutalized ferocity that Emmure are known for at its heart.
The abandonment of traditional song structures that we saw in part in “Take A Look At Yourself” has it’s fingerprints all over “Hindsight” and continues into “Informal Butterflies“, which is simply one verse with some big smashes of pause break moments as planets collide, metaphorically and sonically speaking while lyrically making this album a thinking mans record with some uncomfortable paranoia. “Action 52” bounces around “monkey see, monkey do” lyric as something that fans can chant before the short and sharp “Bastard Ritual” sees Palmeri screaming against a haunting eerie programmed backdrop. After the set of nightmare-ish thoughts that make up the preceding trio of tracks “Uncontrollable Descent” brings us back to reality with a thunderous thump of a song that you could see the band playing live with the chorus “Harsh fall back to reality, And you will rue the day, That you’re face to face with me” [8/10].
(F)Inally (U)Nderstanding (N)Othing
I’ve Scene God
Persona Non Grata
“Hindsight” by Emmure is out now via SharpTone Records