Album: Look At Yourself
Genre: Metalcore/Nu Metal
Review by Steve Jenkins
You'd think that if all of your band members left and went on to do other things, it might take a rather heavy toll on your perceptions and perhaps make you doubt your future. Well, that's what happened to vocalist Frankie Palmeri at the end of 2015. But instead of wallowing or letting it bring him down, he went out and acquired a brand new line up of musicians and released what is (arguably) the best Emmure album that's been released, ever. It certainly helps that the lineup of musicians that have now joined Frankie to take on this new era of Emmure aren't just anyone. Made up of members from Glass Cloud and the now defunct Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, a whole host of talent has been introduced to the band, giving them an impressive technical aspect that the band hasn't previously seen.
Emmure have always had an abundance of chugging breakdowns and an almost simple yet effective song structure when it comes to their material. But with this being album number 7, they're definitely doing something right and have aquired a very strong and loyal fanbase which is still very much alive today. The mixture that we have here is essentially Emmure and Glass Cloud, and it works. It's still very much the standard formula we've heard in previous releases, but it's a slightly more polished and straight to the point version.
Clocking in at just a little over half an hour, it doesn't have enough time to slow down, unlike their previous album Eternal Enemies, which was closer to 50 minutes and had a tendency to drag in certain sections. The lyrics are still pretty lackluster to be brutally honest, but that's people aren't drawn to Emmure for their poetic prowess. The album starts off with basically a one minute long breakdown, which we've come to expect from past releases, but that one minute is extremely full of energy and heaviness - it'll be sure to get you pumped. The third track 'Smokey' is one of the standouts and it hits very hard, not only musically but lyrically. It's short and in your face, and definitely packs a punch. 'Natural Born Killer' is a personal favourite and probably the song that I would use to introduce someone to the new and improved Emmure. The song starts off strong and has an excellent build up before unleashing some of the most explosive and brutal sounding moments ever heard from this band hailing from Queens, New York.
If you've never heard Emmure before but you're familiar with Glass Cloud and go into this album expecting to hear a Glass Cloud album, you’ll be disappointed. But if you go into Look At Yourself already being a fan of Emmure, then you should be pretty satisfied with what you end up hearing. Things such as intensity, djent inspired riffs, and top-notch production make this a more enjoyable album to listen to than the past couple of releases. The instrumentation overall has definitely improved, but too many throwaways slightly sour the experience, and I can’t help but feel like with more time this could have been a pretty phenomenal album. If there were ever a downfall holding Emmure back from being great rather than good, it's the old quality over quantity conundrum. Having released 7 albums in 10 years, I feel as though Look At Yourself would have been a bit more special had we waited a little bit longer for it. But right now, it's here and it's not a bad effort at all.
3 out 5 stars.
Check out the video for 'Flag Of The Beast' below: