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Album Review: Emmure - 'Eternal Enemies'

6 April 2014 | 7:32 pm | Alex Sievers

Solid stuff from Frankie Palmeri & co.

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Ah, Emmure, you either love them or hate them. The extremes are simply stark. Haters abhor the band (and in some part, it’s probably been warranted) and lovers defend the band staunchly.

Emmure are a band who boldly claimed that this new album, the group's sixth to date, would be the 'album of the year'. That is, of course, the trademark over-confidence from Palmeri and co. in a painstakingly obvious nutshell. Cutting through the rhetoric and empty dribble, though, ‘Eternal Enemies’ is actually quite good but certainly not THAT good.

While this new release doesn't top select predecessors, it slides ideally in the overall catalogue. For the most part, 'Eternal Enemies', which looks like the cover of the next Call Of Duty game, is actually a solid album. Not flawless but bias aside, decent enough. It's just as dark and cathartic as previous releases, and the instrumentation is the exact same. Palmeri still has the same high throaty screams and low death growls going on, with even a bit more spoken word popping up. Drummer Mark Castillo sticks within his set metalcore style and of course, the same low-tuned chugs and riffs come back strong. The instrumentation isn't a huge criticism though, as this record is mainly marred by the odd missed opportunity to have great songs that have ultimately fallen right into shitsville.

Things look bad for this album straight away, though. 'Bring A Gun To School' - yes that was actually the original title of the song before the band changed the name to 'Untitled' - is such a hit and miss moment. It's a good intro song-wise, but the buzz is killed every time you listen to it because you're reminded of its blatantly disrespectful moniker. Plus, with lyrics like 'Holy fucking shit, I'm having so much fun killing everyone that you've ever loved' and 'All your friends are fucking dead', one is rather thankful that they've now changed the title to 'Untitled'. Poor form in so, so many ways. Moving on.

'Nemesis', 'Free Publicity' and 'Rat King' are your typically aggressive, 'fuck the hater' metalcore tracks. While they are all consistent songs, you can't really kick that sense of 'heard it all before', something that really sets in. However, the nu-metal inspired 'E' is easily one of the coolest, energetic songs present. Its huge grooves, pit call and spoken word style vocals work really well and you just know that this will be utterly nuts banger live.

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'Most Hated', which is probably how some haters would describe the band, features the closest thing Palmeri has come to actually clean singing. But the lyrics also come off as immensely cocky. The same goes for the groovy and spiteful stirrings of 'The Hang Up', and 'A Gift A Curse' but again, with lyrics like 'I'm the realest motherfucker in the game, I see all you faggots living perfect lives, selling all your bullshit angst...', it just seems that Palmeri is putting in his own two cents about the heavy music scene but in the most arrogant way possible. This is starkly contrasted by the positively unexpected 'Grave Markings', which hits damned hard and fast and has some rather strong guitar melodies in it that allow the song to really shine.

In the past, the band has had some pretty tasteless songs and lyrics about ex-girlfriends. That, unfortunately, isn't absent here with the other big letdown of the album being 'Hitomi's Shinobi'. This incredibly average track actually includes sex noise samples, which really leaves one perplexed and quite uncomfortable, and it only adds to this awful track. As for its confusion, I can only imagine that Palmeri lost a few brain cells after being electrocuted last year. Thankfully, ‘Eternal Enemies’ does end on a high note with the emotional 'We Were Just Kids'.

Okay, look, your opinion of this band may not change after listening to this new full-length. Haters will find more reasons to detest them and fans will have more breakdowns and chugs to lap up. Looking at it dispassionately, however, ‘Eternal Enemies’ is not as bad is its exterior would suggest.

'Eternal Enemies', much like it's predecessor, 'Slave To The Game'is an intense album, but unlike before, there are a few really poor exceptions to the rule. Fifteen tracks is also a little bit excessive at times, but the good far, far outweighs the odd, ridiculously stupid hiccup. This is not the album of the year as the band claimed, but it's still pretty good in it's own right. Solid, but not groundbreaking.

1. Bring A Gun To School

2. Nemesis

3. N.I.A. (News In Arizona)

4. The Hang Up

5. A Gift A Curse

6. E

7. Like Lamotta

8. Free Publicity

9. Most Hated

10. Grave Markings

11. Hitomi's Shinobi

12. Ray King

13. Girls Don't Like Boys, Girls Like 40's and Blunts

14. New Age Rambler

15. We Were Just Kids