Emmure is a band that I admit to not paying much attention to when their debut LP, Goodbye to the Gallows, reached store shelves last year. It was not so much that I wasn't interested, I just judged them on their name and moved on to something I was more interested in. I saw the name "Emmure" and figured it as a screamo/emo act, a genre that fails to impress me all that often.
I decided to give their new release, The Respect Issue, a shot. What I discovered was anything but screamo/emo. They are a cross between hardcore and deathcore. It surely is an odd mix, and I cannot say that I entirely like it, but it does get the adrenaline flowing and I can imagine this being a big hit in the live setting.
One of the best things about The Respect Issue is that it does not overstay it's welcome. Clocking in at a mere 29 minutes, Emmure does not waste any time getting right down to business of delivering skull crushing, hardcore style breakdowns while deathcore style vocals guide you through the brief run time.
The album gets things off to a heavy start with the introductory track "Young, Rich, and Out of Control." It has some growled vocals, heavy chugging guitars, and leads directly into the first actual song, "Sound Wave Superior." This is where it all begins to go downhill.
You see, this is an album that has stirred up contradictory feelings from deep within me. On one side, the heavy start works in its favor, because there are many times when all I want are some riffs that can bash my face in. Heaviness for the sake of heaviness can in itself be a means to an end. If there is one thing Emmure delivers here, it is that adrenaline driven, core style music that gets the blood flowing and just makes you want to turn the volume up, neighbors be damned. However, that heaviness will not keep me coming back all that often. I can enjoy it for what it is, but it will not win me over as a fan. In order to hold onto me there will have to be some depth to the music, a sound that stands out and makes me want to listen. I am not sure that Emmure is that band.
The Respect Issue slips into a rut as the entire album sounds like one long breakdown. I am sure this sort of thing plays well to a live crowd, as I can imagine getting into a pit surging and boiling over under the sheer kinetic energy that is generated. I am reminded of bands like Unearth, who may not have the in-your-face heaviness of Emmure, but has a stronger technical ability to combine the breakdowns with strong lead work, in turn giving their music some added depth and increasing their replay value.
Not to sound like I am unnecessarily ripping into them, Emmure has a strong base, and this is only their second album. They are young and have plenty of room to grow and develop their sound. I have heard many bands which don't have this much going for them. I am interested in seeing where they go from here.
The hardcore/deathcore crossover is an interesting combination and while I have heard this drumming before, I like what the guitarists, Ben Lionetti and Jesse Ketive, are doing here. Also, the multiple vocal styles of Frank Palmeri are pretty good, although I believe it be best he avoid the clean style.
I also have to give a special mention to one of the best song titles I have seen this year: "Show Me on the Doll Where He Touched Your MySpace." You cannot tell me that isn't a great title!
Bottomline. Emmure definitely brings the heavy. They are not lacking in that area and they do it well. What they need is to add a little more depth. They are definitely worth spending a little time with, just don't be surprised if you tire quickly and are looking for something else pretty quick.