Review Summary: Emmure produce hard hitting breakdowns, but what else?
With somewhat of an infestation of metalcore bands lately - the genre has (sadly) become music's most productive deliverer of mediocrity and unoriginality. Inexplicable as it may sound, I was intrigued when I heard of Emmure: metalcore with a more breakdown orientated approach. Something I've never heard of. Upon listening to Emmure's first full-length studio album, Goodbye To The Gallows, my interest diminished and mediocrity and unoriginality came to mind.
If creating thunderous breakdowns was Emmure's sole purpose, they'd succeed with flying colours. Their intentions are made crystal clear from the very beginning - the intro, a 50 second instrumental breakdown. The intro basically warns you, more incoming... The heavily downtuned chugging and bass kicks are almost ubiquitous, providing a perpetual supply of breakdowns throughout the album. These two elements also amalgamate well, creating a few compact blasts. 0:14 Into the intro, as the vocalist shouts, "Go," one of these compact blasts can be heard. Pretty brutal. Generally the bass will follow the riff patterns, and gives the music a fuller sound. As brutal as the breakdowns are, they are used to a preposterous extent, inevitably becoming monotonous. Apt examples are the third track, sporting a brief verse in the middle, but dominated by breakdowns. The eigth track is basically a dragged out breakdown of almost three minutes. I just wish they worked more sparingly with their breakdowns.
Luckily, this album has one inherent quality, the vocals. The vocals smoothly teeter between spoken vocals, high shrieks, deathy growls, and even a cleanly sung section on the seventh track. Each facet of the vocals is executed well - the deathy growls are especially pleasing, sometimes the spoken vocals sound out of place or annoying, but this is negligible. The vocals provide much needed variation. Why is this variation so bliss? One simple reason... The vocals manage to rescue the dragged out breakdowns. The third track is a testament to this, the full reputua of vocals are implemented and almost salvage the song. What's supposed to be another tiresome breakdown, becomes a half decent song. However, the end of the song is excruciatingly annoying, with the vocalist repeatedly asking, "Won't you be my bride?" - followed by a few throaty words. Nevertheless, the vocals was a big plus point. The lyrics are as cliched as they come. The bad ex... They were poorly written, and come across as obnoxious and childish.
Thankfully, Emmure do manage to exhibit some depth and aptitude as far as musicianship is concerned (albeit rare). They manage to conjur up a few decent grooves, for example the second track (0:15 and 2:32). The fourth track features better instrumentation - your ears are graced by a melodic guitar riff! For the first time you actually notice the lead guitar, entertaining your ears with a very catchy hook. The spoken vocals work well at the beginning and during the verse. The drummer even chips in with a few fills. The seventh track also boasts with melody. The track starts off with a catchy melodic section which changes into a breakdown eventually, then we hear a cleanly sung chorus. This was definitely one of the better songs and I can't fathom why Emmure didn't incorporate more melody.
Apart from compelling vocals, this album is marred by monotony and tedium. For the most part it feels like a mindless onslaught of breakdowns. They are brutal as hell, but used to a ridiculous extent. If you like to mosh, by all means...
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