Review Summary: Horrible lyrics, repetitive songwriting, and endless chugging represent a small step forward for Emmure.
Emmure's last release, "Felony
" was, by all accounts, terrible. The endless breakdowns, uninspired songwriting, and poor lyrics were just a few factors contributing to its critical demise. Two years later, Emmure is back at it, and their latest, "Speaker of the Dead
," is most definitely an improvement over their abysmal previous effort. Some parts of this record are actually legitimately interesting and (dare I say it) catchy, the synths and other electronic effects utilized are impressive, and the production is excellent. There are still many issues with this album, but there is no doubt that "Speaker of the Dead
" is a step in the right direction for Emmure.
Emmure adding electronic elements to their music: the idea sounds horrible, but they surprisingly (for the most part) manage to pull it off. "Bohemian Grove" and the short "A Voice From Below" are both good examples of this, as the eerie synths add an extra layer to the music. The production is also well done; the drums sound great, while the low and heavy guitars pack a serious punch. The bass is also audible (!) which is always nice to see.
Emmure have not improved in every area, however. The songwriting is still pretty lazy, with the downtuned guitars sticking almost exclusively to frets 0, 1 and 2, and while the heavy vocals are listenable, Frankie's trademark spoken word parts are just as laughable as they were on the last release. The lyrics are also uncreative and horrendous, in particular "Drug Dealer Friend" with its defiant cry of "I want to watch you suck his dick!" Every song on here sounds relatively similar, so listening to the album in full is, to put it nicely, a chore. Their decision to end the album with a thirty-five second chugging exercise is also confusing.
"Speaker of the Dead
" is definitely a step in the right direction for Emmure. There are bits and pieces of this release which actually show some promise, and if the band can ever escape the swirling void of breakdown Hell, then they may have the potential to make something memorable. For now, though, I'll turn something else on, and wait with renewed interest for the band's next move.