Review Summary: Scene-punk band Emanuel lets the demons that accompany the touring life style eat them alive, but mannage to see the process through over the course of a record with nods to every feeling of listnesses and addiction anyone has ever gone through. The resu
There is another review on this site concerning this album. I sincerely doubt that its author listened to this thing more than one time... he wastes no time in dismissing Emanuel as your run of the mill overdramatic boy-band, and quickly condemns them to an eternity of singing about girls.
Please, pay this review no attention whatsoever. He fails to mention anything on the evolution of the band's sonic capabilities nor anything regarding the undeniable change in tone and attitude that these Louisville boys smack you upside the head with on Black Earth Tiger. You may or may not have heard their previous release, Soundtrack to a Head Rush. Whether or not you liked it is, for the most part, completely off topic and unimportant in regards to the quality of this album. Soundtrack to a Headrush was well done, but it was also light, whiney, sceney, and went a little heavy on the Pop-Punk thing at times. They were young, fresh-faced to the world of the music industry and undeniably a band to have on your radar.
Fast forward two years and Emanuel would release Black Earth Tiger before taking an indefinite hiatus due to an inability to tour in support of the album coupled with a lack of public response to the album. This is highly unfortunate, as quality-wise it eclipsed anything the band had done previously. The tone shifted; I mean this in every sense of the word. The guitars were thicker, lower, chuggier. The clean vocals became less intense and more spacey, while the screams sounded higher, more focused, and were more artfully placed, recalling the prize fighter vocalists they were obviously influenced by: Chico Moreno, and Daryl Pulumbo. Things got very, very stoney. There is no mistaking the album for anything but the drug fueled monster that it is, often sounding like some kind of stoner metal- post hardcore hybrid that stampedes out of your speakers and into your eardrums with a very sincere, if not a little slowed and a little red eyed, fury.
Speaking of drugs, it seems higly probable that the band underwent some dramatic change in lifestyle while riding the wave of success that Soundtrack to a Headrush brought. Without going into specifics here, it seems logical to assume that this is the reason I am writing this review in 2012, while the album (the band's most recent) was released in 2007.
Black Earth tiger opens up with a slow build up they call Whiteflag. It's a percussion heavy tune that proves itself to be quite hummable, before slowly fading out after a couple minutes and giving way to the rest of the album. The record twists and turns and chugs and eventually the last song comes around, a seperate version of Whiteflag that has been extended into quite a long track. Midway through it nearly dies out before coming back around and hitting very, very hard. This track features a large section of drum rolls which, to fans of the often boring genre, are as refreshing as greats like Bonham and Pert were to rock n' roll fans decades ago.
Which leads me to my next point. This is a great Rock record. It has everything. Phobos, the obvious single, hits you with a Strokes like dance riff before segwaying into some of the heaviest moments of the album. Cottonmouth reflects on older punk riffs. Scenotaph recalls the heavy yet spacey sound of Deftones, as do its lyrics (landlocked, it's saturday night at the end of the world, and there's a pharmacy in my pocket). They do a really great job of letting their influences effect their tone without forgetting to sound like themselves at all times. They draw you in. You may feel stoned, and you will feel strung out, and tired, and ready to make it back to Kentucky.
Perhaps Black Earth Tiger deserved the 2.5 the previous critic awarded it... there's a chance that it's important to have a number available for people unwilling or unable to listen to a record with an open mind and devote some time towards its appreciation, and if this is the case sputnik has one ready to go, with a reveiw penned by one of their kind to accompany it. If the above does not sound like you, and you are a fan of trippy space metal that reaks punk and rock influence, then be sure to check this out. It's easy to miss, unfortunately.