Review Summary: Don't hate the player, hate the game.18 of 19 thought this review was well written
It's a new year so like clockwork that means the music community is due for another churned out record from metalcore whipping boys Emmure. I'd like to attest their relentless grind to an unwavering passion but since the material is usually incomprehensibly juvenile it swings between a worrying need to stay relevant and line pockets. I feel strangely compelled to find some formidable excuse for baffling career decisions but I give up trying to decipher if the band is trolling the world or a textbook definition of atrociousness in denial. I also can’t pinpoint the confusing allure of if vocalist Frankie Palmeri is truly messed up in the head or simply a calculated con artist playing wacky to attract extra publicity.
All I know for certain is my abusive relationship with the quintet burst into a full-blown case of PTSD ages ago and for some sick reason I return annually in shame. It used to be just to see how they’d horribly top themselves but as much as I disliked the last album, I did catch something on the horizon, wading through the muck. Perhaps it was a marketed illusion, how I almost fell for Speaker Of The Dead
, but I was shocked when the first single ‘Protoman’ premiered from Slave To The Game
. It was certainly at a level I’d least expect given the hilarious album title and artwork from one of the most consistently deplorable entertainers around. I quickly associated it as a fluke when remembering whom I was dealing with and how I’d once been so naively swindled into rooting for the wrong team.
The next step was deciding to officially bite the bullet, put my own bias aside, and give Emmure one last shot against my better judgment. What happened was bittersweet in my ongoing battle to grasp why I choose to torture myself with evident garbage. When I initially listened to the album all the way through I didn’t like it but I couldn’t bring myself to absolutely despise it like everything post 2007. I’m sure you’re curious as to how it could even begin to excel above negative expectations and there’s no doubt the answers will vary, if at all. It’s sad that this is even considered an improvement when discussing musical growth but Slave To The Game
, for the most part, showcases Emmure actually trying to convince the audience they gave a slight damn when putting together this album.
I was optimistically waiting in my pessimism to sound off like a laugh track on a bad sitcom when I played through each song. Instead I remained completely silent in my indifference to everything thrown at me besides the interlude ‘Poltergeist,’ which was surreal due to being so grotesquely out of place. In a nutshell, Slave To The Game
expands on the few cool eerie ideas they got right on Speaker Of The Dead
and sacrifices some of the painful hoopla. We are talking about Emmure here so don’t expect a chug/breakdown free affair but I enjoyed the coherent leads and pitch effects. It’s not a departure light years ahead but the music does feels like it was meticulously arranged in an efficient manner here.
It’s never been more apparent that both guitarists strive to reanimate Korn’s Follow The Leader
from an instrumental aspect like in 'Umar Dumps Dormammu.' The bassist still flows in and out of blind spots but the fact he’s audible can be taken at face value. The biggest improvement is ex-btbam drummer Mark Castillo who gives even the most generic moments more life than the former member ever saw fit. As for the always outspoken catalyst that typically obliterates progress, Frankie makes do. The lyrical topics range around the same tired crap but are toned down in douchiness and cater to fan fiction stories about game characters. It’s not the first flirtation with this concept but the full embrace creates a cohesive theme and thankfully refrains from penile talk.
So as I reflect I find myself apathetic towards grabbing a pitchfork and torch for the obvious manhunt Slave To The Game
will conjure up. The album is the epitome of average when solely based against the rest of their wigger catalog they oddly obtained along the way. I’ll definitely never run in some spin kick rage to Emmure’s defense shouting “best band ever pussy!” like their circus of a fan base. In making all that abundantly clear, I do believe I’ll wait to purchase my ticket and catch the next hate train. Till next time bros.