Review Summary: “Get up” & “bounce”, because “the realest motherf*ckers in the game” are back with another obnoxious LP.
Anyone who has listened to at least two of Emmure’s previous albums probably won’t want to read a four paragraph review of their sixth LP ‘Eternal Enemies’... They just need a few questions answered to know all that they need to. So, for the benefit of the majority, here’s a quick Q&A rundown: (1) Is it the usual half an hour’s worth? Unfortunately not, since its 15 tracks clock in at 45 minutes. (2) Which of their previous albums is this most similar to? ‘Felony’. (3) Is it mostly deathcore or nu-metal? At 45 minutes, there’s room for both, but let’s just say that Fred Durst and Jonathan Davis will be bouncing proudly. (4) Has the musicianship improved? Marginally. (5) Have the lyrics improved? Hahaha. That’s a resounding “no”. (6) Do they still include a couple of tracks worth listening to? Yep, that’s probably the most frustrating thing about Emmure. (7) Is it closer to their best or worst album? It challenges ‘The Respect Issue’ and 'Felony' as their worst!
For the uninitiated, Emmure are a prolific (this is their sixth album in seven years) New York based deathcore act who are as controversial and divisive as they come. To differentiate themselves, the quintet usually instil a healthy dosage of nu-metal into their sound, with versatile front-man Frankie Palmeri handling not only all of the screams, but also the borderline rapped clean vocals. More than any other of their previous LPs, Palmeri dominates this Joey Sturgis produced record. From the album cover to the vocals, the extroverted singer is so front-and-center on ‘Eternal Enemies’, that you almost have to intentionally blank him out to hear any potential musical advancements. As has been their want over the past couple of releases, electronic embellishments and melodic guitar leads do dart in and out of most tracks, but are frustratingly overtaken by low-tuned chugging breakdowns which only serve to render the album monotonously repetitive.
About half a dozen of the tunes here fade into the background and may as well be the same song. That leaves a quartet of listenable tracks, as well as five which are downright horrendous. The latter grouping usually result as a consequence of cringe-worthy lyrics that are as obnoxious as they come. From the controversially titled opener ‘Bring a Gun to School’ (listed as ‘Untitled’ in some publications) to the horribly titled ‘Girls Don’t Like Boys, Girls Like 40s and Blunts’, there is barely a metaphor in sight. If Emmure were a start-up band, you would swear that they were a parody; so unsubtle and earnest is their targeting of rage-filled teenage males, through aggressive, hateful and misogynistic words. On ‘Girls Don’t Like Boys...’, Frankie apparently wants to “f*ck the pretty face of a f*cking slut”, while on ‘Most Hated’ he demands everyone that wants to see him fail to “eat dick”! And to top it all off, there are some cheesy Durstonian moments that will take you back to the year 2000... ‘The Hang Up’ sees Palmeri claim he is “the realest motherf*cker in the game”, while he even tells us when to “get up” and “bounce” (over record scratches) on ‘E’.
On the flip-side, lead single ‘Nemesis’ is an ok tune which should act as a baseline for Emmure to not sink below, while it is no surprise that the quintet are at their best when they try something different. Inexplicably, it is the three longest tracks here which are the highlights. ‘A Gift A Curse’ proves that the band aren’t totally incapable of some half-decent songwriting, ‘Grave Markings’ shows off their melodic leanings, while closer ‘We Were Just Kids’ includes some atmosphere, some melody, and even some – gasp – emotion (that isn’t anger)! Unfortunately, these are very much exceptions to the rule, with ‘Eternal Enemies’ ultimately being just another Emmure album that is more concerned with macho posturing and shock value than technicality and song structures. This time, it’s just a little longer and louder than before. Of course, ‘Most Hated’ suggests Palmeri & Co. don’t care what we think, as he proclaims “And you can hate me all you want coz I don’t give a $hit”. We can tell Frankie, you don’t need to spell it out for us.
Recommended Tracks: We Were Just Kids & Grave Markings.