Victory Records 2011
When listening to Emmure‘s “Speaker Of The Dead” it’s hard not to be reminded of the third and fourth generation nu-metal acts who tried to stake their claim in the early to mid 2000′s. Much like the No One‘s and the 3rd Strike‘s of the world; Emmure don’t necessarily have the creativity or instrumental ability to match their deathcore peers and are reduced to emulation and gimmickry to make their mark, rather than rely on proficiency or innovation.
In fact, using a nu-metal analogy is not lost on “Speaker Of The Dead“. For the ill-fated genre’s painfully dated traits are proudly exhibited here through excessive bellow and refrain vocals, mild spoken/sung raps and discordant guitar squelches and squeals. To be fair one may give the band merit for at least being somewhat unique in combining these elements with the heavier characteristics of deathcore to set themselves apart.
What isn’t meritorious though is the lack of sonic identity or the painfully cluttered, simplistic songwriting. The tracks featured here are often so formulaic that even the choruses are barely enough to differentiate them. Breakdowns are piled up atop more breakdowns while monotonous gruff vocals, noisy guitar histrionics, detuned chug riffs and bass dives all repeat at predictable intervals.
For a band that loves breakdowns as much as Emmure one would expect them to move at least 5 frets up or down the neck, but this rarely the case. It’s not just the limited playing ability that holds this album back though. The lyrics are no better.
Take for instance “Drug Dealer Friend“, which repeats the line or slight variants of “I want to watch you suck his dick, I know you fucking love it, bitch.” Now this may work when you have pre-teen scene girls giggling and shouting it back. But if the band can pull if off live with a crowd of New Era adorned steakheads, the results will likely be far more comedic than originally intended.
In so many ways Emmure have established themselves as the Limp Bizkit of the deathcore genre – except without any of the notable instrumental ability. An almost cartoon-like exaggeration where shock tactic lyrics, cheesy hooks and street grime imagery desperately try to hide weak songwriting and pedestrian musicianship. To put it bluntly, with “Speaker Of The Dead” Emmure have delivered their own modern day “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water“.
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