THEPRP REVIEWS

Emmure Eternal Enemies

2014 Victory Records

Eternal damnation.

Emmure - Eternal Enemies

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There’s no disputing Emmure‘s current status as a lightning rod for internet hatred. Outside of Limp Bizkit, few bands are as reviled amongst the dark corners of comment sections where trolls make their home.

While the band—or at least some of the actions taken by their frontman Frankie Palmeri—have certainly warranted the attention; “Eternal Enemies” again proves it’s not just his ego and insensitive merch that have earned them such a distinction.

Metal and the majority of its offshoots have long been a place where technical ability & powerful expressionism reign. These are traits that Emmure continue to lack on this latest album; a collection of fifteen tracks where frontman Frankie Palmeri works out his Napoleon complex atop monotonous single fret deathcore riffing, and rehashed nu metal squelch.

At its core “Eternal Enemies” seems like a vehicle tailored for Palmeri‘s angst and revenge fantasies. From his face adorning the cover to his smothering vocal performance; his presence is inescapable. Little surprise then that he fills up the outing with a precincts worth of good cop (spoken word raps)/bad cop (screams/bellows) vocals. His warnings and woes are routinely rapped and raged with his army of detractors rarely leaving his crosshairs.

In all honesty, this chance to fire back should have been the perfect platform for Emmure. Instead it emerges as one of the album’s biggest letdowns. For all the resentment and anger Palmeri and the band air out, it always seems to distill down to the same two themes: A. Palmeri could care less about the insults and disrespect lobbed his way; B. that people should try and say those comments to his face.

Take “Most Hated“, where Palmeri adopts his best Fred Durst impression, repeatedly telling those who wanted to see him fail to “eat dick”. Interestingly that song is perhaps the most ambitious cut on the effort; adapting a Deftones-styled vocal melody on the chorus and adding in some throbbing electronics. But with such a stilted lyrical repertoire it’s crippled from the get go—sans the aforementioned blatantly placed opportunity for an audience callback

The Hang Up” finds Palmeri taking other musicians to task, spouting “I’m the realest motherfucker in the game, I see you faggots living perfect lives, selling all your bullshit angst. Sold my soul, so Satan explain, where’s my money, power, fame?” (note a lyric sheet was not provided, so this may not be 100%.) It’s this innate need to incessantly call out others in painfully blunt English that takes away about the only chance this album had at succeeding.

At first you can understand where the band are coming from. It’d actually be gratifying to see them cleverly use the backlash they’ve endured to prove everyone wrong. But after a barrage of the same themes and song structures regurgitated with little variation, it all just feels like shallow attempts at shock value. The opening track originally being named “Bring A Gun To School” just goes on to reaffirm the creative bankruptcy and level of desperation at play here.

Sadly the instrumental component is usually just as hollow as the vocals; forever trapped on the same 3 frets (four if you count open notes) and double kick rumble. Almost all of the above is punctuated by bass drops and nu metal squelch lifted directly from Korn‘s library. There’s no shame in direct inspiration, but it’s not exactly commendable when “Girls Don’t Like Boys, Girls Like 40’s And Blunts” is pretty much a reworked take on Korn‘s “Good God” until the chorus hits.

From the sex scene groans in “Hitomi’s Shinobi“—Palmeri‘s creeper ode to porn star Hitomi Tanaka—to the turntables and the cheesy crowd calls in “E“; there’s just too much formulaic cliché slopped on here to be taken seriously. The only break in character comes via the pop punk/screamo sounding “We Were Just Kids“—a song that finds Palmeri attempting some actual emotional range. But after suffering through an album’s worth of banal, textbook deathcore riffs and stale nu metal leftovers, eternal damnation has already long set in.

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