For years now, in certain musical circles, the name Emmure has been more or less a laughing stock.
Known for repetitive breakdowns and lyrics that sounds as if they were written by an eighth grader going through his super hero phase and first break up at the same time, the band has long been labeled “juvenile,” “boring,” and “unoriginal.”
However, their new album “Look at Yourself,” is a clear departure from their old sound. This is thanks, in large part, to the entirely new line up that vocalist Frankie Palmeri assembled in the wake of the rest of the band breaking ties with him to go and form their own project.
This line up consists of almost the entirety of progressive metal giants Glass Cloud: guitarist Josh Travis, bassist Phil Lockett, and drummer Josh Miller.
Released almost exactly one year after the public departure of the rest of the band, “Look at Yourself” draws clear influences from Travis’ time in Glass Cloud and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza.
While the album features its fair share of old school Emmure style breakdowns and chugging riffs, especially during the album’s phenomenal opening track “You Asked For It,” no longer do they make up the entirety of the listening experience.
In addition, they’re mixed carefully between ambient guitar leads, such as the intro to “Ice Man Confessions” and “Torch,” and bouncy guitar riffs that highlight Travis’ skill, such as “Natural Born Killer” and “Gucci Prison.”
Unfortunately, while the instrumentation on the new album shows a clear departure from the old Emmure style, the same cannot be said for the lyrics. Palmeri continues to pen the lion’s share of the lyrics and, while he has moved away from screaming about superheroes and break ups, they aren’t much better this time around, instead focusing on creating a tough guy image that ultimately falls flat.
The only positive aspect about his performance on this album is that the vocals are much crisper and stronger sounding than their previous albums, especially when compared to his performance on 2009’s “Felony.”
Standout tracks on the album include “You Asked For It,” “Natural Born Killer,” “Flag of the Beast,” and “Ice Man Confessions.”
Overall, “Look at Yourself” is a decent album, but it’s nothing to write home about or run out and buy; but, if you’re looking for a good way to kill 30 minutes, give it a spin.