Emmure’s self-assured ‘Look at Yourself’ pits frontman Frankie Palmeri against their recent band member exodus and produces a neat collection of annihilating anthems, if nothing breathtakingly inventive.
Having survived the mutiny of 2016 with only Palmeri still standing, it’s a pleasure for fans to see 2017 in with a rejuvenated lineup harvesting talent from Glass Cloud drummer Josh Miller, Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza bassist Phil Lockett and stringsman Josh Travis. The first half of this new incarnation is certainly a lot heavier than pre-evacuation Emmure, yet the second half of ‘Look at Yourself’ definitely lets the side down.
Getting off to a wall-punching start, ‘You Asked for It’ sets a scene of heavy chaos which rings throughout – the blistering speed of raps and doom-laden lows from Palmeri throughout ‘Shinjuku Masterlord’ are expertly orchestrated. “Do you really think I give a fuck? Because I don’t” may not be the most eloquent utterance you’ve ever heard in deathcore, but it’s delivered with such vitriol that the simplicity is forgivable.
A face-smashing anthem that was born for a live atmosphere, the unstoppably heavy ‘Natural Born Killer’ offsets the unrelenting blast beats of ‘Smokey’ and menacing whispers of ‘Ice Man Confessions’ as if Emmure have risen from the ashes of a dreadful 2016 virtually unscathed. As if Limp Bizkit were shoved in a Nutri Bullet, the cohesive rhythm of ‘Flag of the Beast’ emerges as a stand-alone masterpiece booming its way through antagonistic soundbites with ease.
The punishing pace and tricksy backing of ‘Russian Hotel Aftermath’, however, heralds the album’s drop into unremarkable filler. If it weren’t for Josh Miller’s incredible sticksmanship and Palmeri’s impressive lower register, the last six tracks would be a complete write-off in refusing to venture outside the box.
For last man standing Palmeri, ‘Look at Yourself’ is a pedestal he’s used to prove his worth in slick fashion. For Emmure fans, turning the intensity up to 11 makes for a neat seventh addition to their back catalogue. For deathcore addicts, however, the regimented genre box-ticking quickly becomes tiresome halfway through.
Recommended tracks: Flag of the Beast, Natural Born Killer.
- You Asked for It
- Shinjuku Masterlord
- Natural Born Killer
- Flag of the Beast
- Ice Man Confessions
- Russian Hotel Aftermath
- Call Me Ninib
- Major Key Alert
- Turtle in a Hare
- Gucci Prison