Review: “Look At Yourself” by Emmure

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Emmure bounce back from their line-up reshuffle.

For the purpose of this review I feel it’s definitely worth revisiting a post from about 5 months ago, 5 Things I Would Like To See On The New Emmure Album & 1 Thing I Don’t, and compare those expectations to the reality of what is their 7th album.

Exploring Percussion

Whilst there honestly isn’t much in the way of percussive instruments on Look At Yourself, there definitely is an effort to try different approaches to rhythm work than on previous outings. Whether it’s the bouncy groove of tracks such as “Flag Of The Beast”, or the flailing attack of “Smokey”, the new rhythm section of Emmure know how to lock tightly into patterns of chugs that create the most impact, whilst occasionally offering something a little bit knew in the mathcore-flavour timings.

Different Guitar Work

Lets be real here- the guitars aren’t all that different from previous Emmure records. Dream Theatre this ain’t. However, the band do opt to dip their collective toes into a few different sounds. First single “Torch” brilliantly incorporates clean guitars to contrast the juddering breakdowns in the background, and new guitarist Josh Travis (of Glass Cloud and The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza fame) manages to make his seven string groan and grunt in a way that I’ve not heard before, used to devastating effect on “Russian Hotel Aftermath”.

Hardcore Riffs

Instead of taking a stripped down approach to the guitar work, and opting for riffs that are simple yet effective- much like hardcore bands like Terror, Emmure have taken a leaf from nu-metal, mathcore and deathcore to form an amalgamation of sounds that are guttural, frenetic and groovy. It’s a combination that definitely works, but over the course of 13 songs and 30ish minutes it can grow a tad tiresome- thankfully the band keep most songs short and to the point.

Comic Book Lyrics

Nah, sorry mate. None of those superhero/manga story lyricisms here, as Frankie Palmeri explains in this interview with Wall Of Sound:

“No, there’s no comic book or video game references in most of our back catalogue” – he says dismissively, alluding to misinterpretation of others over the years. Slave to the Game’ was the record that had the most of that kind of thing going on. The truth of the matter is, the reason that happened was that I wasn’t really feeling the material on that album. When I can’t get in a place to write about anything that’s real to me, I search for ways to fill up what I call the dead-space on the record.”

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Emmure circa 2016

Dynamics

Although there isn’t much in the way of dynamics in terms of quiet-to-loud interplay, there is a bit more exploration of light and shade, as well as slower tempos. The most noticeable example would be “Ice Man Confessions”, which utilizes a mid-tempo slow burning verse of haunting guitar melodies and a crawling bass lines, before exploding into a signature Emmure chorus, replete with guitar squeals and bleeps.

The One Thing I Didn’t Want… Bad Lyrics

Whilst nowhere near as bad as previous efforts, this is not Shakespeare level of thoughtful poetry. You’d hope that by calling the album Look At Yourself, Frankie might choose to write lyrics that are introspective and reflective- I guess they are to an extent, but there’s no subtlety to it whatsoever.

Rating: 7/10

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What albums should I review next? Feel free to leave a comment, like this blog post, like the Facebook page , follow the Pinterest page, and follow this blog for more content.

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