Mention Emmure to any neckbearded failure in a BO sodden Metallica T shirt, whose idea of forward thinking is watching Terminator 2 on betamax, and you’ll likely get a snort of derision followed by an ungodly smoker’s cough and a piquant bellow of ‘FUCK.’ Purists hate Emmure for many reasons. Emmure songs don’t have solos. Emmure songs don’t blether on about war or Chthulhu or any other tired metal trope. Frankie Palmeri has a rapping shouting style too, and as King Gumby Lemmy duly proved the other week, purists can’t get their head around rap or owt (can’t spell rap without crap lol). There are other reasons too. Emmure have better dress sense, and are doubtless tripping up in scene bint, and who’s pissed off? The arsehole down the music shop in the Whitesnake shirt, mercilessly wanking out countless blues riffs and licks to the chagrin of the owner who just wishes he’d bugger off so he could read some Dan Brown in peace.
So yes, people hate Emmure, and Emmure don’t care because they’re touring the world, wearing mosh shorts to their black little heart’s content and rapping about Reptilians and videogame characters.
I am firmly pro-Emmure, and this isn’t me being deliberately contrarian.Their latest opus Speaker Of The Dead proves their (hehe) mettle. Emmure genuinely encompass all I like about heavy music. First things first, they’re batshit heavy. So many chunky detuned riffs and bends. It’s a Sargasso sea of bludgeoning. They’re also direct. They’ve never done an album over 40 minutes, and in an age where shitty Djent bands are making albums that go on for twice as long as the director’s cut of Heaven’s Gate this is a blessing. Our world’s about to shit itself and die man. You think I’m going to have time to listen to an 80 minute Sylosis album? Fuck that. I want a 2 and a half minute Emmure song when I go out.
Emmure’s real top trump though is the aforementioned Frankie Palmeri.
Frankie you see, is an anomaly. He’s a violent bastardisation of Shinji Mikami, David Icke, and Fred Durst, a new man for a new age. He is Schwarzanegger in Commando. He is Vin Diesel in the Pacifier. He is Dawn French in the Vicar of Dibley. He’s the lynchpin, and the reason Emmure stand out like a sore thumb, wearing a tiny little backwards baseball cap. Frankie writes lyrics about Street Fighter and conspiracy theories and shitty women. I can relate to that shit a lot more than whatever it is Periphery sing the bloody fuck about. He’s also an engaging vocalist, with a compulsive half rapped, half roared style that sometimes recalls Chino Moreno at his slurring, angry best. And he says fuck a lot which is great, because swearing is cool, let no one tell you different.
Speaker Of The Dead is the best Emmure album yet, but surely that’s a pretty obvious tautology. It’s a potent, venomous distillation of everything that makes the band so vibrant and unique in the first place. Huge grooves, big riffs, and Frankie cussing about Ryu. If you don’t like it you’re… well you’re perfectly entitled to your own opinion. But you’re a dick.
This will be up there with Radiohead’s King Of Limbs in my top 10. In fact I’m cataloguing it now and putting my thoughts into a database and getting my secretary to take notes, so come the time, I’ll be ready to formulate my top albums of the year, and not just piddle something out like I did last year. Lists are important man. Just like my opinions. Praise Xenu.
Speaker of the Dead is out now on Victory Records.