Frankie Palmeri has been under scrutiny for many things over the years, but the recent Cold Souls Clothing scandal tops the cake. These days, with the hardcore/deathcore community being as close knit as it is (though not as much as it was even just five years ago), fans wouldn’t allow something like this to go over easily. I, for one, refuse to let this go unnoticed. I was only vaguely aware of Cold Souls Clothing even existing and I never checked it out until I saw the news of it being shut down.
Before we delve into the actual shirts in question and Frankie’s “apology,” let’s dig a little bit deeper into his other projects. First and foremost, there’s Emmure. While there are a lot of fans who support the band, I for one do not understand the current appeal. Their imagery is that we can all be super-tough guys that don’t take shit from anybody, anti-everything, beat up people, and talk about video games. While they used to be one of the most respected bands in the hardcore genre with such releases as The Complete Guide to Needlework EP, The Respect Issue, and the classic Goodbye to Gallows, they fell apart when the original members Joe and Ben Lionetti left the band due to internal conflicts amongst themselves.
According to Lambgoat.com in a statement written by Joe Lionetti, “one night there was an altercation in the band that split them down the middle even more so then they already were, so we have officially left Emmure.” It wouldn’t be surprising if Frankie had something to do with this. Considering the Lionetti brothers are the original members, as in they were making music before bringing Frankie along, they should have kept the name.
Their music, even back in the glory days, has been noted to include a much more than normal influence of esteemed hardcore/deathcore band The Acacia Strain that pre-dated Emmure by years. By quickly listening to both bands’ older material you can connect the dots. However, a few years ago, vocalists from both bands traded blows in Clifton Park, NY after Emmure’s show when Vincent Bennett approached Frankie and asked to discuss their problems. Tensions arose and, according to an unnamed label source and an Acacia Strain band member, Frankie sucker punched Vincent and they fought for a few minutes. Frankie was punching Vincent over and over with Vincent laughing at him saying he wasn’t going to hit back. Frankie attempted to put on some brass knuckles and, according to Vincent, he dusted him and ended the fight.
How did this get started? While the details are foggy at best, it would seem it was the outcome from The Acacia Strain’s song “Skynet,” in which they refer to Emmure for ripping them off. If you took the time to listen to both bands, you would see this is arguably true. The entire song is filled with hate, as evidenced with “Plagiarism is the highest form of flattery. / Why would you ever want to be like me? / Even if you apologized to me right now it would mean nothing.”
Emmure’s song “R2 Deepthroat,” from their album Felony, was their response to Acacia’s “Skynet.” “I’m so happy that you just can’t stop talking shit… So much for plagiarism / So much for you to waste your breath running your mouth… So do me a favor / The next time you see her / Ask your girl what my dick tastes like.”
Which brings us to the next point of Frankie and Emmure – the lyrics and song titles. The song title “I <3 EC2” is one of the most sellout titles ever, referencing the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud system for music. “Drug Dealer Friend” is the now-infamous song in which he expresses his joy in watching a guy sucking another guy’s dick. Yes, it’s about man on man. He’s also a big-time conspiracy theorist who has overlapping beliefs. For example, “Area 64-66” talks about UFOs. The scriptures of the Nephilim – who are said to be sons of God – are spoken in “Eulogy of Giants.” Despite the fact that the Nephilim were only mentioned two brief times in the Hebrew bible, there are at least seven different interpretations of what the scant few passages really mean.
I could go on and on and pick apart every song, but I think this track by track with Alternative Press of their album Speakers Of The Dead really speaks out on its own. Metalsucks.net provided excellent commentary on the breakdown. Let’s bring out Frankie’s unoriginal alter-ego Thanos Reignz. His first track “A Preview of What’s to Come” is not only rehashed Garageband 4/4 beats, but is also entirely unoriginal. I tried finding this track online for your listening un-pleasure but it has dropped off the face of the earth. Which is funny, considering it’s stolen from other works. Not only was it unjustly used, but he never mentioned any samples or gave credit where credit was due. The Tumblr page that hosted the track has since been deleted after people created an uproar about it. However, he has released a demo through his Bandcamp page. It’s only a matter of time before an electronic music aficionado picks apart these tracks and shows where they really came from.
Finally, we come to the center of attention, which is, or was, his “hard work.” Let’s pick apart the ignorance one by one:
Bands have been making offensive shirts for years, such as the now-infamous banned Cradle Of Filth shirt that targets problems in society. COF’s view was that religion in general is a sickness that must be cleansed. However, there are certain events in history that I don’t believe should be sported as fashion or satirized. The Columbine Massacre is one that falls into that category. The back of the shirt is not only pro-violence (keep in mind for later in the article), but it’s very unrelated. Those kids were not shooting first and asking questions later – they were planning this attack for an entire year and it was meant to be more devastating than the shooting. If they weren’t so bad at wiring the propane bombs, they could have wiped out nearly 600 people. They were going to gun down the survivors then drive their bomb-filled cars into more crowds on live TV. They did this not out of resentment and hatred toward individuals (though that had a part in it), but more toward a mass contempt for humanity and to cause devastating infamy for the world to cower in their power.
“Shoot first ask questions last.” Frankie clearly did not read deeply into Columbine enough to see that this was not some petty hatred, as most of Emmure’s songs represent. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were out for far more than simple hatred.
Now for the second shirt. This one actually could have passed. However, he chose a terrible picture to associate with the saying. In case you don’t know, it’s a scene from the movie American History X that shows a fictional skinhead blowing smoke into a black person’s face. If you’re one of the three people in the world who hasn’t seen the movie, it is about two brothers who are raised into the skinhead way of life, terrorizing and killing Africans, Asians, Jews and anybody else who wasn’t white and American. One of them gets caught while curb stomping an African and goes to prison, where he gets raped and has a change of heart. He comes out of prison trying to show his younger brother the ignorance behind white power, but it’s too late in the end.
By attaching the quote “violence is a way of life” with a picture that, in that certain instant, is pro-racism, you’re going to have a bad time.
Now for the final design. Let’s start out with the generalities. This is obviously about 9/11. This is anti-Semitic and the shirt can be interpreted as saying that Muslims are a national threat. My guess is that he Googled “muslim/arabic symbols” and this popped up and he slapped it on a shirt. However, further research would show that this is actually the symbol for Emirates Airlines, a Middle Eastern-based airline company. So for those who would know that, that makes this shirt twice as unfortunate. To associate 9/11 with an airline company that is Middle Eastern… can you imagine what someone would go through if they wore that shirt around them?
All of these shirts were made for one purpose only, and that is for the shock value. We all know that shock culture sells very well – especially in the metal community – but there is a line not to be crossed. Frankie just came up with some of the most offensive shirts possible just because he thought they would sell.
Frankie Palmeri, you have done nothing of any value to society since The Respect Issue, and even that is debatable. So what do you have to say for yourself? This is his “apology.” Seriously? Could it have been any more insincere? The most interesting part of the “apology” was that he said he doesn’t condone violence. Interesting, as Emmure’s entire musical and apparel image is all about violence. Example 1 (for the caption), Example 2, and Example 3. But example 4 is the one that puts that statement to shame.
To say that he used Cold Souls Clothing as a reflection of the things that occur in our lifetime and shape our moral values is ridiculous. He says we live in a society where media throws the harsh reality in our faces. He says that by getting offended by these designs, you miss the entire point of his “satire.” I’m glad that he actually had the balls to say he made these shirts for satire. It makes writing this piece that much easier. But after reading his statement, I started to feel a little sorry for him. I mean, this guy just didn’t know where the limit was and went over it without thinking. I bet he’s all red in the face because he didn’t know where the limit was.
Congratulations for being the Dave Mustaine of the hardcore community.
UPDATE: He’s back at it again fellas: https://www.facebook.com/pages/COLD-SOUL/421629707894083
I, for one, am against anti-semantic’s.