Emmure’s latest album, titled Eternal Enemies, is interesting. I will give it that, but I can’t give much more. Let me put it this way – if my feelings toward this album were a relationship status, it would be “it’s complicated”. Emmure has always been a guilty pleasure—the escape from reality into a world of anger, passion, and discontentment. And for anyone seeking a gratifying bout of hatred and vengeance, this album will more than likely suffice. However, there are some major pitfalls that you will surely face throughout this installment of Emmure’s continual, ill-willed rant against societal norms and trends.
The first thing the listener will notice is a disjointed set of experimental sounds. EE has a wide variety of styles and inspirations that make an appearance in this record, however, not all of them are positive contributions. While I am a proponent of experimental music, I believe that it should still be tasteful. And I am not sure Emmure accomplished that goal with this record. In this compilation, songs like “The Hang Up” add to the mix a confused blend of industrial rock and nu-metal that really detracts more than it adds to the overall feel of the album. One could also take, for example, Emmure’s song “E”, which features a chant of “hell yeah” that is eerily similar to one found in Gretchen Wilson’s country hit “Redneck Woman”. (Disclaimer: I only know of that song by accident. Unfortunately, I have friends who listen to country music). However, the lack of selective composition is only one issue that I have with this album.
Upon further examination of Eternal Enemies, one might also become dissatisfied with the lack of lyrical creativity. Yes, this album is good for an afternoon of rage, but not much more. A large portion of the lyrical content of EE seems to stem from a legitimate frustration with a scene that has abandoned much of its true identity in exchange for a feigned image in a hopeless bid for “popularity”. However, while this is an honest commentary on the scene itself, much of the articulation used to express those ideas seems sophomoric and whiny. I have no issue with Emmure making a statement and calling people out, but I feel they could have done it in a more eloquent and thoughtful manner.
A perfect example of EE’s whiny tone is the song “Most Hated”. The relaxed tempo and ambient progressions give the song a catchy flow, however, the lyrics leave much to be desired. Expressing a frustration with being hated and criticized by the scene, this song displays an aggressive and agitated attitude that could easily be interpreted as crass and unsophisticated. Even with a decent tonality, “Most Hated” is an example of an otherwise well-written song undone by tasteless lyrics.
Despite these shortcomings, Eternal Enemies does have a number of strong points. For example, Emmure opens with an intro track, “(Untitled)”, that really starts things off right. As a band known for its edgy lyrics, aggressive riffs and sinister ambience, beginning their album with an emergency response call coupled with a grinding dissonance is in good taste. “(Untitled)” has what it takes to give any beatdown-lover a rush. Follow that with an intense breakdown, and you really have a great intro. If only this kept up the whole album. But there are a few other gems that I will mention before giving my final verdict.
Another positive addition is a song titled “Grave Markings”. Starting with a Metalcore riff and some brutal vocals, “Grave Markings” leaves a positive mark and its flow is also really well done. Moving from fast-paced metal lines to more contemplative stylings, this song features a solid chorus with a couple of very tasteful drops featuring well-written, airy breakdowns that breathe rage with every cut and crash.
Emmure also offers their listeners a blast from the past with their song “Hitomi’s Shinobi”. Harkening back to Goodbye to the Gallows with sounds similar to those found in “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”, “Hitomi’s Shinobi” is Emmure at their best. Featuring screeching crash chords and pounding chugs similar to those found in their earlier years, this song brings all the intensity and anger I look for when I turn to Emmure.
Despite these positive marks, however, I am still inclined to give Eternal Enemies a less than stellar rating. With this installation, Emmure gives their listeners some decent material, but the impact of the album is lessened by the addition of songs that are more filler than actual creativity. In my opinion, Eternal Enemies could have been much improved if Emmure had cut the album down from 15 songs to 11 or 12 solid tracks, leaving only the best. Don’t get me wrong, this record features some decent composition, but overall, I was dissatisfied with the end result due to its use of cheap tracks and lack of originality. I believe that Eternal Enemies could have been a solid album by simply trimming the edges and adding a bit more creativity, but that was not my decision to make.