Sound — 10
Rarely can bands keep their edge after they peak, but Emery's chops just get better and better the longer they play makng their latest release, In Shallow Seas We Sail their best to date. Produced by the band's guitarist Matt Carter and Aaron Sprinhle, In Shallow Seas We Sail isn't just for Emery's hardcore fans, it's a record that modern rock audiences across the board can sink their teeth into from the emo/screamo gales of Kaddisfly and Hawthorne Heights to the hard rock flurries of Anberlin and One Republic. Emery straddles the line between the hardcore burns and melodic rock quavers with an intuitive nature that knows which direction to take the songs. It's noticeable that the South Carolina-harbored quintet has spent more time gagging their own feelings then tracking down the global mood and responding to it. They thrive on tapping into their own creative juices and riding out the adrenaline rushes as the dueling lead vocalists and bass guitarists Toby Morell and Devin Shelton control the reins. The craggy blasts of guitarist Matt Carter and the cliff-side blazes of keyboardist Josh Head stoke the molten dynamics to turn volatile as drummer Dave Powell works the gear shifts cleaving into the sonic explosions and grumbling softly across the slings of low tides.
The band's chassis supports gyrating cyclones and fiery riffs in tracks like Cutthroat Collapse and The Smile, The Face binding intervals of crazed tugging and intensive crashing counter-balanced by calm descents. The band's melodic layers build into massive crescendos and then release into soft gurgling swells. The switching between screamo and singing impale tracks like Curbside Goodbye and Piggy Back Lies with alternating vocal lines that tread alongside the ego and the howls of the alter-ego. Morell and Shelton's vocals show muscle in their fibers soaring and retracting from opposite ends of each other, and circling each other in the Goth-rock striped The Ghost Of You where a glint of folk rock seeps through the melodic quakes. The band hugs the pop punk moorings of The Poor And The Prevalent and The Edge Of The World with instincts relatable to From First To Last, but Emery's best works are their modern rock gushers and hard-ridged clusters that form a shield of smooth explosive shivers along Twelve And Fading and the stomping beats and heavy guitar rotations that clutter and dissolve along I've Got A Way. There is little in Emery's songs that are textbook hardcore or emo, but a lot that exercises the band's hardcore cleavers and melodic rock chops.
Lyrics — 8
Emery's lyrics are direct and cut straight to the heart of the issue like in Twelve And Fading as the words plead, Send me a signal /There is a part of me that always sees the easy way out / If it doesn't hurt then not another word Is there a chance that you need me Catch me I'm slipping through your fingers. The lyrics show a candidness that is refreshing like in The Smile, The Face and a refusal to be defrauded, Though my heart is breaking, I hope you know I will not be broken Though I am drowning in these mistakes, your ego swells, but I can tell you're a fake. And sometimes the lyrics are a confidence-booster like in A Sin To Hold On To with uplifting phrasings, Let's get this right, I know there are no second chances / I know you got it in you, won't you let it out.
Overall Impression — 9
Emery's fifth album, In Shallow Seas We Sail shows that the band has a lot more strength in their sails. They give modern rock's gales more life, and triumph where other bands of their ilk fall to the wayside for running out of steam. Steam is not something that Emery is depleted of on their album, In Shallow Seas We Sail. They even seem to have generated more steam than when they first started.