Sound — 4
Emmure is a deathcore/nu-metal band from New York City that has managed to generate a fair bit of controversy in their couple of years on the musical circuit. Making waves (not in a good way) with their lyrics, Emmure always seems to find themselves in the news. The title of the opening track of this album is as controversial as any they have done before. Especially if you live in the USA, you can see how the title "Bring a Gun to School" might incense some people (a former band member called the lead singer a "disgusting human being" in response to the song).
For those who might be infuriated, you don't need to worry about the song getting popular; the first forty-five seconds are filled with annoying guitar feedback and the remaining minute is not anything significant enough to discuss at length. As much as I dreaded this, I am sorry to report that the rest of the album does not deviate far from this song in terms of actually attempting to do something interesting.
If you want a short review, the following quote from a previous review of mine by UG user jay3213 does a good job summing up the album:
"Sounds like every other Nu metal band to me... doesn't really stand out
-insert up and down scale here-
In reality, there is much better deathcore than this. This is also not to say that Emmure's entire catalog is bad. This album just happens to be. To go more in-depth, each song sounds pretty much the same, grounded in a chugging riff from the E string of a guitar tuned to drop-z before going to some sort of breakdown that continues the same riff, just at a different pace. Maybe we are meant to applaud just at the fact that Emmure includes breakdowns in their music. Basically, their breakdowns are some of the most uncreative things that I have heard in music. Again, it is not that breakdowns in general are uncreative, but rather that their breakdowns are uncreative.
Even the riffs that are not based on chugging, though they are few, do not exhibit much creativity; they seem to be just trying to fill the space instead of being productive. Some of the guitar work is adequate, like on "A Gift a Curse," but most of the time, the guitar work can be described as nothing other than mediocre.
Other aspects of this album are just as mediocre, if not more so. The drumming definitely shows less creativity than the guitar work. Whether it is the drums mirroring the guitars or vice versa, the conclusion is that the drumming isn't really creative; it seems, even if not so, to be a slave to the guitar riffs and breakdowns, not it its own separate entity. The production of the album, while not horrible, is no saving grace. The only thing that keeps this album even close to relevant is the couple of times when Emmure deviates from the standard chugging fare into something more creative like, for example, the last song of the album, "We Were Just Kids."
Lyrics — 6
The vocals are the best part of this album, though that really doesn't say much. Lyrically, Emmure may drive off many with discussions of suicide, the aforementioned topic of murder, and above all, the constant degradation of being human. Those not driven off by the lyrics will find that the vocals show some creativity and variation, but not any more than the average -core band.
The clean vocals, when present, are okay, as are the growls, but nothing could be considered above average. I guess one could say that the guitar parts and the vocals are interconnected; they feed off one another. Still, this relationship is not significant enough to warrant significant attention.
Overall Impression — 4
Overall, I am disappointed with the apparent regression in Emmure's songwriting skills. While this isn't the worst deathcore album I've heard, it is nowhere near good. Emmure manages to keep this album above the trash heap by including little shards of creativity here and there with some interestingly melodic chord progressions. But in the end, the monotony of 95% of the album is just too much to bear.
In essence, I wouldn't recommend this album to a friend and if it was lost or stolen, I would not buy the album again.