Sound — 8
Growth isn't a term many would ever associate with Emmure, a band most commonly looked upon as a poor man's Acacia Strain. Yet, their fifth Victory album, "Slave To The Game", shows considerable growth for the breakdown addicted gents. No, they haven't abandoned the breakdowns, odd guitar effects, or demented vocals, but they make damn good use of all these qualities. The guitar approach this time is far more interesting, opting for Deftones-esque effects and leads over straight chugs. "Protoman" features a promising lead about halfway through, and "Umar Dumps Dormammu" has some killer filtered panic chords, making thr atmosphere behind the songs far more engaging. The drums aren't shabby, though lack too many interesting fills, and the bass constantly tries to fight to be heard above the onslaught, occasionally succeeding.
Lyrics — 7
For those hoping for something new here, sorry, but Frankie is still Frankie. His lows are a bit more defined on the album, but his highs still have that gurgly sore throat sound. The semi rappy, whiny cleans that plagued "Felony" are back, but implemented in a more bearable fashion. Lyrically, again, this is still Emmure. Ex hate, violence, and offbeat nerdiness still own the lyrics page, so any person unmoved by their past lyrical output probably won't find anything to write home about here.
Overall Impression — 8
"Slave" is definitely one of the more interesting entries in Emmure's catalogue musically, showing that they may be willing to move away from just chugs and harmonics for future releases. Vocally, Frankie has never sounded better, but lyrically is just more of the same, and not nearly as varied as "Speaker Of The Dead" was. The album is a worthy purchase for any person looking for some simple, pissed off music, or some pretty sick breakdowns. But for those that don't enjoy those sorts of things, this album doesn't offer anything that might change your mind. Suggested tracks: "Umar Dumps Dormammu", "Cross Over Attack", "Blackheart Reigns". For fans of: The Acacia Strain, Deftones, newer Attack Attack!