Sound — 9
Emmure's newest record has one of the most unique sounds I have heard in a very long time. It is, without question, the most revolutionary album the band has ever released. While it may not be the best, its new-and-improved sound and vision absolutely demolishes expectations I had, and quite frankly raises the standards for the genre. Each and every song on the record differs heavily from the previous, and yet they are all good. Emmure focuses a lot more on the "tech" aspect of the music this time around, and it really works. Are there still a LOT of breakdowns throughout the album? Yes. But this time around, they are controlled, and incorporated in the music much more naturally than before. They never feel forced, and they always sound fantastic and far from generic. You can almost feel them coming too, which is really cool. Like the songs themselves, the breakdowns are significantly different from one another. Some are very heavy, while others are very tech-oriented. It all depends on how the song sounds (other than awesome, of course). The unique sound of each and every song works really well along side the lyrics. Even before reading the lyrics, I could tell you at least vaguely what each song was about. That is extremely impressive. The only band I have any recollection of doing that successfully would be Whitechapel. Like always, you shouldn't even have the right to review anything by Emmure unless you've listened to them on a high quality Bose sound system with heavy distortion and bass settings. It's a different experience - believe me. Still, the album struggles in some areas. Overpowering guitar riffs are an issue on occasion, and the band does stray away from its roots at times. But all in all, this album is a masterpiece to the ear.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrically, Emmure has always been considered to be a failure. Frankie just doesn't have the intellect and natural creative ability to write beyond generically in my opinion. It has always been the band's biggest issue. While "Speaker of the Dead" is is not an exception, it still it is certainly improved from previous records. Frankie certainly worked a bit harder this time around, and the results are mixed. With that said, though, the music compliments the lyrics very well and forms a terrific sense of connection to the music. It works well enough to make it through, and I think we all know that we aren't listening to Emmure for the lyrics. Frankie's vocals are top notch as always, and probably a bit better in areas. While I know most people hate his vocal style, I think it works miracles with the band's sound, and this album does not count as an exception in my book. He certainly works hard at improving.
Overall Impression — 9
Is the album perfect? By no means. But it does what Emmure has failed to deliver on with their past two albums. It creates a terrific atmosphere for the listener, and just sounds so badass on every single track. Some songs certainly stand out more than others on the album, but each one has its own personality that has the ability to draw you in. Whether it be from the breakdowns, the vocals, or the intense emotion that can be found on some of the later tracks, each song has something that should take you off your feet. Give it a chance. I know most people are going to trash this review and give it thumbs up just for the score, but I don't care. I refuse to hate on a band that I find to be incredibly fun to listen to, regardless of how they may compare in talent. "Speaker of the Dead" is my favorite metalcore album at this moment, and I don't see that changing very soon. Favorite Song: Bohemian Grove Least Favorite Song: Eulogy of Giants