Release DetailsLABEL Victory
RELEASED ON 3/1/2007
Goodbye To The Gallows
I can picture it already. Different sized tattooed and pierced twenty-somethings wearing Affliction hoodies and impossibly tight jeans made for the opposite sex, pinwheeling their arms wildly in the pit (they’ll take a break for those ’emotional’ moments though). Full body headbanging from the stage, guitars flailing back and forth, guided by expressions of rage, or constipation, take your pick. It’s the Victory Records debut from New Fairfield, Connecticut five-piece recording artists, Emmure. The album: Goodbye To The Gallows. The sound: take Every Time I Die, The Acacia Strain, A Life Once Lost, and possibly Unearth, and pop ‘em in a blender. Set that fucker on chop, pour into a bowl and bake at 400 degrees until black around the edges. Serve with a side of antacid tablets, and there you have it.
Was I supposed to say something more? Why? I just summed up the whole damn thing in three sentences, but if you insist, you asked for it. It’s metalcore that had its beginnings as heavy rock. Painfully, thunderously heavy metalcore with a guitar tone some death metal bands would kill for. Despite the overwhelming weight of the many chunky down-picked riffs, vocalist Frank (no last name, of course) steps up and takes charge of everything with his somewhat amusing delivery. I’m not sure if he does all the vocals, but they come in three varieties: burpy, mid-ranged and snarled, and jock who just got dumped by his girlfriend-styled. The cleaner vocals are baffling since it’s basically just talking very loudly like he’s expressing the pain of backdoor penetration, and not really singing with any sustained sort of melody. Perhaps it’s a technique meant to spare undue stress on the vocal chords, or possibly laying down groundwork for more commercially accessible albums in the future, but it‘s pretty fucking gnarly nevertheless.
Song titles are clever enough, and unoriginal enough, and the band might be getting a call from Dave Chappelle about “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”. Not so much about the title, but because they chose to end the track with an utterly generic breakdown led by a vocal that sounds like someone who doesn’t speak English trying to speak English as clearly as possible. Try it yourself, say ‘won’t you be my bride’ cleanly about a dozen times like you’ve never heard the words before. Fun, isn’t it?
It’s songs like “Rusted Over Wet Dreams” that show the leaning toward a future shift to the mainstream, since the tune takes a sudden departure into a much lighter direction for the majority of the track, bringing an almost Protest The Hero level of melody (musically) before tacking on a clumsy ending breakdown which leads into “You Got A Henna Tattoo That Said Forever”, an upbeat, pinch harmonic laden number that is one of the only memorable moments of the disc. “Travis Bickle” is two minutes of nothing but a heartbeat and background noises, but it does lead into the most interesting opening, the distortion-free few seconds of “Sleeping Princess In Devils Castle”, where Frank eventually makes his first attempt at an actual melody during the midsection of the song. Other than those scant moments of coolness, there isn’t much that sticks when it’s all done.
Sorry if I’m being rough, but having a huge guitar tone isn’t enough to make for a good album. The music is played-out, plain and simple, and by the time “When Everything Goes Wrong, Take The Easy Way Out” finally comes to a daunting, tedious close with a snore-inducing techno beat and bullhorn, I don’t want to hear another breakdown for days. Stockpiling on metalcore before the blood tsunami rolls through? You’ll love Emmure's Goodbye To The Gallows, but for the rest of us, keep it moving, there’s nothing to see here.