Look at Yourself
Nuclear Blast Records/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Andrew McKaysmith
Frankie Palmeri. The man has been called a "disgusting human being" and a "demonic genius", he has written lyrics that critics maintain glorify violence, and he was heavily condemned for opening a short lived merchandise store that sold T shirts depicting various nefarious images including the Columbine massacre and suicide. Palmeri also happens to be the only member of Emmure that has survived the near constant line-up changes the band has endured over its 15 plus years of existence, so Look at Yourself must be as near to a solo effort as what Megadeth is to Dave Mustaine and Death/Control Denied was to Chuck Schuldiner.
I don't think the man cares what anyone thinks at this point. He certainly isn't willing to offer hosannas to former guitarist Jesse Ketive and bassist Mark Davis who were in the band for well over 10 years apiece. When I interviewed Palmeri earlier in the year he issued the following comment about his former comrades: "I think that relationship ran its course in every way possible, both personally and professionally. To me, they lost the passion for playing in Emmure a long time ago"
'Passion'. Has the word almost lost its meaning? I've met Range Rover driving real estate agents who post bizarre YouTube videos touting their 'passion' for selling property. In reality that 'passion' is almost exclusively reserved for the share of a property sale that contributes toward their commission. I've also met restauranteurs whose 'passion' appears to be serving overpriced and under-cooked slop via insolent wait staff to desperate parents whose children have long run out of patience. But where does exactly does Palmeri's 'passion' lie?
Brutal, malignant, take no prisoners deathcore... that's Palmeri's passion. This shit is good. Real good. I'm talking best in class. Look at Yourself is so good at times I'd say that any personal affronts and demons that Palmeri endured to arrive at his current space was worth it. Look at Yourself is an album that transcends labels to become what must be henceforth known as a damn good heavy metal album for those that like it a little more brutal. Fans of death metal, black metal and any of the 'core' prefixed genres, have a listen to this.
Why is it so good? That answer may well be due to the addition of djent master guitarist Joshua Travis. Travis has been in other bands, notably The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza and Glass Cloud, so he has the experience to round out his chops. His performance on Look at Yourself is so good I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he will be extraordinarily hard to best in the 'guitarist performance of the year' honorary accolade for 2017. Metal has actually arrived at a point where I feel safe enough to say that there are a plethora of guitarists that Dime's baton could be passed to, and Travis is certainly one of them and I'd urge any up and coming guitarist to grab some headphones, switch off any distractions and study this man's playing. Many readers will be fond of Zakk Wylde, Alexi Laiho, and Gus G although Travis pedals an altogether more brutal craft he is well and truly of that class.
Palmeri himself can issue the final comments of this review: "I love what I do, I love that I feel like I am reacting with people and knowing that what I am doing is resonating with somebody and (that) really gives me a sense of purpose... So here I am with a whole new line-up and as far as I'm concerned it was the best thing that ever happened to me."