I love Emmure and don’t care who knows it. It doesn’t matter how they or their Tween Wave fan base dress, these guys hit harder than Mike Tyson in his prime. It isn’t all studio magic either. I saw this band detonate a Mishawaka VFW hall in front of 100 kids like they were playing Wacken. So, since disliking a band for reasons outside of music and lyrics is poserific, you’ll have to forgive me for being looked down upon by the internet-dwelling virgins and bitter, dwindling fossils that comprise Metal’s supposed intellectual elite. My tirade aside, I’m a little shocked to see a new album so soon with the barely year-old Speaker of the Dead still a fixture in my rotation. What’s equally puzzling is that Slave to the Game is slightly different in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. From the swirling Bury Your Dead-style riffs that open “Protoman,” it’s immediately clear that there is no drastic style change. They still employ the breakdown like it never went out of style, and Frankie Palmeri still has the bestial roar from Hell to offset his psycho-babble, yet amidst the endless flow of bottom-heavy brute force and kamikaze pinch harmonics, there’s an undeniable autopilot vibe. I’m not saying it’s phoned in (although I haven’t ruled out it being rushed), but there’s a worrisome lack of standout moments. All Emmure albums are short, but this one’s over before you know it, with little if anything remembered. The exception being “Poltergeist.” A mid-album segue that is inexplicably a prayer set to background noise. With all their rampant profanity, misogyny, and overall Negativity-worship, I wouldn’t think these guys to be Jesus fags, but then again, today’s modern Christ-fuckers tend to make up the rules as they go, so you never know. I do hope it’s some kind of joke or obscure reference —nearly all the song titles are nods to Marvel Comics and video games— and not the dreaded closet exodus. Either way it’s the first track on an Emmure record I’ve had to skip over in a long time.
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