Emmure Speaker of the Dead

Three years after third bout Felony made a modest ripple, death metal, squawking electronics and modest hip hop-tinged hardcore outfit Emmure strive to turn heads with more of the same on Speaker of the Dead. Trouble is, with so many various and occasionally conflicting influences smashing together, much of the album feels akin to scanning various heavy metal radio channels at random. The result is a barrage of Chimaira and Soilwork rhythms laying the foundation for Fear Factory's sterility and the predictable pace of your friendly neighbourhood hardcore band. Interesting, but far from pivotal or influential, detuning to the point of unintelligible riffs ― ostensibly for the sake of sheer heaviness ― and bellowing that makes early Napalm Death seem eloquent only serve to outline the band's lack of anything truly inspired. It's almost as if they've amplified the bombast to counter an absolute lack of ingenuity. Sure, with booming instruments and razor-sharp guitars the recording is flawless, but when it's impossible to remember one iota of those 40 minutes, what's the point? (Victory)