New York’s finest deathcore act returns with their fifth studio album Slave to the Game this April. Choosing to stick with Joey Sturgis, producer of their previous album Speaker of the Dead, it is probably a case of ‘picking up where you left off’ for Emmure.
The 30-second album opener ‘Insert Coin’ is unimpressive; it barely includes any sound, and any that it does contain is ineffective. The track, however, does not reflect the rest of the album.
The first song ‘Protoman’ has been pre-released as a single because it is very much what you would expect from Emmure: heavy, fast and raw. The production and mastering is interesting though, merging a range of electronic samples and distorted guitar tones to create a style that they have not really experimented in before.
Also pre-released is ‘I Am Onslaught’. Vocalist Frankie Palmeri continues the action-hero themed lyrics from Speaker of the Dead, with this particular track referring to the Marvel anti-hero Onslaught.
Each track is short and punchy, wasting no time in delivering brutality to those who want it. The longest track ‘MDMA’ reaches the epic length of 3:26 and is the most unique song on the album. The rest of Slave to the Game is very simplistic structurally, but Emmure have never been known for technicality.
‘A.I’ rounds off the album in the heaviest way possible. Helped by Sturgis’ production, the outro beatdown is played in the lowest and distorted guitar tone they have ever experimented with.
Musically, the album is very similar to their previous offerings; new drummer Mark Castillo sticks to ex-member Mike Kaabe’s familiar style and none of the others excel themselves to further heights. However, with the help of mastering, this album leaps forward from Speaker of the Dead, making it more unique from other deathcore bands and an interesting listen.