Naming an album Hindsight in the year 2020 is really something only a band like Emmure could get away with and not have their entire audience issue a collective eyeroll. A band built on pop culture references, satire and shock, Emmure are incredibly self-aware.
Several times while listening to Hindsight, I could practically feel frontman Frankie Palmeri nudging me with his elbow and winking through the speakers as a song like “Pan’s Dream” employed a 2011 YouTube video audio sample over a breakdown. Or several band name puns being dropped behind down-tuned guitar chugs in the name of being crowned ‘scene god’. The fact is, whether we like it or not, Emmure know what they’re doing and they do it well. That is, poke fun at and prod their listeners- the scene they inhabit and society at large.
At their best, they’re also surprisingly emotional as in album closer Uncontrollable Descent with its burst of melodic atmosphere and insane drum patterns. There’s plenty of silliness to be heard though too. “Persona Non Grata” practically throws Instagram hashtag gang signs and “Thunder Mouth” bears every Korn comparison Emmure have ever been tagged with when Frankie starts scream scatting. The most poignant moment on the album though and the one that proved to me this band owns exactly what they put out into the world is the line in “Thunder Mouth” where Frankie practically breaks the fourth wall of his lyricism:
“You wanna hear about the ups and downs and things that may be, how they fall apart, but anything profound that I might say it will be ignored, forgotten”.
He knows what his audience latches on to and remembers. Much of Emmure’s lyrical substance is debatable, but the catchiness is undeniable- especially on this album. Regardless of lacking song structures and most of Hindsight being interlude-length tracks, the phrases and one-liners being uttered over low grooving guitar rhythms is a formula that works and sticks with you on this album. “Action 52” in particular capitalizes on this idea with a great vocal flow. Earlier in the album, “Trash Folder” utilizes a similar approach as well as similar message towards what Frankie sees as ‘unoriginal’.
Hindsight actually does its best to be experimental and introduces more trip hop sections and samples spread throughout. It’s an effective formula that feels as if it needed just a bit more time in the oven. It’s not as top bill as Look At Yourself was, but it also doesn’t overstay its welcome — or stay long at all. What Hindsight does best though is offer something fun and entertaining in a year where entertainment has practically been cancelled.
As the opening track seems to resemble, we are finally understanding the idea of mindless nothing actually being something.
1. (F)inally (U)nderstanding (N)othing
2. Trash Folder
3. Pig’s Ear
4. Gypsy Disco
5. I’ve Scene God
6. Persona Non Grata
7. Thunder Mouth
8. Pan’s Dream
10. Informal Butterflies
11. Action 52
12. Bastard Ritual
13. Uncontrollable Descent