Rock band Emery is gearing up to release their new album You Were Never Alone on May 19, and BREATHEcast had the opportunity to listen to the record before the drop date.
While many of Emery's fans have heard these songs through the Break it Down Podcast or even through the pre-order download, some have not wanted to spoil the release date surprise.
Emery opens the album with the softer "Rock, Pebble, Stone" which proves to be an interesting intro number for the band who usually rips into the first track (think "Walls" and "Cheval Glass.") With that being said, this first song shows off the diversity of having two vocalists. Toby Morrell and Devin Shelton compliment each other perfectly harmonizing on most parts and even trading off a bit.
Not to worry, the fans of heavier Emery get their fill on track two, "Thrash," which just might be the band's heaviest song to date. The song features piercing chaotic guitars in the beginning followed by what sounds like a possessed Toby (in a good way of course). From there the song hits a soft melodic part before viciously ripping into the next section.
Then something magical happens at, "So I will tell you, one last thing. Intertwine us for history. It will seal our fates, but I'll take my place." This whole section sounds something straight out of Nine Inch Nails. It is a slowly spoken monologue that is once again followed by intense screaming and, wait for it...blues? Yes that's right. Emery breaks down into a bluesy/jazzy section that comes out of left field but at the same time fits so well. "Thrash" manages to be one of their most unique songs of all time. Watch the "Thrash" lyric video here.
"Hard Times" is the band's first single on the album, and features a more balanced Emery. They sing, they scream, they harmonize, and they rock. If fans ask what Emery generally sounds like, this would be a good track to introduce them to. Watch the "Hard Times" music video here.
The next song, "The Beginning," opens up with a splash of instruments and vocals, the abrupt start throws the listener right into a swell of great harmonies and a groovy bass line. The duel vocals are wonderfully done as in the first verse, singer Morrell does the lead part with Shelton doing the harmony. In the next section they flip roles with Shelton singing lead and Morrell doing the harmony.
Further on down the song they have their signature three-part vocal of the two vocalists singing and screaming vocals happening at the same time. The song then ends with a hushed whisper and powerful lyrics.
"The Less You Say" is pretty awesome and features some great lines. One of the ones that sticks out is, "your peace with cut pieces out of me" which is just a great visual for the battle of peace and pain. This song also features some incredible musicianship all around, especially those rolls on the drums to match the guitars.
"Pink Slip" revisits some of the heaviness but mixes in a couple of lighter melodic parts that once again allow Toby and Devin to shine. The real treat of songs such as this one comes from the Break It Down Podcast, when guitarist Matt Carter isolates the vocal tracks so the listener can hear the vocals naturally.
As Carter said in the podcast, "To the Deep" is Emery if they were searching for a big radio single. The song quite frankly is just pretty on the ears. The duel vocals make their way through the entire song and the chorus just has that "huge" radio single feel. The end especially has that big finish as it comes straight out of a building bridge.
"What's Stopping You" rings in with guitar before the vocals and a drum roll build into the rest of the song. This track just has such a dynamic feel to it, and exudes a mastery of song writing that comes with being in a band for over 10 years. There are so many different moving parts in this song that it draws similarities to "Thrash" in the sense that it feels proggy.
Moving right into "Go Wrong Young Man," at this point in the album Emery keeps hitting the listener with more inventive musical parts. "I cut my teeth on the flesh of the liars/ I made my words into stones that broke all the bones/ I never saw the blade that ripped up my rib cage/ My eyes glazed over the world moved on" part of the song almost sounds like a cheer, "Hey Mickey, you're so fine you blow my mind..."
"Taken For a Bath" is another signature Emery sounding song that features both singers prominently. Again the guitar work on this track is superb, and the layers of clean vocals along with the screaming are done so well. This song features some of the most emotional lyrics on the album, "Way to see for yourself it's in the blood, the whole world is in the blood...but the death of the memory is the debt that we carry."
"Salvatore Wryhta" comes right in screaming. "I don't want to sound like a broken record," Toby sings about what he's feeling as the song cuts to clean vocals. "The promise of the dead is that they won't be back again" is another one of those lines that hits heavy on this song.
Closing out the album is "Alone" which continues in from the end of the previous track. The beginning of the song has such a cool vibe to it. Toby's voice falls somewhere between singing and talking, and the vocal is so commanding. Devin then comes in and the two belt out vocals together before the screaming freak out. Then just like that, the track slowly fades into instrumentals and ends quietly into silence.
Overall You Were Never Alone is just what Emery fans were waiting for since the release of their last album We Do What We Want. The previous album did not have Shelton on it, and with him back on this record, they really take advantage of the vocal possibilities. All the harmonies are perfect, and their back and forth is just as good as ever. The guitars are crisp and creative, the bass lines are memorable, and the drums are powerful. Lyrically, the album is moving and packs a punch that can only be delivered through its menacing screams. This album is also put together so well by Carter, who did all the production work. The Emery boys of Morrell, Shelton, Carter, Josh Head, and Dave Powell sound just as good as ever together.
Be on the look out for You Were Never Alone on May 19 on the Bad Christian Music Label.