Frankie Palmeri – Vocals
Joshua Travis – Guitar
Nicholas Pyatt – Bass
Josh ‘Baby J’ Miller – Drums
1. (F)inally (U)nderstanding (N)othing
2. Trash Folder
3. Pigs Ear
4. Gypsy Disco
5. I’ve Scene God
6. Persona Non Grata
7. Thunder Mouth
8. Pan’s Dream
10. Informal Butterflies
12. Bastard Ritual
13. Uncontrollable Descent
Hindsight is album number eight from American metalcore outfit Emmure, founded in 2003. Along with founding vocalist Frankie Palmeri’s controversial antics, the band’s latest unapologetic full-length really shows why the band have always been hit or miss with fans of the genre.
After a few seconds of vinyl crackling on ‘(F)inally (U)nderstanding (N)othing’, and sound of Joshua Travis’ guitar is introduced, things really start kicking off when, after a sample introducing listeners to the track, Frank Palmeri spews booming lyrics over the drum & bass delivered by Baby J and Nicholas Pyatt. It’s a bombastic opener and highly infectious, with vocals as massive as the instrumentation. The drum machine outro is one of the first of many hip-hop elements Hindsight houses.
Palmeri self-glorifies throughout ‘Trash Folder’, with hilarious lyrics that call out “posers” and claim other bands copy Emmure’s sound. This seems a little ironic as there are a few deathcore and nu-metal artists that have been paid tribute to (Frontrunnner ‘(F)inally (U)nderstanding (N)othing’ is really reminiscent of Limp Bizkit, the vocals often very similar to Fred Durst’s).
Self-deprecating number ‘Pigs Ear’ uses a few samples, the most noticeable a skit at the beginning, reporting negatively on what appears to be Palmeri’s career with Emmure. The sirens that can often be heard provide a sense of urgency in the track, along with the vocalist’s screams of desperation.
Marilyn Manson-like vocals appear on ‘Gypsy Disco,’ just with less imaginative lyrics. Some effects are made to the spoken word vocals occasionally in ‘I’ve Scene God’ to make them down-pitched, which comes off as cheesy. Track five’s purpose seems to be to talk up the front-man up, stating that he is the “best in the scene” while referencing bands such as Attila and Thy Art Is Murder. This song’s saving grace is its colossal rhythm section, which seamlessly transitions into ‘Persona Non Grata’. Almost halfway through the album, and yet again juvenile words such as “bad boy for life” make an appearance.
As with the rest of the album, the lyrics for ‘Thunder Mouth’ are immature – the only interesting vocal part in this song is the KoRn-esque scat in the closing minute, which isn’t saying a lot as it’s both unintelligible and unoriginal. It’s difficult to discern whether Frankie Palmeri is simply playing homage Johnathan David’s style here or just ripping him off, but the strong resemblance here to “Freak On A Leash” cannot be denied.
‘Pan’s Dream’ captures further the infantile nature of Hindsight, with Palmeri serving lines such as “I don’t grow up, I just fuck up” and a sample of a young boy stammering a question.
Running over three-and-a-half minutes long, ‘203’ is the longest offering on Hindsight, as well as being one of the most engaging. With what sounds like a metronome at about 210bpm driving the song along in the intro, met by repeated whispers of the title. By the time the quiet vocals morph into spoken word, it’s clear that the frontman is about to burst into a less gentle technique. There is a lot of tension building and the alternation between soft and heavy here is a highlight on Hindsight.
Bringing to mind King 810 on ‘Informal Butterflies’ with possessed vocals, track ten takes a little detour from the album’s usual lyric style, exploring themes such as self-doubt, à la ‘Pigs Ear’. ‘Action 52’ is full of grooves and chugging guitars, the chants of “monkey see, monkey do” dominating the lyric space, sure to be singalong favourite in future live settings. For its entire lyrical delivery, ‘Bastard Ritual’ comes across as very annoying, the deranged vocals would have been more impactful if used momentarily.
After a dozen songs comes ‘Uncontrollable Descent’. It brings together the best and worst parts of the record (great riffs and naive lyrics). Though, like opener ‘(F)inally (U)nderstanding (N)othing’, unquestionably catchy.
While its instrumentation is quite decent, Hindsight’s hindrance is most definitely the words that have been put to the music. Palmeri often sounds very childish and arrogant at the same time. Possibly in part due to the major lineup change a few years ago, Hindsight feels like The Frankie Palmeri Show. Emmure state “Hindsight is 20/20”, perhaps they will look back on this release and vastly improve with their next one, especially on the lyrics front.