After the hot mess that was I’m Only A Man, and the inconsistent EP While Broken Hearts Prevail, it was probably fairly easy to forget about Emery. But that EP was a crucial stepping-stone to bringing the post-hardcore quintet back to prominence. Laying down tracks such as “The Smile, The Face,” and “Edge of The World” proved that Emery could still deliver quality tracks. And that they do, plus more, on their fourth album, …In Shallow Seas We Sail. Masterfully produced by Aaron Sprinkle, the thirteen track album features crisp musicianship, incorporating the melodic heaviness that drew us to love Emery in the first place.
“Cutthroat Collapse” opens up the album in the same vibe fan favorite “Walls” opened up 2004’s The Weak’s End. Frantic screaming paced by urgent guitar chords pace the track, while vocalists Toby Morell, Devin Shelton, and Josh Head prove that few bands can harmonize as well as this trio. What follows next is an album that breeds consistency, mirroring itself with the tone and style that The Weak’s End and The Question possessed.
“Curbside Goodbyes” features the trademark Emery song pattern: bruising screams, melodic verses, and crushing breakdowns. What is apparent on this track is the return of the passion that the last album severely lacked. “Inside Our Skin” soars with piercing guitar chords, as it really showcases the vocal talents of Morell and Shelton. The point is driven home with the climatic outro, utilizing the screaming talent within the band.
The keys really shine on the theatrical “Churches and Serial Killers,” while “Butcher’s Mouth” has a mainstream vibe that doesn’t lose its edge, as the chorus is very catchy but still maintains that Emery sound. “The Poor and The Prevalent” will be a live staple, with its crunching breakdowns and awesome duel vocals. “Piggy Bank Lies” features biting vocals from Morell, while “Dear Death Part 1” and “Dear Death Part 2” combine to kick you in the arse, with “Part 1” serving as the slow intro, which bursts into “Part 2,” a fast paced rocker that knocks you out of your seat.
While I like how …In Shallow Seas We Sail never lets up on the gas pedal, I do wish that a song in the vein of “The Ponytail Parades,” although “Inside Our Skin” comes close. But other than that, there is very little to complain about. …In Shallow Seas We Sail is a return to form; an album that will make older fans of Emery smile and rekindle interest in the band, as this is the album that should have followed The Question. The Emery you originally knew and loved is back; prepare yourself accordingly.