Band: Fall of Carthage
Album: Emma Green
Label: MDD Records
Release Date: April 6th, 2018
I’ll admit right off the bat, I was pleasantly surprised by this album. Not knowing what to expect, I can tell you for certain that it wasn’t a disappointment. That being said, it wasn’t exceptional either. Emma Green is the groove-thrasher’s third release. It’s not a long record, clocking in at just over 30 minutes. With ten songs and the average length hovering around three minutes, this record has some great moments and a few stumbles.
The opening track, “Signs of Corruption,” starts the album on a quick note, slamming the accelerator and not slowing down. It packs a punch and launches into a great shout-along section until it switches into a small spoken-word section. This feels like the band was trying to show their “inner-gangster” a little, but all it accomplishes is making us wait until launches back into the opening thrash groove again. From there until the end of the song, it’s a great song with lots of moments to get your blood pumping.
“Superior” was the single the band released ahead the album, but “Signs of Corruption” would have been a better choice. This song has a lot of promising elements to it, but they don’t fit into a strong, cohesive piece. The melodic and eerie singing of “Superior” leads quite nicely into a verse that comes straight out of a thrash textbook but it all goes downhill from there. I’m pretty sure one of the lyric lines goes “Why not simply do deathcore?…what if we don’t care?” If you visit the band’s website, they describe their music as “ignoring genre for the sake of heavy music” and “…insightful lyrics…” I applaud anyone who doesn’t want to be try and confine themselves to any box or style, but complaining about people who debate what genre of music you play doesn’t seem to be ignoring genres, nor does it seem like insightful lyric writing. After another reprise of singing “Superior”, the band shifts the feel of the song by going into a weird breakdown with high-whining guitars and samples that would fit better in a different song by itself. As a listener, it felt like I was being led to another cool thrash-verse section, but had the carpet yanked out from under me and found myself in a rave. Again, there are some good ideas in this song, but they don’t fit together.
The transition track “Down There” is actually a very nice change of pace for the album. It takes on the more melancholic feel of the story that the lyrics are describing. After that, it leads right into the title track, which is great track. It’s heavy and never lets up. While lyrics revolve around the very serious topic of sexual assault, it is somewhat hard to take seriously when “Leave It To Beaver” is shouted out in the verse. Otherwise, a fantastic song with lots of heavy riffs and great headbanging moments.
“Lies In Your Cup” is a decent follow-up to the title track, taking medium groove with some incredible footwork happening on the drums. It’s heavy and you can’t help but nod your head along with the groove. It’s all going well until the song ends on the spoken words. It left me feeling “is that it?” Aside from the weak ending, it’s a solid track.
The last track of note is “F.A. Gov”. Right from the get-go, it’s not hard to figure out what this song is about. Yes, we are all aware about the current state of the American government and the events that have followed since November 2016. The metal community has been reacting to it for awhile, with the latest notable example being Ministry’s latest album. Lyric lines such as “fake news is the new shit” and “fuck the alt-right” are neither “insightful” nor original. The music is fairly solid but the lackluster lyrics and delivery are more distracting.
All together, this wasn’t a bad record. It’s not too long, and if you can make it through, there are some gems to be found. There are songs with a nice balance of hardcore, groove, and thrash that are just fun to listen to while at the gym or when pissed off about something. However, there are few moments where the music doesn’t quite fit together or the lyrics are somewhat cheesy. But definitely not the worst record of 2018.
1. Signs of Corruption
4. Down There
5. Emma Green
6. Lies In Your Cup
8. F.A. Gov
10. Slow And Low
Total Playing Time: 33:45