By ANDREW McKAYSMITH
AS the front man of New York based metalcore outfit Emmure, Frankie Palmeri has survived his fair share of controversy. Founding guitarist Ben Lionetti labelled him a “disgusting human being” and a “demonic genius”, he has written lyrics that critics maintain glorify violence and he was heavily condemned for opening a short lived merchandise store that sold t-shirts depicting various nefarious images including the Columbine massacre and suicide.
HM caught up with Frankie to talk about the crushing new album titled Look At Yourself, and found a candid yet amiable chap ready to discuss all things Emmure.
“I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but okay…”
Frankie retorts when compared to the enigmatic Dave Mustaine and the patron saint of death metal, Chuck Schuldiner. This comparison is intended to allude to the fact that Frankie is the sole remaining member of Emmure since its inception in 2003, all the while producing high quality metalcore.
So is Emmure a solo project given the constant line-up changes?
“You are partially right. I mean obviously I’m the only sole survivor of the original line-up. In the original line-up, and it isn’t even the line-up that quit the band, the original line-up, no-one even knows who the fuck those guys are, so it’s always been just been me kind of and always like making my vision come to life in some way, or at least trying to pursue this mission in some degree.
“So I have gone through a lot of changes and had to work with all kinds of people, and this latest incarnation of Emmure to me is the only way it should be, and I would probably allow it to be from this point on. There won’t be line-up after this, pretty much is what I’m saying. I think the main purpose of the band is a vehicle for me creatively. So it’s always going to be like that, regardless of who’s in the band.”
HM mentions that former guitarist Jesse Ketive and bassist Mark Davis were in the band for well over 10 years, and Frankie offers a forthright response.
“I think that that relationship ran its course in every way possible, both personally and professionally. To me, they lost the passion for playing in Emmure a long time ago.”
So with all the challenges he has faced, what is it that has driven Frankie to succeed?
“I love what I do, I love that I feel like I am reacting with people and knowing that what I am doing is resonating with somebody and really gives me a sense of purpose. Without music, I don’t really have that so that’s pretty much what drives me, that’s the way I wake up every day, it’s with the intention that I will continue to make art in music in some capacity, regardless of whether it be metal or whatever the fuck, whatever the medium is. I just love playing, I love touring, I love the music, what we’ve accomplished, and sadly it happens that the people I was with didn’t feel the same way. So, there we are. So here I am with a whole new line-up and as far as I’m concerned it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
With a reputation for polarising both fans and critics, HM noted that there was barely a troll or negative comment posted to the version of the brutal track “Russian Hotel Aftermath” on YouTube. Is this a surprise to Frankie?
“I think that the whole, people just going out of their way to shit on it in Emmure has got played out, and I think that people have been doing it for so long that now whenever anyone does it, It’s like dude really – you’re going to fucking throw this card again and honestly — 97 per cent of the comments that are negative on the internet, are surely things based in ignorance. They don’t come from any factuality, there’s nothing to base it off of, they’re just like, “I don’t like this band blah, blah, blah, and they suck at guitar”. It’s just like who the fuck is… what are you talking about?”
“But I don’t allow that to affect how I view the band, I know my music comes from a real place, and I don’t need that negativity. So if people are really into it, then that’s great, but you can’t please everybody, and there is always someone who goes I don’t like it, ‘whatever’ and ‘fuck this’, and that’s fine too.” (continued below)
Public opinion is evidently swaying in Emmures favour, so could the album be described as a rebirth?
“Yes, sure, I could say that might be to some people. I could consider this a rebirth of the band, and teaming up with Josh Travis (djent master guitarist, also in Glass Cloud) is probably the best thing that ever happened to me and my career. Me and him have been friends for so long and we always wanted to work together in that capacity and the pieces just finally came together in the right way, and this door opened for both of us to team up and make this album, and we are just really upbeat people and really proud of it”
The new line up provides a fresh start and fans appear to be giving the tracks already released from Look At Yourself the thumbs up which bodes well for the new album. Frankie agrees with HM that, without knocking past releases and the contribution of previous band members, Look At Yourself is Emmure’s best album.
HM is surprised to learn that Australia is yet to endear itself to Frankie. When asked if he likes touring down under Frankie offers a direct yet measured response.
“Not really, but I don’t think that’s fair to say, because I’m sure I could have an amazing experience there, it’s just that we were kind of unlucky with our touring.
“I don’t know what it is man, I mean I don’t think every show is bad that’s not true at all we had our moments where it was cool, but I just think … I just feel like Australia never really … we never really got a shot there. I think that never playing Soundwave we were getting kind of shafted and not supported really, we were being taken advantage of being in Australia as a market. I wanted to go there because I know so many other bands love going there, but for me it was like, I don’t know.
“So the best part of being in Australia was seeing the animals that was a cool thing. And it sucks, I don’t want to give up on Australia, I want to go back there. I fucking love it but it just seems that we never really got there. I mean we are a band that put out, like, six records, we were six records deep and playing in like bumblefuck and no one showing up, it fucking hurts. That’s one of the only markets that’s like that for Emmure.”
Fear not metalcore disciples, Frankie went to assure HM that Australia will be on the radar for a tour when the band looks plotting a route through Asia.
So there you have it. If you are after an exercise in sonic brutality, Look At Yourself will be released via Nuclear Blast on March 3, 2017