Take a look at any Emanuel promo shot, and you’ll hopefully notice that the photographer is playing a trick on you. You see, Matt Breen, Emanuel frontman, is actually a wee bit small.
Now we know that vertically challenged people are often the most vicious, constantly on a mission to prove that they can cut it with the big lads, so it should come as no surprise that Breen and his cohorts have actually got angrier on the follow-up to Soundtrack To A Headrush.
The first proper song on Black Earth Tiger, ‘Cottonmouth’ is a vigorous onslaught that hints at the Deftones direction of the album ahead. The production has got smudgier, jettisoning the rough edges of the band’s youthful debut, and pushing into the darker recesses of their post-hardcore sound.
This does throw up a problem, though; something that’s keeping this track and Black Earth Tiger on the shelf: Emanuel are simply trying too hard to be grown up, to be “metal”, and to be heard. Where their debut sounded like an unrestrained and necessary outpouring of emotion, this song feels like a carefully constructed single to go at the front of the album; a single with tired grunge and hardcore influences.
Emanuel are still worth checking out, but this isn’t really the best advert.
5Mike Haydock's Score