Release Date: 9th September 2014
Label: Rise Records
Beginning as a metalcore outfit, Emarosa released their EP ‘This Is Your Way Out’, but after parting ways with vocalist Chris Roetter, the Kentucky six piece looked to Jonny Craig, and moulded their sound to a more melodic, post-hardcore. And now, in 2014, their new album ‘Versus’ sees the beginning and an ending of another chapter, with Bradley Walden taking centre stage as lead vocalist, and both guitarist Jonas Ladekjaer and drummer Lukas Koszewski calling it their last album, can ‘Versus’ lead to both a bright future and close as a perfect way to end…?
As the album opens (People Like Me, We Just Don’t Pay), Bradley Walden shows off his melodic vocals which are executed throughout the album tastefully. The track drops into a punchy energy that sets up the rest of the album perfectly as ‘Versus’ is full of tasteful vocal licks and energetic guitar and drums, which is what Emarosa are all about.
‘Verses’ doesn’t have the impact that made their self-titled album ‘Emarosa’ and ‘Relativity’ stand out so much, but those aggressive, hard hitting moments are there (American Déjà vu, A Hundred Crows), albeit less frequent. It seems Bradley’s vocals have made the six piece somewhat more listenable, almost making them easier to confront, which may frustrate fans of the older, angrier side of Emarosa displayed by Jonny Craig.
Change is never easy for bands, and certainly not easy for fans. But Emarosa’s success of their previous two albums saw them experiment with alternative, post-hardcore music, being centred around stylistic vocals. Now, with ‘Versus’, they’ve kept the formula the same. Throughout the eleven tracks, the six piece experiment and push the boundaries of their music. Boundaries that the band couldn’t of ventured to in 2010, such as the slow tempo, almost Top 40 like pop, emotion filled tracks (Say Hello To The Bad Guy, I’ll Just Wait) that weave between energy fuelled, rock songs seamlessly.
The change of tempo throughout the album keeps listeners on their toes and makes for an interesting listening experience, and the closing track’s (1996 On Bevard) chorus makes for an anthemic ending to the album, filled with honest, relatable lyrics that are scattered within the album.
For Emarosa fans, that expect the next part of the Jonny Craig trilogy will listen with disappointment, but, ‘Versus’ is simply a collection of good songs. Many had written Emarosa off but, this new album is a surprise many will welcome, and it simply clarifies that Emarosa are not simply a frontman, but alongside Bradley Walden they are still relevant today, and can still go on to create good albums.