In the unwritten gospel according to John Q. Music Critic, certain phrases are right out. To utter them in the context of a CD review will often result in immediate implosion or banishment to some far-reaching, backwoods red state. These phrases include “totally bitchin’”, “hella cool”, “loud drums, heavy guitar” and “it’s not as punk as their first 7-inch”.
But it’s a little-known fact, Normy, that every critic is given one, and only one, opportunity to call upon the phrase “kick ass”. On this day, at this very moment, I’m exercising my right to use said phrase, as it’s clear after one listen that EMOK’s debut album kicks ass nine ways to Sunday.
Starting off with an old school bass riff reminiscent of SOD/MOD, EMOK’s Shove Your Head into the Ground and Feed It to the Earth wastes no time on eerie intros or inane voice-overs. The mayhem bleeds from one track into the next, combining nü-metal crunch with foreign instrumentation elements from the band’s Israeli roots, which together produce a sound not unlike System Of A Down.
A lot of comparisons to Rage Against The Machine are made, thanks to EMOK’s occasional Tom Morello-esque guitar work and mild-to-manic song structures. But in truth, the band merges the best bits of metal stars both old and new, from Korn to Megadeth. One would almost swear that Dave Mustaine makes a guest vocal appearance on “Field of Thorns”. You’ll even hear some souped-up Jane’s Addiction, Les Claypool bass play, and Voivod dissonance.
Yet despite how easy it is to identify these various elements, the EMOK sound is one of a kind, even if it might be classified as “originality by extension”. The bottom line is, like System of a Down, EMOK is doing more than any other retread and generic act to reestablish metal’s credibility. Few hiccups + countless highlights * maximum rock = kick ass!