Review Summary: Make no mistake, we all do what we want. Emery would have it no other way.‘We Do What We Want’. It is a concerning album title that conjures up images of egocentric rock stars doing as they please, and relying on past deeds to sell records. Coming off the back of Emery’s best album to date, one may be forgiven for thinking that the post-hardcore outfit have allowed success to get to their heads.
Emery have gone back and forth a bit in terms of the aggressiveness of their hard rock sound, with 2007's third album I'm Only a Man introducing a more melodic, keyboard-based approach, while the 2008 EP While Broken Hearts Prevail returned to the band's screaming heavy metal beginnings. The outspoken title of the fifth full-length album, We Do What We Want, seems to address the controversy about the group's direction, but its music, like that of predecessor …In Shallow Seas We Sail, seems to split the difference. In fact, the bandmembers exploit the hard/soft, screaming/singing dichotomy, with the portentous metal cadences of the lockstep rhythm section and the howling vocals bringing out the spiritual crisis at the core of the lyrics, contrasted to the keyboard textures and smooth singing that express the same message in a calmer mood.
The first thing you really notice on We Do What We Want, Emery’s fifth full-length, is how heavy it is. Like, ridiculously heavy. Between the ubiquitous A Day To Remember-styled chugga-chugga breakdowns and frantically shrill screams, it’s the hardest performance the band have served up in a long time, if not ever. It turns out that this was the plan all along—with a mostly acoustic album also slated for this year, Emery decided to go in the complete opposite direction for Want, and it takes all of about five seconds of “Scissors” or “The Cheval Glass” to reckon they’ve succeeded.