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Emarosa - Versus review

* Let me preface this with the following: I am one hundred percent honest when I review a record. I’m also looking at the album as a whole & I understand that artists create art for the sake of art as well as having a way to pay their bills. Therefore, if Bradley Walden is reading this after having favorited a tweet of mine regarding this review, I apologize (proof below).

Emarosa is an awkward band to follow. I first discovered this group when they had released This Is Your Way Out; back when I was in high school constantly searching for metalcore (my taste in music has dramatically changed since then, but there are some records I could still jam to). For some reason that EP clicked & I made sure to keep a close eye on where the band was headed. While I was very skeptical of Relativity & the addition of Jonny Craig to the band’s lineup, I eventually grew to love the album (especially enough to surpass This Is Your Way Out). From there, Emarosa was headed down what I thought was a great path to success after the release of their self-titled record. So why then did it take the band four years to release another record?

Well, it goes back to Jonny Craig. To keep it brief, he was kicked out, forcing the rest of the band to continue on without him; writing demos, rehearsing & taking their time making sure to find their next lead singer. At this point I felt the band had faded in obscurity; waiting on substantial news regarding the future of Emarosa was starting to feel like beating a dead horse. Other than the news of Bradley Walden of Squid the Whale joining the band & the detail of Versus that followed, the only sign of hope I caught a glimpse of was the Supercow demo with Tilian Pearson (which I thought was fantastic by the way). So after waiting for four years, was the wait for Versus worth it?

In my opinion, not really. In comparison to Emarosa’s previous releases, I found Versus to be very lackluster; the record did not have a strong drive to push through its entirety, many songs felt disconnected in regards to flow & a lot of the presentation in lyrics & vocals felt uninspired. It’s one thing for a band to grow musically; however I feel that¬†Versus¬†was a well-made album that Emarosa could’ve done better with. In fact,¬†Versus is not by any means a bad record; I’m just glad I didn’t spend $68+ on the “Super Vinyl Bundle”; a special limited variant of the record on orange/tan starburst 12” vinyl, a CD, a signed album poster (not including a poster tube unless specifically ordered with the bundle), a clear cut die sticker, your choice of a one of two t-shirts or a tank top, a fox ring & ball chain necklace, a black beanie, instant download of three specific tracks & a full download of the album a week in advance of the release date. I bought the record on silver 12” vinyl (which came with a CD copy to my surprise) for around $20 & it arrived at home a week before the release date. I think I got a better deal out of it & at least Relativity & the self-titled record¬†are being reissued on vinyl later this month.

Tracks I’d recommend: Mad, People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play.¬†If you want to stream the record you can find it here.

- CM

* For the record, I don’t plan on writing long posts like these often.¬†Also for the record, I know that there are plenty of heavy issues going on in the world right now; this, however, I feel I need to address.

I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, but I am one who enjoys playing video games. I say this because I feel that the word “gamer” leaves a disgusting feeling that carries images of hateful, misogynistic, socially awkward men constantly taking part in unnecessary flame wars (console wars, console v. gaming PCs, video resolution, corruption in gaming journalism, etc.). I find this behavior disgusting. So when I heard stories this past week about Phil Fish getting doxxed over information regarding one’s personal life¬†& Anita Sarkeesian being driven out of her home because of death threats on her & her family, I was not very happy.

Phil Fish, to fill some of you in, is a former indie video game designer, prominently known for creating Fez, a fantastic puzzle-platform game. I say he’s a former indie designer because he quit making video games twice know, especially now with this story of these hackers who supposedly¬†doxxed¬†him; basically, Fish’s personal information was made public with the worst of intentions (I’ll let you figure out what bad would come from that). In my opinion, while Fish has a very strong, volatile personality that has gotten him into trouble many times in the past, no one deserves this. It shouldn’t matter if this story is true or not, no one deserves to be put on a public chopping block like this. I don’t have anything else to say in this particular story because while I know there are plenty of other angles to cover here (possible false information, the hackers falsely taking the name of Anonymous to cover their asses, corruption in “game journalism,” etc.), this was the larger topic on my mind.

Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist, a media critic, & the author of video blog Feminist Frequency as well as video series’ Tropes vs. Women & Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. I love that she’s a voice criticizing whats wrong in today’s society. Sarkeesian is drawing awareness to social issues in a manner that forces discussion & hopefully leads to positive change. I only have one issue with her work (and it’s a small criticism); after exceeding her goal on Kickstarter for¬†Tropes vs. Women in Video Games by over $100,000, her videos in this series have used gameplay footage from other YouTube video game channels without referencing the people behind those channels or asking for their permission. While Sarkeesian does address this with the argument of fair use (“The multimedia clips included in this video constitute a ‘fair use’ of any copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright law which allows for criticism, comment and scholarship.”) (which I totally understand), at the same time some of these Youtube channels use their content to make a living or at least try to make some extra money. While I’m sure a lot of the money she received from KIckstarter was distributed well (hiring a staff, video production software & equipment, etc. *I’m seriously not being sarcastic about this), at the same time a used game console, a video capture card & some games doesn’t really cost that much. Hell, with that much money I’d say Sarkeesian could’ve even paid minimal amounts of money to hire someone else to play these games to get the footage she needs. Again, small criticism;¬†the above statement was not an attack on her views regarding feminism. I cannot emphasize that enough.

Anywho, Anita Sarkeesian released a new set of videos for¬†Tropes vs. Women in Video Games recently. Thats nothing new except for when she received explicit death threats online. Let me just say this as clearly as I can: It doesn’t matter what kind of person Sarkeesian is; when you are forced to leave the comforts of your home because someone is threatening you, it’s not okay.

*Sheesh, it’s almost 2 am & I feel like I’ve been writing an essay. Look, I need to get some sleep, but the point I’m trying to make here is that the people behind these attacks in gaming have no excuse that validates their actions. I enjoy gaming, but this shit is wrong. For those of you who read this far, if you want a nice conclusion to tie things together, think of stuff like how misogyny is bad, equal rights for everyone, hatefulness sucks & anything else positive that came out of this rant because I’m super tired and my brain has now turned to poop.

G o o ¬†d ¬†n ¬† i ¬† g ¬† ¬†h ¬† ¬†t ¬† ¬† !