Rub Some Dirt On It: Emery’s Raw and Unflinching Exploration of Faith and Doubt

Emery has long been a fixture in the post-hardcore music scene. Despite several band reinventions as a band, they consistently embody raw emotion and unflinching honesty. Their ninth studio album, “Rub Some Dirt On It”, marks their most vulnerable and introspective work yet, delving into themes of faith, doubt, and the struggles of the human experience.

Emery’s “Rub Some Dirt On It” Double Sawblade w/ Blood Red Splatter Special Edition Vinyl. Image Credit:

The album cover, featuring a dirty hand with severed fingers in front of a circular saw blade on a blood-red background, hints at the album’s brutality. Even one of the special edition vinyl sets, pictured above, keeps to this same theme. And the sound of the album immediately establishes a tone of raw vulnerability. It’s certainly not your Grandma’s music!

The opening track, “You Stole God From Me,” is an impassioned reflection on the loss of faith and the betrayal of religious institutions. Toby Morrell’s vocals are laced with anguish and despair, capturing the turmoil of a soul grappling with disillusionment.

The screaming doesn’t stop on the following tracks, “Concussion” and “Enemy”. The band use vivid imagery to depict life’s uncontrollable roller coaster of life and relationships. The lyrics portray the loss of innocence, dreams fading, and the persistence of haunting memories.

Throughout the album, Emery explores diverse themes, from the complexities of family relationships in “You Said Enough” to the lingering trauma of childhood abuse in “Stranger.” The band’s songwriting is sharp and incisive, cutting through the surface of societal expectations to reveal the raw emotions that lie beneath.

In contrast, “Lovely Lady” offers lighthearted break – a playful, improvisational jam showcasing Emery’s versatility and genre-blending skills. While not thematically aligned with the rest of the album, it provides a welcome and necessary change of pace that also demonstrates the band’s willingness to experiment and break free from the confines of their signature sound.

“Rub Some Dirt On It” challenges listeners to confront personal struggles and grapple with beliefs, particularly in a society where traditional beliefs are increasingly questioned. It’s a thought-provoking album resonating deeply in today’s chaotic and unpredictable world.

In a genre often dominated by macho posturing and tough-guy bravado, Emery stands out for their willingness to be vulnerable and to share their personal struggles. This vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but rather a testament to their strength and authenticity.

For fans of post-hardcore music and those seeking emotionally resonant songwriting, “Rub Some Dirt On It” is a must-listen. Its impact lasts far beyond the final notes, leaving a lasting imprint.

As I reflect on my years of listening to Emery, their passion and struggles expressed in songs, writings and podcasts reinforce the need for us to have a God that is big enough to hold our questions, a faith that can weather our doubts and a community that will love and stand with us in the struggle.

Emery’s ability to continually push the boundaries of the post-hardcore genre and deliver music that is both emotionally resonant and uncompromisingly honest is why they remain relevant. Their openness and honesty is both refreshing and personally inspiring.

Mike’s Take

Favourite Track: I Don’t Know You At All

Rating: 9/10


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