Like From Autumn to Ashes, Nora, and Hopesfall (just to give three examples), Emery is an alternative pop/rock outfit that has been described as "melodic hardcore." That means that they aren't providing pure, unadulterated hardcore (let alone metalcore) in the traditional sense, but rather are melodic alternative pop/rockers who incorporate hardcore elements. That approach has also been called "screamo" -- in other words, emotional and melodic sensitivity contrasting with the sort of screaming vocals one associates with hardcore and metalcore. And Emery, like many other 2000s bands that have been described as "melodic hardcore," "post-hardcore" or "screamo," definitely thrives on heaven/hell and melody/brutality contrasts. One minute, they're providing lush melodies, introspective lyrics and conventional vocals -- the next minute, they'll detour into tortured, agonizing, death-all-over-your-face screaming.
For Emery, however, the conventional vocals outnumber the screaming vocals, which is a major difference between their approach and the unforgiving ferocity of the more extreme hardcore and metalcore bands of the 2000s -- Emery gives you tortured screaming some of the time, whereas hardcore and metalcore purists will give you tortured screaming 100 percent of the time. Without question, Emery's kindness/cruelty juxtaposition is a long way from the unmitigated ferocity and relentless brutality of metalcore bands like Brick Bath, Hatebreed, and Rotten Sound.
Emery was formed in South Carolina in 2001, when Toby Morrell (lead vocals, guitar), Matt Carter (guitar, keyboards, background vocals), and Joel Green (bass) got together with Devin Shelton (guitar, background vocals), Josh Head (keyboards), and Seth Studley (drums). All of the Southern musicians were recent college graduates, and when they formed Emery, they were determined to make music a career instead of a mere hobby. After talking things over and weighing their options, Emery's members decided that Seattle would be a better environment for them than South Carolina and left for the West Coast at around 7:30 a.m. on September 11, 2001 -- the day Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airplanes and viciously attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Emery's members didn't find out about the attacks until they stopped in North Carolina to get something to eat; despite all the horror and chaos, they eventually made it to the West Coast and made the Emerald City their new home. In 2002, Emery signed with the Seattle-based Tooth & Nail label, which united them with producer/engineer Ed Rose (who has worked with the Get Up Kids, Todd Newman, the Beautiful Mistake, Shallow, and the Hillbilly Hellcats, among many others). The following year, Rose produced Emery's debut album, The Weak's End, which Tooth & Nail released in January 2004. The Question then appeared in August 2005.