Written by Andrew Howie
If you’ve read my column before, you know I lean more towards prog-rock, jam bands, psychedelia, jazz, basically anything that’s never on the radio. I used to listen to much heavier music back in the day, and it’s not that I dislike the genre now, I just don’t listen to it as much. That being said, when I heard Every Time I Die had a new album out (Low Teens), I knew I had to give it a shot. They were one of my favorite bands when I was into heavy tunes, mainly due to their unconventional song structuring and their devil-may-care attitude, particularly that of lead vocalist Keith Buckley, and the unbridled confidence they carried in their material.
I knew exactly what to expect from Every Time I Die: discordant, bone-crushing guitars chunking their way over spastic drums and noodling bass, all while Keith shrieks and swaggers his way through the slog, his trademark guttural roar juxtaposed against his surprisingly melodious clean vocals. His lyrics are often nonsense (I’ve read that one of his favorite inspirational tactics is to have himself a few drinks and see what comes out when he writes), but that’s part of the fun. Add to that the ridiculous song titles (see “I Didn’t Want to Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway”, “C++ [Love Will Get You Killed]”) and their take-no-prisoners style and it adds up to an energizing album that never tires itself out.
As I said, I hadn’t listened to ETID for some time, so I suppose I was a little surprised to see how far they’ve come as far as the production goes. Where once you could hear them falling over themselves during recording, and the low quality really gave it that ripped and torn, metal-punk feel, there are now cleanly cut guitar lines, the bass sounds just phenomenal, and the drums are the big star, ringing loud and clear and keeping the madness together.
This is one of those albums that takes me back and makes me remember why I used to like heavy music so much more; I really enjoy the attitude of doing your thing no matter what, and they’ve had reasonable success with it. I was stoked to see this album, I didn’t even know they were around anymore, so it was a blast from the past that got me excited about this band again. I’ve never seen them live, but after this album I think I need to.
If you’re a fan of their work such as The Big Dirty and New Junk Aesthetic, you will love this record. Not quite as disjointed, more thought-out, but still with that pummeling fury of Every Time I Die. It sounds like they made a concerted effort to appeal to some of their fans who maybe have grown up a bit over the years, and it was a real pleasure to hear the band maturing as well. Also, a word to the wise: this music sounds great blasting from quality car speakers. Happy listening everyone!
Rating: 9 out of 10