Review Summary: The Big Dirty is ultimately a fun, worthwhile release for fans, but it falls short of the greatness of Hot Damn!
In a world of Unearth
s, Killswitch Engage
s and Parkway Drive
s, Every Time I Die
have always been a breath of fresh air. With skillful riffing, plenty of tempo changes and singer Keith Buckley's now famous sense of humour (not to mention his excellent vocals), Every Time I Die had a winning combination of elements that came together perfectly on their 2003 opus, Hot Damn!
. At just 27 minutes in length, Hot Damn!
's cheeky, no bullshi
t approach to metalcore songwriting ensured their place as one of the biggest bands currently in heavy music. Unfortunately, Hot Damn!
left the band in a bit of a bad spot and subsequent releases have seen the band unable to replicate its success. While 2005's Gutter Phenomenon
won them plenty of new fans and its more pronounced southern rock influences marked a new chapter in the band's history, it was ultimately disappointing for fans of the band's earlier work. The Big Dirty
is the band's fourth LP to date and stylistically, walks a line between that of the band's last two albums. Its title is apt and accurately describes the melding of gritty southern rock with more traditional metalcore. Every Time I Die also manage to throw a few new ingredients into The Big Dirty
's melting pot to ensure that the album isn't just regurgitating earlier ideas.
Every Time I Die's appeal has always been their sense of humour and their ability to make music that's far more fun than that of the majority of their peers. Unfortunately with The Big Dirty
, it seems that the band are unable to break through the wall that they ran into with Gutter Phenomenon
. Ultimately, the problem with both this record and its predecessor is that at this point Hot Damn!
is the pinnacle of everything that this band aspires to and it seems unlikely that that will change with any subsequent releases. That's not to say that The Big Dirty
is a bad record, or even a disappointing one. It's just that it seems that the band's best days are already behind them so early in their career. Sensibly enough, Every Time I Die aren't trying to reinvent themselves and nor are they rehashing old ideas. The Big Dirty
has plenty of appeal for existing fans with a number of bells and whistles thrown in. Keith Buckley's lyrics are typically badass with plenty of catchy one-liners ("Which one of you sons of bitches/Is gonna make me feel alive"
, "I chewed off my very own head to get me out of this trap"
), though admittedly nothing quite as side-splitting as that
line from Gutter Phenomenon
. Musically, Every Time I Die are in great shape; opener "No Son of Mine" is one of their most brutal tracks to date while "Cities and Years" features a breakdown that hits like a kick in the nuts. "We'rewolf" and "Rendez-Voodoo" exemplify the band's love of southern rock and "Buffalo Girls" features some of their most fun riffing to date.
The Big Dirty
is ultimately a fun and worthwhile record for fans, but it falls short of the greatness of Hot Damn!
. On one hand, it's as if Every Time I Die are growing stale as they become more accessible, but at the same time they're adding a number of tricks over time to keep themselves from drying out or falling into a completely generic sound. If you're after forward-thinking, challenging hardcore, then this ain't it and you'd best wait for Ire Works
. However, if you're a fan, just looking for fun or wanting something to tide you over until Ire Works
arrives, The Big Dirty
is for you.
Fun, brutal and witty
A few new ideas
Keith Buckley is a damn good vocalist
Doesn't feel especially fresh
Falls short of the band's legacy
The southern rock influence is a love/hate affair
No Son of Mine
Cities and Years
Final Rating: 3/5