Review Summary: This is a rock and roll takeover.
The way I see it lately, the metalcore genre seems to have become saturated with two types of bands; those that are bringing ridiculously overproduced and uncreative breakdowns to the swoop-fringed masses, and a select number of bands carrying the banner for the brand of the genre pioneered by the likes of Botch, Integrity and Converge (read: good metalcore), with the focus being on technicality and calculated brutality. It's refreshing then that bands like Every Time I Die exist to prove my jaded generalizations are exactly that - a cynical characterization of a genre that has far more to offer than first meets the eye.
Anyone familiar with Every Time I Die's later work will be able to see the influence their past work has had on their current southern groove oriented manifestation. Much heavier than their recent rock-riff heavy records but still containing the same sense of freewheeling fun, Hot Damn!'s riffs are faster and more intricate, the rhythm section more visceral, and the vocals aggressive and passionate. With a talent for writing witty, intelligent and incredibly appealing lyrics, Keith Buckley leads from the front, and his charisma as a frontman on Hot Damn! is unmatched on any other release from the band. His vocals often take the front seat in this manic half-an-hour of metalcore, and he tactfully avoids being overbearing, instead complimenting the frantic instrumentation with a voice that is equally as urgent. The breakdown on “Floater” is the obvious highlight of the album, with the screams of ‘drag the lake / you’ll find it’s full of love’ expressing all of the anguish and heartache that any asshole that has destroyed a relationship feels. Another standout, “Ebolarama” is an excellent example, with the heavy groove of the opening riffs perfectly partnering Buckley’s bitter spiel about the emptiness of nights drenched in alcohol, but the desire to enjoy it and live and fuck and do it over and over again anyway.
As energetic as it is fun, Hot Damn! (and indeed the band's entire body of work) is an invigorating listen, and with one of the best live shows I've ever experienced, Every Time I Die keep proving their worth as a breath of fresh air in a genre saturated with talentless, tasteless trash.