Review Summary: Chaos reigns on Every Time I Die's crushing seventh LP.
For the entirety of their 15+ year career, Every Time I Die has been one of modern metal's true workhorse bands. They tour rigorously to promote each new release and -with the exception of the three-year gap between New Junk Aesthetic and Ex Lives-have released a new record every two years since 2001. When you get to the point Every Time I Die is at in their career, the drive and effort needed to create high-quality music can waver. Every Time I Die not only avoids the pitfall of a seasoned band slacking off well into the second decade of their career, but they manage to create an incredibly energetic and punishing listening experience on their seventh LP From Parts Unknown.
From Parts Unknown sees Every Time I Die playing with a level of raw aggression that hasn't been seen since their 2003 breakout album Hot Damn! When they released debut single "Thirst" I expected a heavier album than usual from them, but I'd be completely lying if I said I expected to hear something that's as relentlessly pummeling as From Parts Unknown. The level of pure, unadulterated bedlam that exudes from From Parts Unknown is similar to the whirlwind material the likes of Converge- whose guitarist Kurt Ballou produced this LP- and The Dillinger Escape Plan have released throughout their respective careers. A majority of the songs on here are around two and a half minutes, which allows them to pack a barrage of riffs and Keith Buckley's impassioned vocals into short, wild bursts. Tracks like "Overstayer" and "Exoterium" are especially crushing with southern-tinged riffs and breakdowns that make the listener want to get up and start a pit in their living room. It's great to see Every Time I Die making music this powerful and unapologetically heavy over a decade after the raw musical attack that was Hot Damn! was released.
While the chaos From Parts Unknown offers up is undoubtedly great, the record really hits its peak when it lets up a bit and offers up some variation to the chaotic formula most of the album follows. "Moor" is certainly the most surprising track on the album as it starts off with a bizarre piano line and subdued clean vocals from Buckley before it turns into all-out pandemonium at about the halfway mark. The Crowbar-esque riff that bookends the heavy portion of the track is honestly the meatiest, sludge-inspired riff Every Time I Die has ever written and it beautifully transitions into a refrain of the piano portion from the intro to close out the track. A winding, manic tempo-shifting track like "Moor" is perfectly placed at the dead center of the record to give the listener a little bit of a breather after suffocating them with non-stop intensity for the first five tracks. Another one of the few tracks to feature primarily clean vocals, "El Dorado", is the highlight of the entire record. The riffs are triumphant, Buckley's excellent versatility as a vocalist is on full display and most importantly, it perfectly converges the raw sound of early ETID with the more melodic sound of their New Junk Aesthetic/Big Dirty-era material. These brief detours from the straight heaviness that embodies From Parts Unknown offers just enough of a reprieve to keep the otherwise unhinged atmosphere of the record fresh and satisfying.
From Parts Unknown quite simply gets the job done. While Every Time I Die really hasn't made a bad record thus far, the recent streak they've been on is truly remarkable. Ever since their fifth LP New Junk Aesthetic came out in 2009, Every Time I Die has really hit their stride and become an unstoppable musical force. If From Parts Unknown is any indicator, that won't be changing anytime in the near future.