Review Summary: Don't expect Every Time I Die to slow down any time soon.
Every Time I Die are a unique band to say the least. Since their 2001 release Last Night In Town these Buffalo, New York natives have been creating their own brand of hard hitting, pulse pounding, and satire spitting metalcore. 2003 saw Every Time I Die releasing their sophomore release Hot Damn, and not only did they completely avoid any sort of “sophomore slump” they completely ran it over and left it for dead in a set of stolen wheels!
From the moment you being listening to Hot Damn! you are aurally assaulted by screeching guitars and pounding drums before Keith Buckley’s unique vocals complete that tapestry that has just been woven in an instant before you in the song Romeo-A Go Go. Keith Buckley makes reference to literary figures Milton, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Donne on the track and it’s a major foreshadowing of what this album is about. Off Broadway, I Been Gone A Long Time, Godspeed Us To Sea, and She’s My Rushmore all continue this trend of fast and punishing guitar work accompanied by pinpoint drums. It’s difficult to really pick out any stand out tracks on this album because they are all top notch, however Floater and Ebolarama could take that honor. Floater consistently sounds like its about to break out into a crunching breakdown and teases the listener until the last 2:30 when it goes into one of the greatest breakdowns on this album. As the guitars sputter and spew out chord after chord Keith Buckley compliments the madness by screaming “Drain the lake, you’ll find its full of love.” Ebolarama is really the trademark Every Time I Die song. A screeching guitar riff carries the track and there is even some nice bass work on this song by Stephen Micciche. Once again as with most Every Time I Die songs, Buckley’s vocals always threaten to steal the spotlight, but that’s not a bad thing. The line “We’re locked and loaded, drip fed and bloated” is shouted over top of some clapping before the guitars start spewing out thick chords and then that same screeching guitar riff comes back in to pick up the tempo.
This album comes at you fast, and doesn’t really every slow down except for the slower track In The Event That Everything Should Go Wrong which serves as a buffer between Floater and Ebolarama. Throughout the album the guitars of Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley create rhythms that will alternate between dense metal riffs, and heavy breakdowns, all while never overdoing the latter. Drummer Michael Novak’s drumming always compliments the music, never overpowering the other instruments but still providing the backbone needed for the music. His style is unique, it lacks a lot double bass work, but rather relies on snare and cymbal work that, as stated before, really compliments the riffs the guitars are playing. Bassist Stephen Micciche is audible sometimes and is always playing some very groovy lines, such as the one that is heard in Ebolarama.
So what makes this album a 5" It’s the overall piece. The lyrics and vocals are never stale and are quite possible the most unique in the genre, there is not many metalcore bands that will open an album with lines from Chaucer, Milton, Donne, and Shakespeare, and be able to pull it off. The entire album walks the line between being heavy and brutal, and melodic and catchy. The guitar work is outstanding, creating start-stop riffs and thick hooks that will constantly pull you into the music and make you bang you head and the drumming is executed with meticulous accuracy. The fact that a Every Time I Die could created such an amazing album so early into their career is a testament to their talent. Don’t expect Every Time I Die to slow down any time soon.