Review Summary: I've seen too much.
Expectations can be a bitch. An ample amount of bands with respectable fan-bases in the music scene today seem to (rather easily) fall victim to hype, some deserved of their hype and some not. Every Time I Die
are definitely a band that has had a growing fan-base from release to release, and with that comes certain expectations and inevitable hype. Ever since their bone crushing early records (Last Night in Town & Hot Damn!
), to their heavily influenced southern rock orientated records e.g The Big Dirty
, ETID have showcased their stylistic versatility and proved that consistency is something they can maintain with ease. So, with this release, do ETID maintain their credible consistency? Also, with Kurt Ballou at the helm controlling production, have their early influences come into play once more? Well, the answer is a resounding yes
to both of those questions.
From the ethereal opening chords in 'The Great Secret', to the dissonant shrieks found on 'Idiot', this is ETID firing on all cylinders from start to finish. The main change on this record is definitely the contribution from producer and Converge guitarist, Kurt Ballou. The thin, yet cut throat production on the drums and guitars are definitely something the band benefits from hugely. Not only does it add to guitarists Jordan and Andy's forceful riffs, but it also adds a critical punch to the drums which have been mainly absent within ETID's production for many years. Everything is crisp yet raw and makes the urgent nature of the record so much more apparent.
Vocally, front-man Keith Buckley has not sounded this pissed off in over 10 years. Whereas ETID's last few records have pushed Keith slightly back in the mix, Ballou's contribution has allowed Keith to become a focal point once more. Effortlessly switching from melancholy clean vocals to his trademark shrieks, Keith definitely sounds more hungry than he ever has done on this record. Even though the clean vocals are sparse, Buckley showcases his singing virtuosity quite excellently on the track 'Moor'. The track is an excellent contrast to the songs that have come prior; with an eerie piano line starting out the track and Buckley swooning over the top, this song definitely feels like the 'anomaly' of the record compared to the rapid onslaught the rest brings.
The flow of From Parts Unknown
is also something that the album benefits from. With so many blood pumping tracks melding into one another track after track, you'd be forgiven in thinking that the whole album is just one song of face melting riffs. However, this is an ETID album and, with that, comes some common problems. Despite the fact that Jordan and Andy know how to write one helluva riff, they both aren't exactly the most varied axemen in the world. Every song (virtually) follows a similar pattern and treads familiar ground constantly. This 'samey' nature is definitely apparent when you compare it to the guitar-work found on an album like The Big Dirty
. Therefore, fans who were expecting a rather varied affair i.e. Ex Lives
and The Big Dirty
, may be disappointed by this records outright ferocity and refusal to change up its formula.
Having said all of this, Every Time I Die have still delivered a cohesive and stellar album with From Parts Unknown
. Although the band have been sticking to familiar territory with their past few releases, it is definitely something they know how to pull off every time with constant wit (thanks to Buckley's tongue-in-cheek lyrics) and energy. It is definitely no surprise that the band has become somewhat of a poster-child in hardcore over the past few years and continue to be so, even to this day. So, crack open a few cold ones and indulge yourself in one of the most exciting and fist pumping records of the year so far...kill the lights