Review Summary: Oh Lord, I am saved!
In 2014, I don’t think anybody would have been truly happy with what was expected of Every Time I Die: yet another
installment of the accessible, southern-tinged metalcore the Buffalo-based group has become infamous for. Ex Lives
, while being another solid addition to the band’s repertoire, felt as tired as the one-liners belted by vocalist Keith Buckley- they were enjoyable because we expected them, but that just meant we forgot about them with enough time. It’s disconcerting for fans of Every Time I Die to see that shift happen, with the band’s music so unerringly consistent in sound that it’s hard to see them ever doing things differently. No need for anxiety, though, those of you who have somehow missed the seemingly-universal acclaim From Parts Unknown
has already received. Every Time I Die didn’t want this to just another album of theirs, instead seeking reinvention. And it’s exciting that people are seeing the same things in this record that they did in the 11-year-old and widely celebrated Hot Damn!
- an album penned by a metalcore group beginning to find its stride. See, From Parts Unknown
is taking a slightly different stance- it moves with Hot Damn!
’s instinct, but feels far more seasoned on the whole. This album makes its listeners nostalgic while simultaneously catching them off-guard, and that’s just the thing this band has needed to do- and more significantly, wanted to do- for a long time. Why else would Every Time I Die cherrypick Converge’s very own Kurt Ballou for production duties if it didn’t have the aim to destroy the formula?
No, don’t be fooled by the singles. While “Decayin’ With the Boys” isn’t unlike past Every Time I Die fan favorites, From Parts Unknown
is anything but. It takes less than ten seconds for opener “The Great Secret” to prove this notion wrong, the song hurtling into the air like thirsty wildfire. And it doesn’t even take a knowledgeable and illuminating self-proclaimed music critic like myself to point out that “Moor”, the centerpiece of the album, is perfect because it is bizarre, is fascinating because it is unpredictable. Keith Buckley loses his *** in “Moor”, and thereby gives the performance of his career: he’s crooning indistinctly one second, backing lonesome piano hits, and the next he’s wailing as maniacally as a white-hot tea kettle. Buckley and his crew are belligerent here. They’re apologizing for ever having gone softer than this, and in their own special way.
They don’t let up, either. Really. And maybe that’s the best way to know this is an Every Time I Die album, because it seems the band has always had issues identifying when it’s beat the same dead horse for too long. Since From Parts Unknown
is a heavy album it’s a violent show too, guts repeatedly spattering all over the dirt. After “All Structures Are Unstable”, I just want to tell Every Time I Die that the brutality they’re aiming for, well, it just works best in smaller doses. Truly, though, it’s a shame that the same ideas are exploited and re-exploited through the album’s 32-minute runtime, because this downplays what very well could be a groundbreaking metalcore release. But it’s commendable enough for the band to switch gears once having gotten to cruise control, and this record makes it clear that change was the main thing they sought. Change is what led them to write the album they needed to, and in turn, left us listeners with the album we needed to hear. Change reminds us that we didn’t know Every Time I Die like we thought we did- but they sure read us to a tee with From Parts Unknown