Review Summary: Well, the album title certainly isn't a lie.Chapter II: "Hot Damn" Indeed
”Tonight, I’m coming home in a coma if it fucking kills me!”
With that line, Every Time I Die shot for the stars and never looked back. If Last Night in Town
was a solid debut that showed a promising band in their infancy, Hot Damn!
took the same formula and nearly perfected it. Over a lean runtime of only 27 minutes, the record runs the gamut from explosive hardcore punk outbursts to slow-burning riffs of warped majesty. “Romeo a Go-Go” immediately sets the scene, using the opening line above to launch into punishing riff after punishing riff; the intricate mathcore passages of the previous outing have now been replaced with an adrenaline shot of pure metalcore, an excellent move if these results are any indication.
What Hot Damn!
really manages to nail is its identity; it’s clear that Every Time I Die knew exactly what kind of record they were setting out to make this time around, and it leads to a record that’s consistent and focused from beginning to end. Even the more experimental moments, such as the melancholic instrumental “In the Event That Everything Should Go Terribly Wrong” or the math-y guitar stabs of “Pornogratherapy” don’t feel out of place; if anything, they’re simply alternate methods of communicating both the brutality and bleakness of the album. Still, such moments are outliers. For the most part, Hot Damn!
is pure, uncut insanity; if you were put off by “Romeo a Go-Go”, then you won’t find much solace in the relentless screaming and heavy breakdowns of its followup “Off Broadway”, nor will you find comfort in the manic drumming and sudden tempo shifts of “She’s My Rushmore”. Once in a while, singer Keith Buckley will use clean vocals to vary up his style; however, they’re incredibly pained and out-of-tune. A perfect example comes in the form of “Ebolarama” which merges Buckley’s cleans with extremely dissonant and chunky guitar passages. The result is wonderfully off-putting and unsettling, as you know he could snap at any minute and revert back to his screamed vocals (which, of course, he does).
Of course, the other members are no slouches either. The only change in personnel from Last Night in Town
is the addition of new bassist Stephen Micciche, and the returning members have all upped their game here. As I stated before, Hot Damn!
is definitely not as mathcore-based as its predecessor; however, that doesn’t mean the playing is any less impressive. The guitar duo of Jordan Buckley and Andrew Williams continues to impress, as their interplay makes even the most chaotic moments seem controlled and collected. This is especially true of the fastest and most unceasing cuts on the record; every time the music threatens to go off the rails - as it so often does with this genre - Buckley and Williams manage to reel it back in at just the right times. The same goes for our new bassist, who gets plenty of time to shine; I’d like to highlight “She’s My Rushmore” in particular, which features a nice solo spot in the middle so Micciche can show off his chops. And of course Michael Novak doesn’t disappoint on the drums, as the intensity of his playing has been elevated from Last Night in Town
- no small feat. But that really goes to explain Hot Damn!
in general: faster, more intense and more focused. This record really isn’t for the faint of heart, but that’s what makes it so exciting and effective. It’s 27 minutes of chaos and brutality, occasionally tempered but never any less potent as it goes on. Last Night in Town
was a damn good start for Every Time I Die, and with Hot Damn!
, they brought their A-game.