Every Time I Die

Ex Lives

01. Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space
02. Holy Book Of Dilemma
03. A Wild, Shameless Plain
04. Typical Miracle
05. I Suck (Blood)
06. Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow
07. The Low Road Has No Exits
08. Revival Mode
09. Drag King
10. Touch Yourself
11. Indian Giver

[03/06/12]
[Epitaph Records]

Fourteen years and six records in, you might be forgiven for wondering if Buffalo party-metal quintet Every Time I Die might be running out of ideas. The band have always been known for their energy, but surely that must be unsustainable for a band so deep into their career. Besides, all these young Warped Tour upstarts prove that metalcore is a young man’s game, and when you’re cresting the steep side of 30, what have you got left to be angry about? Queue at the post office? The price of thermal underwear? Neighbours kids kicking their ball into your back yard?

Thankfully, with Ex Lives Every Time I Die have once again brandished their somewhat dichotomous mix of youthful exuberance and poetic ability (for the two rarely go hand in hand), and whilst the issues are more mature, their delivery still shows everyone how rock and roll should be done.

It’s that poetic license that particularly sets this band above the hum-drum; the  anti-prosaic contemplation of the selfsame issues about which most bands write; love, life, friendships – all are covered here, but with the lexical verve of the modern-day Shakespeare that is front-man Keith Buckley. It’s not even about using dem big ole’ fancy words neither; more that he has the ability to craft phrases and deliver them into the metaphorical aether with the confidence that a thousand fans will scream them back at him at every show. ETID don’t need tight jeans and flippy bangs to get anyone’s attention. I’m not sure they even care to – but it happens.

What accompanies this is a soundtrack full of bombast that is incredibly reminiscent of, if anything, their 2003 album Hot Damn!; it’s quite a bit more aggressive, but also notably crustier than its more recent predecessors – the mid-section of ‘I Suck (Blood)‘ for example is gnarly, down-tempo affair, undercutting a vitriolic vocal delivery, whilst the opening to ‘A Wild, Shameless Plain‘ is the dirtiest I’ve ever heard from the band. Even the more mellow tracks like ‘Revival Mode‘ pack a mean punch; in this instance rising to a monumental crescendo with a solo that nails you to the fucking wall. For all the big, powerful riffs you associate with guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams, it’s nice to hear something a little different on a quite tonally different song.

I’m not going to claim it’s a perfect album; there are moments when I think the foot should be taken off the gas a little bit, and funnily enough that’s about the only problem I had with Hot Damn!. I think Keith Buckley’s nuance with vocals can be astounding; that delicate line between screaming and singing across and around which he has so often danced is a little more black and white on Ex Lives as it was back then. The full-speed hardcore they delve into at times, too, has never held my concentration for long periods when used less effectively by other bands – but quite honestly that’s a completely subjective preference, and in no way detracts from how much you should listen to this album. Ex Lives is passionate, discerning, and a bloody good ride – everything metalcore should be with none of the bullshit, from a band that can seemingly do no wrong.

Every Time I Die’s Ex Lives gets:

4.5/5

– CG

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEp-Owhqbr0]

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