YAY, MORE HARDCORE REVIEWS! But seriously, the last week and a half has been low on interesting releases and I’ve been low on time, but I saw that Every Time I Die’s new record came out, something that I was looking forward to but somehow completely forgot was going to happen. I don’t know how that happened as this band have one of the best track records out of any band in any genre, but alas, I was surprised when the release date of this snuck up on me. But boy am I glad that I listened to this record this week. Being completely swamped in schoolwork and having little time to do anything else has made me irritable and on edge, and it seemed like this band’s new album Low Teens came around at the just the right time to give some cathartic quality metalcore to kick me back into gear. This is an absolute stormer of a record, and in a year where heavy music seems to be lacking the fire under its ass that gives it life, Every Time I Die bring a ferocity that I’ve only heard on a select few albums this year.
The main musical motif that runs through this record is the juxtaposition of hardcore stomp and swaggering, old school rock and roll strut. Some tracks lean towards the former, some towards the latter (especially with the badass cowbell breakdown on “Two Summers”), but there is one constant: RIFFS. There are more capital-R Riffs on this record than any other record I’ve heard this year thus far, and I challenge any other band that plays hard music to try and match this before the year is out. There are quite a few points on this where I literally had to pause and rewind a section just to listen to a riff again. “Just As Real but Not As Brightly Lit” has a break about half a minute in that literally made me let out a grunt of satisfaction in a public place the first time I heard it.
This leads me to a larger point about how good this band are at pulling off tempo changes and turns of pace. I’m not just talking about a generic breakdown in the middle of every song like a lot of these types of bands do to death; every song hear shifts in feel several times in their runtime, and seeing as most of the songs are in the two to three minute range, it’s pretty impressive that these songs stay together with all of the change ups that happen within them.
But where this record really soars is in the voice of frontman Keith Buckley. Metalcore usually loses me with the super clean vocal sections, but this man knows not only when to utilize clean singing on a heavy record, but how to use them as well. Instead of going for the nasally, wafer thin vocals that usually ruin metalcore songs, Buckley opts for a more subdued, Josh Homme-esque style, and the record’s rock and roll leanings are much better for it. I think the best example of the varied vocal style is (in addition to probably being the best song on the record) “The Coin Has a Say”, a song that contains one of the best wham lines ever in “I can’t go back to what I was. Metallica without the drugs.” Buckley you clever bastard, you.
Ya’know, at this point in 2016, I’m really glad that we got a record like this. The heavier end of rock music has been lacking in my opinion this year, but this (and hopefully the upcoming Dillinger Escape Plan record) add some much needed charge to the scene. Here’s to a better final quarter.
-The Coin Has a Say
-Just As Real but Not As Brightly Lit
Released on September 23rd, 2016 by Epitaph Records.