In order for a band to create a truly effective album, they must first be able to analyze what has made them equally memorable and remarkable over the years. And for metalcore marvels Every Time I Die to take the long, hard look at the last 16 years of their adventurous music career is no easy feat. Since the late ’90s, the band spent countless hours looking under the microscope at their sound, dabbling in the subgenres of thrash (Hot Damn!), southern rock (The Big Dirty), mathcore (New Junk Aesthetic) and politically-fueled hardcore (Ex Lives), all while keeping the general spirit of their own style of metalcore in tact. However, considering how fast-paced the world of modern metal has become, what’s most impressive of all is how well the Buffalo quintet has adapted their sound to fit the unrelenting demands their genre has placed on them. Just one listen to the act’s seventh full-length album, however, and you’ll quickly realize that this ain’t your father’s metalcore.
From Parts Unknown (Epitaph Records) marks the beginning of a new era for Every Time I Die – a band whose track record remains untarnished, all based on their adoration of music, and their desire to push the boundaries of what they’re capable of in their genre. Under the always inventive direction of Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, Every Time I Die has officially evolved into the band they’ve been striving to become for quite sometime. From Parts Unknown combines all the customary elements one would come to expect from a band nearing the finish line to iconic status, yet still looks toward the next logical move to take the band in when considering the future. And what better way to do so than, as vocalist Keith Buckley stated in a recent interview, “Instead of making something that the kids can all sing along to…make music that scares them”. And scare they did.
“The Great Secret” starts the record off tremendously, firing off machine gun riffs from the great pair of Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams, precise bass work from Chad Micciche and a furious blast beat by drummer Ryan Leger. All of this times up perfectly to immerse the listener into the swirl of confusion and glorious chaos one comes to expect from an Every Time I Die record. The first half of From Parts Unknown follows suit, consistently exploring the disarray the band is capable of displaying. The band still manages to dependently surprise with the party-fueled “Decayin’ with the Boys,” as well as through the horrifyingly effective minimalism found in “Moor”, which doubles as the record’s best track. However, it’s in the album’s latter half that the band is able to show off a more prominent sense of diversity, making From Parts Unknown all the more accessible for newcomers. The Brian Fallone-assisted “Old Light” brings a much welcome, clean shift in vocals to spice up the variety, while tracks “El Dorado” and “Idiot” deliver some of the album’s most punishing lyrical blows (with terrific musical support behind them, might I add). The increasingly menacing shift of “Thirst” alone is enough to give you chills down your spine (“They don’t love you like I do / But I don’t know you like them / They don’t love you like I do / They love you better, I know you best”). Aside from a track or two that doesn’t hit home as hard as some of the album’s highlights (“Overstayer” doesn’t give the listener much to absorb, especially with only two minutes to spare), the album makes good on its promise of providing a petrifying listening experience both in and outside your local mosh pit.
When all is said and done, From Parts Unknown has more than enough gusto to keep the brand of Every Time I Die alive and well. Its ambition to not only extend beyond the sheer thrill of frightening listeners, but to also continue to give their music substance and dignity is why I feel their latest record helps solidify their status as one of the definitive acts of the genre. From Parts Unknown will scare the living shit out of you.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLkl9f1psOc]