Review: Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown

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This shouldn’t be happening. This is the point in a band’s career where things should be tailing off, the edge should be dulling, the fire should be dwindling. This is the time where we begin saying our goodbyes and living off the nostalgia. Right?

Now 16 years into their career, and seven albums deep, hardcore heavyweights Every Time I Die may have just released the most frantic, punishing, explosive album of their career.

From Parts Unknown is certainly the most rabid and angry release from the band since 2003’s Hot Damn!, which is truly saying something. Whereas their last outing, Ex Lives, was an experimental look at the band’s potential future path, From Parts Unknown is a shockingly explosive return to the dark, dirty, filthy rock and roll that put Every Time I Die at the top of the heavy music pack.

Over half of the songs on the new album clock in at around or under two and a half minutes, creating an urgency not found in most bands ten years their junior. Opener “The Great Secret” bursts down the door with its thrashing guitars, while “Pelican of the Desert” transitions to a hardcore punk/post-hardcore hybrid akin to Underoath in their heyday.

They’ve always been one of the best duos in the scene, but guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams push themselves further than ever on this new release. Relief comes in the form of sludgy passages on tracks like “Moor”, before the break-neck pace is restored on songs like “If There is Room to Move, Things Move”. This isn’t shredding for shredding’s sake – this is an artful display of technical talent, conveying every measure with purpose, even if it causes your head to spin.

Likewise, vocalist Keith Buckley turns in a performance for the ages. Long considered one of the best screamers around, Buckley’s work on From Parts Unknown is downright legendary. It would be easy to believe that many of his vocals were completed in one take – it can’t be easy churning up this kind of emotion for hours on end.

Buckley’s screams and shouts seem to come from a place of deep pain and anger, and as goofy as Every Time I Die tends to be in their live performance and on-camera demeanor, his lyrics sound the opposite – full of despair and frustration.

From his repeated opening cries of “Blow your fucking brains out” to his chilling lines of “And girl, you know I want to tie up a rope and crack my crooked spine” on “Decayin With the Boys” and “All I want is for everyone to go to hell / It’s the last place I was seen before I lost myself” on album closer “Idiot”, it’s clear that this isn’t the faux-angry metalcore angst that plagues much of the genre.

Like Architects’ stellar release Lost Forever // Lost Together earlier this year, From Parts Unknown digs to that uncomfortable, sometimes scary nerve with its blunt dose of painful reality. That blend of unstable emotion and a knack for crafting otherworldly crushing tracks to convey it makes for a toxic brew – one that’s much needed in a genre thirsty for something authentic.

Every Time I Die seem to defy logic. Not only has the band yet to release a forgettable album, they’ve continued to push themselves and their peers with every move they make. No one would fault the band if they began to fade away – everyone does eventually, no matter how great. If From Parts Unknown is any indication, Every Time I Die have no intention of releasing their iron grip on the scene any time soon.

4.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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