When my car’s iPod broke I grabbed a CD from the house to listen to until I got a replacement. That CD was Ex Lives, Every Time I Die’s 2012 album. That was five months ago. It is still on constant rotation with no new iPod in sight. That was until this week and the release of their new album Low Teens. I now have a new driving buddy and it is a thing of rare beauty.
Every Time I Die have been making their own unique form of metal for nearly 20 years now and with Low Teens, their 8th album, they show no sign of slowing down. Some call them hardcore, some call them mathcore, I don’t think either of these genre descriptions fit Every Time I Die. They are a band that only sounds like Every Time I Die. They fill a niche and they fill it perfectly.
They’re often talked about in the same breath as The Dillinger Escape Plan. They do share a love of odd time signatures and jarring stop-start riffs but they have a certain groove and almost pop nature that Dillinger don’t. They are to Dillinger what Pantera were to Slayer, they both originated from a common ancestor but deviated quite early in their evolutions to take quite different paths.
With Every Time I Die you get a self-awareness and grace that is not often found in this kind of music. There are no real verse and chorus structures, their songs are complex and multifaceted. In short they make beautiful chaos.
Keith Buckley consistently writes lyrics that put 99% of lyricists to shame. It should come as no surprise that he use to be an English teacher, he even paraphrases Macbeth in ‘Petal’. Always clever, emotive and occasionally cryptic. I’ve had to look up his references on numerous occasions. How many bands can you say that about, who is looking up Nickelback lyrics? Nobody, that’s who.
This is Buckley’s most personal album to date, it documents his struggles with depression and sobriety whilst never moving away from the poetic, clever word-plays we’ve come to love. I defy you not to sing along to “Barbarians” on ‘Awful Lot’ and you can’t ignore a song that pleads “acknowledge me you motherfuckers.” You would be hard pressed to ignore any of this album in fact.
‘The Coin Has a Say’ is the perfect choice for a single with its mega catchy vocals and great riffs. ‘Map Change’, which is this album’s ‘Indian Giver’ in my opinion, is my favourite ETID track of all time. It’s just perfect and you can’t help but sing along to it.
‘It Remembers’ is slow and beautiful. It conjures up sadness and helplessness in equal proportions. ‘Petal’ is jarring and melancholy with its “what haven’t I done? What have I done?” refrain. Recent studies have looked into why people occasionally favour sad music and this could be the answer they were looking for.
‘Religion of Speed’ sees a rare acoustic intro. The chorus is fantastic and the song is much longer than their usual fare. This is only a good thing when it’s this enjoyable. ‘Just as Real But Not as Brightly Lit’ has some of the best riffage and drumming on the album. It harkens back to classic Every Time I Die.
Every Every Time I Die album is better than the last and Low Teens is no exception. That says a lot about a band that play music this complex, they just keep building on what came before, unafraid to add new elements whenever they see fit. If Every Time I Die are not a band you’re familiar with then get on it now. They are truly unique, which in this world of cut and paste music is a breath of fresh air.
Grab Low Teens and see them on tour in the UK this December. Add some beautiful chaos to your life now. 5/5
Check out more latest music releases in our new album reviews section, including Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam’s I Had a Dream That You Were Mine.