In a recent interview with Loudwire magazine, Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley noted a change in his outlook since the band’s last record, Ex Lives:
It got to a point where it was so boring, being angry is f—ing boring. So I kind of turned it up a little bit and then we started writing From Parts Unknown and approached it with a different attitude. Now I like things again, having more fun again.
Fun was always a pretty important part of Every Time I Die’s sound, even when mixed with the viciousness of their sound and sometimes dark subject matter. As I noted in my 2012 review of the album, Ex Lives was a noticeably darker album. Gone were the rip-roaring romps of “We’rewolf” or the fist-pumping charge of “The Sweet Life,” in favor of the simple declaration: “I want to be dead with my friends!”
And while I wouldn’t necessarily call From Parts Unknown an ecstatic journey through candyland, there is a noticeable spring in the step of the boys from Buffalo. With their seventh full-length album, Every Time I Die gives the listener a few flavors from the band’s inventory, some more melodic and experimental, others maintaining the thread of abrasive metalcore they’ve faithfully pulled since Last Night in Town (Burial Plot Bidding War had some of it too, but their style was still a little muffled and undeveloped at that point).
Among the album’s highlights are “Decayin’ With the Boys” which feels like such a perfect summer anthem, it might as well be called “The New Black: Part 2.” There’s the ominous, creepy, piano-laden “Moor” and what I would call the album’s sweet spot at the end. With the “Old Light”, Keith teams up with Brian Fallon from Gaslight Anthem to sing out some deliciously catchy melodies reminiscent of classic Husker Du and Descendents and…well, Gaslight Anthem! “El Dorado” has another serving of catchiness, so much so it’s almost annoying, in a way where you just have to keep listening. And then there is “Idiot,” the album’s thunderous closer. I know this album is supposed to be brighter than Ex Lives, but I can’t help but feel a little bit of that darkness creeping up on me with the lyrics that close the record:
All I want is for everyone to go to hell
It’s the last place I was seen before I lost myself
All I want is for everyone to come to hell
There we can be free and learn to love ourselves
As for the rest of the album’s 12 tracks, much of it consists of what I would call “blender tracks.” In other words, if you were take five typical Every Time I Die songs and put them into a blender, you’d end up with songs like “Pelican Of The Desert” and “Exometrium.” Now I normally mean this in a perjorative sense, as I did with the last In Flames album (and am afraid the new one will be much of the same), but this time it’s actually not a bad thing. After all, the stuff they put in the blender is pretty sweet! That and the consistency might be due in part from the producer, who’s own band (Converge) has made plenty of great “blender tracks” of their own.
Overall however, I would say From Parts Unknown is a more memorable and enjoyable improvement over Ex Lives and one that should surely remind us…when the urgency strikes you….you’d better not lose your nerve!
Favorite Songs: “The Great Secret”, “Decayin’ With the Boys”, “Old Light”, “El Dorado”, “Idiot”
When he's not infuriating people with his album reviews, Drew Zalucky is busy writing for his political website, For the Sake of Argument