Every Time I Die
05 March 2012
by Raziq Rauf
It’s a tough question, isn’t it? “Who’s your favourite band?” It’s tough because you listen to a different band depending on how you’re feeling. Well, I’ve listened to this album over 100 times. That’s not some throwaway, hyperbolic platitude you’re reading. I’ve listened to this album over a hundred times. I feel confident in saying that Every Time I Die are one of my favourite bands. But why?
They’ve never released a bad album. Even I’ve doubted them in the past. I’ve tried, anyway. When Gutter Phenomenon was released and Keith Buckley had openly admitted to taking singing lessons, there were a few murmurs that he’d sold out or whatever bollocks and I wondered if it was true. It became my favourite ETID album. Until Ex Lives came along.
I’ve already written about shitty platitudes and how they’re not welcome here once and of all those shitty platitudes that bands dole out on the advent of their new release, my favourite has to be:
“This is the heaviest album we’ve ever written… but also the most melodic.”
99 per cent of the time, it’s utter bollocks, but when Every Time I Die say this, you believe it. The first song we heard off Ex Lives was ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ and it certainly was heavier than anything they’d written for a while. There’s something about the ferocity of Keith Buckley’s vocals… there’s a desperation. And then there are the crunching riffs, the death metal tinkling on the bell cymbal and then the buzzing malice gives way to big, syrupy vocals. Then it slows down to fuck and you have no option to throw a claw and get in the mosh. If there’s no mosh, you fucking make one – even if it’s just in your head. It’s what ETID make you do.
Balance is clearly the name of the game with ETID, though, and the juxtaposition of ‘I Suck (Blood)’ and ‘Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow’ is the perfect example of how they made it an art form. Going from the tumultuous, searching punk sounds of ‘I Suck (Blood)’ to the totally unexpected and slightly unsettling sound of a banjo certainly keeps you alert. With Keith Buckley exercising his ever-strengthening singing voice in ‘Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow’ coupled with screamed sacred harmonies, it’s a song that is as intelligently-structured as it is emotionally charged. It’s all about balance.
Watch the video to ‘Revival Mode’ by Every Time I Die:
If we’re talking about outstanding songs, however, we have to talk about the next single, ‘Revival Mode’ and closing track, ‘Indian Giver’.
The former is the song which holds the lyric that gives the album title and is a mid-tempo, almost purely clean vocalled track that has as much soul as it does regret. The only heavy thing about ‘Revival Mode’ is the feel. There’s a tinkling piano throughout that gives an almost vaudeville vibe at times and a widdling guitar solo towards the end that gives a definition to Buckley’s yearning lyrics.
‘Indian Giver’ bursts out into a furious tirade before settling down into some of the most gloriously mournful moments this band has ever written. The ethereal refrains that pepper this song will be your lasting impressions of Ex Lives, and such is the beauty of the harmonies – something you don’t expect to be associated with a hardcore band – you won’t be able to wait to hear another 32 minutes of this album.
So that’s why I like Every Time I Die. I like honesty. I like progression. I like familiarity. I like ingenuity. I like style. I like aggression. I like songs. Every Time I Die provide every last one of these things and that’s why I like Ex Lives. Listen to this album a hundred times. It’s worth a couple of days of your life.