Every Time I Die

Ex Lives

Written by: PP on 02/04/2012 16:06:56

Few bands come at you with as unrelenting intensity as Every Time I Die do on their sixth full length album "Ex Lives", which upholds the momentum created by its masterpiece predecessor "New Junk Aesthetic" . It's an uncompromising assault on all things melodic, an experience akin to your brain being forced through a wood chopper and cheese grater all at once; a face-melting piece of hardcore with hints of punk rock and metal lurking underneath the surface delivered with such a destructive coercion that a warning is in order: "Ex Lives" is absolutely not for the faint-hearted. Though given that the band has previously released a song called "Organ Grinder", that should be a given. If you were in doubt whether Every Time I Die deserve their crown as the kings of Southern hardcore / metalcore, this album is the undeniable proof that they do.

While "Ex Lives" in many places feels like "New Junk Aesthetic" version two, it brings in considerable and at times surprising influence from vocalist Keith Buckley's rock'n'roll adventure with his side project The Damned Things (feat Anthrax, Fall Out Boy members). Already the first track "Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space" has a catchy, clean-vocal driven chorus to supplement its ferocious hardcore base that draws the listener's thoughts towards that band. And later on, the band goes in full-on experimental mode on "Revival Mode" (featuring John Christ of Danzig fame), where the tempo is slowed down considerably to allow for mellow melody lines and faded out clean singing that brings to mind moments from Norma Jean's "Meridional" and almost Deftones' Chino Moreno's clean vocal croons. It creates an interesting contrast between the crackling and fiery hardcore bark of Buckley, which often sounds so distorted that you're afraid of causing damage to your speakers, and the more melodic side to the band which we are hearing for the first time on an Every Time I Die record. Yes, they have had catchy and borderline melodic parts in the past as well, but not to the same extent as the sequences on especially the second half of "Ex Lives". The album closer, "Indian Giver", is but another example of the band breaking down their hardcore barrier to allow for a smoothed, unusual lingering melody line to be included that, frankly, sounds nothing like Every Time I Die. Or at least the version you're used to from past albums.

In other words, "Ex Lives" is an album where we see Every Time I Die evolve their expression ever-so-slightly. The discordant southern hardcore that's delivered with the intensity of a precision guided missile is still the dominant part of the album, but there are now more melodic ideas to lure in the unsuspecting public and to ensure that the band takes the next step in their career. "Ex Lives" landed #20 on the charts, their highest ever reach, so there are already indications that this could be the big breakout album of ETID, if they needed one in the first place. That being said, one has to look at "Ex Lives" in comparison with its predecessor and admit in the end that even though the songs offered on this album are of excellent quality, the songs that carried "New Junk Aesthetic", such as "Wanderlust", "Roman Holiday", "Organ Grinder", "For The Record" were simply better songs in comparison. Basically, that ranks "Ex Lives" as number two of their discography to date.


Download: Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space, Typical Miracle, Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow,
For the fans of: Cancer Bats, Norma Jean, The Chariot, The Damned Things
Listen: Purevolume

Release date 06.03.2012

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