EVERY TIME I DIE- ‘From Parts Unknown’
Every Time I Die’s last album was… intense. Ok, so the boys from Buffalo aren’t exactly known for taking things easy but ‘Ex Lives’ was tense and dense and in desperate need of someone telling the band to take a deep breath every once in a while. It broke exciting new ground with a couple of grungy numbers but was otherwise stocked with numbing ragers.
The good news. ‘From Parts Unknown’ is much better. Here there is fire and fury but also precision and poise. ‘The Great Secret’ is a heavy and direct opener that marries machinegun drums and Keith Buckley’s typically vicious vocals to searing, spidery, but most importantly, memorable, riffing. It does not feel like a coincidence that this album is produced by erstwhile Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou- not only a man well versed in making heavy music sound great, but one brave enough to tell a group writing their seventh album to, well, write it better. And considering how much the gang vocals on ‘Pelican of the Desert’ and some of the lead guitars throughout sound like Converge, he might as well have written some bits of it himself.
The bad news. There is still some jarring, light speed turmoil here that struggles to make an impact. ‘If There Is Room to Move…’ is a mess of knotty riffs in which there is no room at all, and ‘Thirst’ is 90 seconds of noise. I would have rather had that time allotted to further indulging the special, dusty melodies of ‘Old Light’.
However, any sense that the band might be stuck in a rut is swiftly disintegrated by the best bits here. ‘Decayin’ with the Boys’ is an essential punk rock rollercoaster, ‘El Dorado’ is a yowling, howling blast, and the slowly unfurling ‘Moor’ the best thing here by miles. ‘From Parts Unknown’ is also built to encourage repeat listens and reveal new secrets with every spin. There are haunting vocal hooks, ominous fogs of static, songs as catchy as they are complex, and, for a record that starts with the words “blow your fucking brains out”, even a rare dose of hopeful lyricism. New life.