Vans Warped Tour 2012: Every Time I Die Album Review


Every Time I Die Ex LivesEvery Time I Die
Ex Lives
Buffalo NY’s Every Time I Die will destroy your expectations come Saturday. Featured on this summer’s Warped Tour, the New York-based four piece (sometimes five piece) will undoubtedly stake their claim in your iTunes catalog. In an age where musicianship is programmed, and vocals digitized, ETID rely on nothing but their creativity. With their latest release, Ex Lives, out earlier this year, the band unearths 12 tracks (14 on the deluxe edition) ridden with their hybrid brand of raunchy southern hardcore metal.
Ex Lives is an album that breathes new life into the failing lungs of a genre. Not bad for a band that’s been around for more than a decade, huh? Over the years ETID has managed to avoid trends and create a signature sound rooted in hardcore, noisecore, and southern rock. With an impressive catalog behind them, Ex Lives seems to be the band’s opus, as it encapsulates their previous work only to move past it. Make no mistake; this is not a rehash, or old tricks polished new. No, this album shows a band that has come full circle.
With tracks “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space” and “Holy Book of Dilemma” opening the record, ETID veterans, or ‘ETIDiots’ as they’re called, will find themselves right at home. Ex Lives, however, does not hinge itself on familiarity. Instead the record uses it as a doorway in which it passes in and out of.  Tracks such as “Revival Mode” and “Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow” display more vocal melody, elaborate instrumentation (check the banjo), and diversity than any of the band’s previous releases. While many additions are present, none ever feel forced. Instead, the band seems to have evolved on their own terms. The result is a record that is both organic in tonality and feel.
As stated earlier, the ensnaring charm of ETID lies with the creativity of its members. Guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley create some of the heaviest and most melodic riffs of their careers. The two are a perfect pair that blends their stylings to create some of the most identifiable guitar playing in the genre. Frontman/vocalist Keith Buckley manages to sound more frantic and irreverent than ever; however, his clean vocals show how far he has come. Buckley also supplies some of his best lyrical work through his exploration of themes, nods to classic literature (John Keats and Fyodor Dostoyevsky), exploitative wordplay, and sarcastic narrative. Let’s not forget newcomer, Ryan “Legz” Leger. Making his debut with the band, Leger brings his own dynamic while managing to keep the pace of the record. Though double bass drum may be used a little too much (previous drummer Mike Novak used none), Leger is able to successfully integrate his style into each song.
Ex Lives is aggression incarnate. From the album art, which is a photo pulled straight from G8 Summit protests, to the instrumentation and lyrical content, Every Time I Die boldly state their disinterest and distaste for normalcy and domesticity.  This record is a testament to the band’s decade-plus career. More importantly Ex Lives shows that creativity and originality have not dried up, reshaping the genre by moving past it.
Every Time I Die plays Vans Warped Tour @ Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, 7.21.