I’ve been incredibly busy lately and it’s been hard to keep up a steady writing pace, but i’m really excited about this weeks crop of albums because all four of them are absolutely fantastic. Hopefully soon things will get back to normal and I will be able to finish my thrash bracket this weekend. Stay tuned, and please check out these awesome albums mentioned in this post.
Meshuggah are a band who doesn’t leave room for alot of grey area, it seems. People either absolutely adore them, completely despise them, or (like everyone i’ve played them for) just don’t get it. With the release of their seventh album “Koloss”, they are faced with their biggest challenge to date; their last album “obZen” came out in 2008 and completely spawned it’s own genre, and I don’t need to tell you that when you release an album that creates an entirely new genre, it’s difficult to follow that up.
Musically, Koloss is just as technical and complicated as previous Meshuggah albums, but the thing that sets it apart the most for me, is it’s incredibly simplistic approach. I’m not saying that they toned down the robotic technical prowess they displayed on previous albums like “obZen”, and “Nothing”, and even “Chaosphere”, but I can definitely tell they have gone with a less robotic approach to their music. There are no songs on this album like “Bleed” that just pound through with the same riff being played over and over for sure. The album features a few different approaches, specifically when you hear a song like “Behind The Sun” which features a super heavy riff played at a much slower pace than these titanic swedes are used to, then they launch into a song like “The Hurt That Finds You First” which is one of the faster songs they’ve written in years. There are a couple of songs on the album that have the same type of vibe as “obZen” however, namely “Swarm” and “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance” which features an intro that reminds me of “Bleed” a little, but the album also throws back to “Chaosphere” a bit with songs like “The Hurt That Finds You First” which is insanely fast, but it also features a rogue snare drum which seems to chase you down a dark alley with a long machete in hand. In my opinion, the stand out track on this album is definitely “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion, which got it’s name from a poem about revenge. There are no words for me to describe the main riff of this song except maybe that it sounds like having your head smashed repeatedly by an aluminum trash can, but honestly, you have to listen to it with headphones on to even understand what I mean by that.
Overall, I have to applaud Meshuggah for looking back on their previous accomplishments and instead of resting on their laurels, deciding to move forward with one of their most forward-thinking albums yet. Admittedly, i’m a HUGE fan of Meshuggah, so i’m kind of biased with my review, but if you are somebody who can listen to Meshuggah and enjoy them and what they do, this album is definitely worth your time.
Here’s the deal, man, as much as I want to write a super long, descriptive review of the new Overkill album, it doesn’t really need to have that much said about it. Simply put, this album is an absolute beast of a thrash album.
There’s been a huge thrash resurgence in the last few years, but not just with the big four; bands like Exodus, Testament, Mortal Sin, and Forbidden have all put out great releases in recent years, yet somehow Overkill has managed to keep up with all of them, especially the latest album by Anthrax which kind of blew, and lacked many important elements of their classic sound. Though “Electric Age” is Overkill’s sixteenth album, it contains every single bit of fury they’ve had on the fifteen albums before it, if not moreso, in fact, they seem to be on a huge winning streak lately, because their last album “Ironbound” was also fantastic. As far as standout tracks on this album go, there’s not one particular song on here that’s better than the others, but my favorites are definitely “Old Wounds,New Scars”, “Black Daze”, and “Electric Rattlesnake”. Each song on the album stands up nicely in the Overkill discography because they all feature Bobby Blitz’s legendary barking vocal style and D.D. Verni’s signature style of thrash with alot of groove and a bonecrushing pace, but, like Megadeth, they are able to keep a razor sharp edge thanks to their lineup, which is rounded out by the hotshot guitar duo of Dave Linsk, and Derek Tailer on guitar, and Ron Lipnicki on drums
I didn’t know what to expect from this album because I figured Overkill had kind of reached their peak and couldn’t outdo themselves anymore…boy was I wrong. It’s always nice to hear a legendary thrash band able to put out legit, relevant music these days, and Overkill have done just that with their new album, in fact, I can guarantee you this album will be on my top albums of the year list because it’s a bonecrusher from beginning to end and I just can’t get enough of it.
Black Breath are a band that’s been active in the underground metal scene for a few years now and they made a pretty big name for themselves with the release of their 2010 debut album “Heavy Breathing” on Southern Lord Records. Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with “Heavy Breathing”, but I decided to give their new album “Sentenced To Life” a chance despite it’s cheesy album cover, and i’m incredibly glad I did.
The thing about this album is that Black Breath play a very heavy style of hardcore/punk in the vein of Converge, but they play with the same type of pedal made famous by bands like Entombed and Dismember, so what would normally sound like a rip off of Converge, or The Hope Conspiracy ends up sounding like Dismember if they had an album produced by Kurt Ballou. The attack on this album is very straight forward, and the album isn’t very long, but something about that Entombed guitar sound just really gives me a huge boner for this album. The best song on this album, and the main reason I love it, is the track “Sentenced To Life” which has that Entombed guitar sound, but it’s got a fury you might find on a hardcore album and the “chorus” makes me pump my fist every time. My other favorite track on this album is “Home Of The Grave” which is more of a death metal oriented song, but it’s still got that Converge/Trap Them type fury and that killer guitar tone.
Overall this album has a million awesome riffs on it, and each one of them would normally not impress me, but the tone that their guitars have is really the difference between it being meh and completely amazing. I know it sounds weird to only love an album because of the guitar tone, specifically when it’s a direct ripoff of other bands, but the way they creatively used that tone to play violent, angry, hardcore music really makes this album one of my favorites of the year.
When word got out that Angel Witch was going to have Bill Steer of Napalm Death and Carcass joining Kevin Heybourne on guitar, I got incredibly excited that a new album would be coming out. Two years later, thanks to Metal Blade Records, Angel Witch’s fourth studio album “As Above, So Below” has arrived and it is an absolute marvel considering this band should have been dead 30 years ago.
If you’ve ever heard Angel Witch’s 1980 self titled album, or if you at least played the game “Brutal Legend”, then you should be singing “you’re an angel witch, YOURRREEE AN ANGEL WITCH!” right now, because it’s one of the catchiest songs ever written. Though Angel Witch are a legendary NWOBHM band, one thing that’s ever present on this album that’s different from their contemporaries is the fact that the music absolutely rules, in fact, it’s 100% relevant which is something Raven and Saxon can’t say for themselves these days. The album has alot of familiar elements of Angel Witch’s classic 1980′s sound, but it has been updated thanks to technology, and it’s taken on kind of a strange doomy sounding guitar tone despite the upbeat boogie of the riffs on the album. One of the best tracks on this album is the upbeat “Gebura” which reminds me alot of “Atlantis”, other stand out tracks on the album are the doomy “Dead Sea Scrolls” and “Into The Dark” which features some incredibly groovy guitar work and very infectious vocal melodies. Despite adding the legendary Bill Steer to the lineup for this record, all of the praise for this album has to go to the band’s founder, and only original member Kevin Heybourne, whose determination to make Angel Witch relevant again has paid major dividends, and his epic vocal style and fantastic guitar playing make this album an absolute monster.
The second round has began and there are some great matchups. After a couple of upsets in the first round, do you think there will be any in the 2nd round? Please leave comments with your predictions and opinions and get ready for a real rager!
Round 2, Match 9
Slayer – Reign In Blood
Exodus – Bonded By Blood
This matchup between these two bay area thrash titans is the first of the second round and it’s a barnburner to say the least. Slayer enters the second round after completely dominating Corrosion Of Conformity, while Exodus also took it to S.O.D. quite handily. These two bands have a ton of similarities in that both of them have incredibly violent lyrics, both play incredibly fast, punchy thrash, and both of these albums are legendary thrash metal hall of famers. When trying to decide which of these albums I enjoy more, I have to look at which one has better songs and a better atmosphere. Exodus’ songs are all at least four minutes, and they all feature guitar solo’s and lyrics that tell actual stories. Slayer only has 3 or 4 songs that go over 3 minutes and they fit together perfectly and their lyrical theme is much darker than that of Exodus. It’s very hard to pick a winner between these two, but the thing is, even though Exodus has incredible songs like “Bonded By Blood”, “And Then There Were None”, and “A Lesson In Violence”, only one of those songs can hold a candle to songs like “Raining Blood”, and “Angel Of Death”. Slayer is the victor in this matchup, even though it was very close, in fact, at one point Gary Holt forgot what team he was on and put up a few points for Slayer.
Final Score: Slayer: 100 – Exodus: 92
Round 2, Match 10
Anthrax – Among The Living
Overkill – The Years Of Decay
This second round contest between Anthrax and Overkill features two bands from New York who have taken very similar paths. Anthrax barely escaped German titans Kreator and Overkill upset Sepultura in a double overtime thriller. Other than being from New York, and barely escaping awesome foreign bands in the second round, there aren’t many more similarities between the two. Anthrax’s game is more fast paced and influenced by New York hardcore, where as Overkill are more about groove and a New York bad attitude with a gigantic doomy opus in the middle of the album for good measure. Despite their differences in attack, both of these bands match up pretty well on paper, particularly when you pair up their best songs, which are “I Am The Law” and “Caught In A Mosh” by Anthrax, and “Time To Kill” and “Elimination” by Overkill. Both bands feature speed and groove, but when it comes to deciding a winner of this matchup, Overkill just have a more balanced attack. The matchup is very close, but somehow Overkill have turned into Cinderella and pulled off another upset.
Final Score: Overkill: 97 – Anthrax: 93
With the NCAA tournament’s 1st round finished and full of exciting upsets, the March Thrash Madness tournament also seems to be heating up. There is only one day left of first round matchups and then the real fun begins. With the tournament one day away from the Elite Eight, please leave a comment stating who your Final Four picks are from the remaining candidates.
Round 1, Match 5
Megadeth – Rust In Peace
Nuclear Assault – Game Over
In this matchup between Megadeth and Nuclear Assault, both of these bands are pretty evenly matched on paper. Megadeth plays a pretty straightforward thrash attack with occasional progressive flourishes and an absurd amount of soloing, and Nuclear Assault play very straightforward thrash with occasional flashes of punk and hardcore, with a break for ice cream in the middle. Both bands feature incredibly talented bassists and guitarist/vocalists with Megadeth featuring Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson, and Nuclear Assault having John Connelly and Danny Lilker. When you get past the matchups on paper between these two, however, the comparisons get a little thin. Nuclear Assault’s first album “Game Over” wasn’t as commercially successful as “Survive” and “Handle With Care” which were both on the billboard charts, but with songs like “Brain Death”, “Betrayal”, and “Stranded In Hell”, this album is definitely their best in my opinion. Megadeth’s entry into this tournament could have also been albums like “Peace Sells”, or “Countdown To Extinction”, but honestly, “Rust In Peace” is my favorite Megadeth album and it’s an absolute landmark for the genre, not to mention, it has my favorite album cover of all time. When trying to decide the winner of this matchup, all it took was hearing songs from “Rust In Peace” like “5 Magics”, “Take No Prisoners”, and “Tornado Of Souls” to determine which one would immerge victorious. Even though Nuclear Assault scored plenty of points with a fantastic effort, Megadeth are just on another level altogether and, unlike the Duke Blue Devils,they pulled this one off quite easily.
Final Score: Megadeth: 140 – Nuclear Assault: 99
Round 1, Match 6
Testament – The New Order
Suicidal Tendencies – Lights…Camera…Revolution!
This is by far, one of the best matchups of the first round in my opinion, as it features two of the first thrash albums I ever fell in love with that weren’t by a band that rhymes with shmushmallica. Both of these albums are absolute bruisers, but the best part about this pairing is that, like yesterdays matchups, both of these bands have two distinctly different and awesome styles. L,C,R! is Suicidal Tendencies’ fourth album and, unlike their previous albums, it’s predominantly a thrash album through and through, and not as hardcore punk influenced. L,C,R! also features the classic Suicidal lineup featuring Rob Trujillo(currently in Metallica though you can’t tell), Mike Muir, and Rocky George. Suicidal aren’t the only one in this with a lineup full of thrash legends however, Testament has their fair share of legends on “The New Order” with Chuck Billy and legendary guitarists Alex Skolnick, and Eric Peterson. “The New Order” saw Testament quickly rise towards the top of the bay area thrash bands, and it features some of their greatest songs, notably “Disciples Of The Watch”, “Trial By Fire”, and “Into the Pit”. Suicidal’s best songs on L,C,R! include the legendary “You Can’t Bring Me Down”, as well as “Send Me Your Money”, and “Get Whacked”(giggity). If you were to compare the two albums to actual baskeball teams, Suicidal would be the fast, flashy team that thrives on scoring in transition, while Testament are more methodic, and focus more on scoring in the paint and gobbling up rebounds and blocking shots. When trying to decide a winner between these two, it was pretty much impossible, however, the decision was pretty much made for me, due to Mike Muir headbutting a ref in the third overtime with a tied score, and the game being handed to Testament by forfeit.
Final Score: Testament: 115 – Suicidal Tendencies: 115(forfeited)
Today begins the second half of the first round of the tournament, it also features two more matchups in my march madness thrash bracket. Today’s matchups are two absolute doozies, in fact, both feature bands with completely different styles of thrash. Be sure and leave comments with either predictions, or opinions on which albums you would have picked in these matchups.
Round 1, Match 3:
Anthrax – Among The Living
Kreator – Pleasure To Kill
Anthrax taking on Kreator in this tournament is a very interesting matchup due to their differing styles, in fact, alot of these matchups feature two different styles. Anthrax are from New York, and their album “Among The Living” is a masterpiece, and features a style of thrash that leans more towards hardcore music, but wouldn’t necessarily be classified as crossover. Kreator are from Germany, and they play a style of thrash that is fast, raw, and incredibly violent. These bands both have different approaches to thrash, and both are fantastic in their own way. Anthrax features catchy hooks, campy lyrics, and insane groove, specifically on songs like “Indians” and “Caught In A Mosh”. Kreator tend to favor a more violent style of thrash that marches in, rips off your arms, beats you to death with them, chops you up with an axe, and leaves you by a dumpster, particularly on songs like “Pleasure To Kill” and “Under The Guillotine”. This is a difficult match to choose a winner from, but because it’s based solely on which one I enjoy more..Anthrax are the winner, but it’s a very close victory, alot of this is attributed to the song “I Am The Law” which is one of my all time favorites.
Final Score: Anthrax: 98 – Kreator: 96
Round 1, Match 4:
Voivod – Killing Technology
Dark Angel – Darkness Descends
Honestly, I really wish I didn’t have to choose between two bands I love as much as Voivod and Dark Angel, but they made it to the tournament, so they must duel. As I stated in the review above, there are alot of matchups in this tourney with two different styles of thrash, this one is like pitting a sci-fi movie against an old school zombie movie. Voivod’s third album “Killing Technology” is one of the more unique thrash albums you’ll ever hear due to Piggy’s incredibly odd guitar tone/playing style, and the fact that they are one of the first thrash bands to ever incorporate a more progressive sound to their attack. Dark Angel are worlds different from Voivod for a few reasons, the first being that they aren’t from Canada, and the second being that Voivod didn’t have Gene Hoglan on drums. Dark Angel are known for a more straightforward style of thrash that includes millions of riffs played at hyperactive speeds, and one of the greatest drummers to ever get behind a kit. My favorite songs on “Darkness Descends” are “Death Is Certain (Life Is Not)” and “Merciless Death” which both feature amazing lyrics and fantastic vocal hooks by singer Don Doty. While listening to Dark Angel gives off the vibe that you are being hunted by angry, bloodthirsty, killing machines, Voivod feature a sound that’s more reminiscent to the scene in “Spaceballs” where everyone is trying to escape the soon-to-be-exploding ship, and complete chaos ensues. My favorite songs on this album are: “Killing Technology”, “Tornado”, and “Ravenous Medicine”. The winner of this match was not easy, but in the end, after one round of overtime, and an earful of Piggy’s revolutionary guitar tone, Voivod pull off the victory by an incredibly slim margin.
Final Score: Voivod: 105 – Dark Angel: 104 (OT)
Today begins the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but it’s also the start of my March Thrash Madness tournament. The final scores are kind of a representation of exactly how much I liked one album over the other. Without further ado, let’s get to the action!
Round 1, Match 1:
Slayer – Reign In Blood
Corrosion Of Conformity – Animosity
Though Corrosion Of Conformity have taken on a more southern rock/sludge sound over the last decade or two…in the 80′s they made their name as a thrash/crossover band, and a very good one at that. Animosity is arguably the band’s best album, and it’s an absolutely essential thrash record, however, in this matchup against an album that’s considered to be one of the best ever made, the comparison is a bit unfair. To judge the winner of this matchup, I chose to give C.O.C. an advantage by listening to Animosity two times in a row, however, once I turned on Reign In Blood and the intro to “Angel Of Death” hit with Tom Araya’s soul-piercing screaming roaring like a lion, it was clear cut who the winner was. Animosity features some classic thrash songs like “Mad World” but when compared against songs like “Raining Blood”, “Angel Of Death”,and “Piece By Piece”, there’s just no competition. This matchup is similar to the Kentucky/Western Kentucky game going on tonight, meaning that…no matter how good, or talented, or hardworking the underdog is, once the mighty ones step on the court, the game is over.
Final Score: Slayer: 130 – Corrosion Of Conformity: 75
Round 1, Match 2:
Sepultura – Arise
Overkill – The Years Of Decay
Sepultura enter the tournament with their fourth studio album “Arise”, an album that is easily one of the heaviest albums ever recorded. When you listen to “Arise” it’s clear why this album is the higher seed in this match, due to tracks like: “Arise”, “Desperate Cry”, “Subtraction”, and their outstanding cover of Motorhead’s “Orgasmatron”. Overkill’s entry into the tourney is also their fourth album, it also sees them as an underdog, which is a role they seem to be pretty good at playing, considering how underrated they are. Trying to choose which of these albums I like the most is an incredibly difficult, mind-numbing task, similar to choosing a favorite food or family member. While Sepultura feature a blistering thrash attack, and a primal fury, Overkill tend to favor a more playful, technical sound. “The Years Of Decay” saw Overkill reach their greatest heights of success by selling over four million copies, and their song “Elimination” landed heavy rotation on Headbangers Ball. My choice for winner in this matchup wasn’t an easy one, but thanks to Overkill’s infectious anthems like “I Hate”,“Time To Kill”, and “Who Tends The Fire”, and the fact that there isn’t one imperfect moment on the entire “Years Of Decay” album, they managed to pull off the victory in double overtime.
Final Score: Overkill: 103 – Sepultura: 99 (2OT)
There were quite a few albums that came out this week, but i’ve been busy and only got to write about two in particular, but they are both doozies for sure. I didn’t want to leave out the other releases this week so i included bite-sized reviews of them below. If the release schedules continue like I think they will, it’s going to get rather busy soon and I can’t wait!
Cannibal Corpse are one of those bands whose name and reputation are so iconic, that even people who wouldn’t know Obituary from Nickelback have heard of them. They are infamous for their incredibly violent song titles, manical lyrics, and some of the most technically proficient death metal ever crafted. You’d think that after having released 11 albums and sold millions of records, that these guys would just rest on their laurels, but instead they managed to release one of the best sounding metal albums of 2012 so far.
Torture is Cannibal Corpse’s twelfth full length, but it seems that they have been on an incredible hot streak ever since 2006′s “Kill”. Before 2006, Cannibal Corpse were looked at merely as a legendary death metal band whose name was used in jest by people who know nothing about metal, but it seems that once Rob Barrett joined the band again and they began recording with Erik Rutan of Hate Eternal/Morbid Angel at his studio in Florida, they evolved into an incredibly relevant,
devastatingly sharp, machine of death. The overall tone of this album is incredibly sick; I know that word is used alot to describe heavy music nowadays, but that’s the best way for me to describe their incredibly heavy, yet violently raw guitar sound that is heavier than 99% of the bands these days that call themselves death metal. Musically, the album features plenty of songs that fit perfectly in the Corpse discography like “Scourge Of Iron” which features a brutal groove, and plenty of fast parts that give it the classic CC sound. The album also has songs like “As Deep As The Knife Will Go” which a more standard headbanger, but it’s also got that signature groove. The thing that really seperates Cannibal Corpse from other death metal bands, in my opinion, is the fact that, even though they are incredibly fast and pummeling, you can tell that they are also incredibly proficient at their instruments, especially drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz whose frantic drumming gives each song an atmosphere that feels like you’re being chased down a dark alley by a butcher knife-wielding maniac with no pants on.
Simply put, the new Cannibal Corpse album sounds very similar to “Kill” and “Evisceration Plague”, but the tone and songwriting on this record are absolutely fantastic and help separate them from their competition once again. I think alot of the credit for the album’s sound will be going to Erik Rutan, but they also spent some time at Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas which has recorded artists such as: Hanson, Mudvayne, At The Drive-In, Tesla, and Explosions In The Sky…that would certainly explain the little extra “mmmbop” their sound has on this album. “Torture”, like their last album “Evisceration Plague”, has managed to bite, scratch, claw, and stab it’s way into major album of the year consideration and is certainly worth your time if you like death metal, and if you don’t like death metal, it’s still fun to play to aggravate your neighbors when they are loudly getting their freak on
Spawn Of Possession are a Swedish technical death metal monolith, and “Incurso” is their first album released by Relapse records, and their third in nine years. I’ve always had a soft spot for technical death metal bands like SoP, in fact, when I first heard their 2003 album “Cabinet” I was completely awestruck. Through the years they’ve gone though numerous member changes and, in fact, this is their first album in six years, but this album will finally gain them the attention they deserve.
Technical death metal is a genre that’s immensely over-populated by guitar geeks with too much time on their hands, but every once in a while a band comes along and washes the wannabes away in a tide of blood. With the release of their Relapse debut, Spawn Of Possession have a newly beefed up lineup, which includes Erlend Caspersen of Blood Red Throne, and Deeds Of Flesh on bass, and Christian Muenzner of Defeated Sanity, Necrophagist, and Obscura on lead guitar. The inclusion of these two technical monsters has solidified the lineup and this album is easily their strongest to date, featuring blisteringly fast, and incredibly proficient drumming from Henrik Schönstrom and a dizzying and neverending array of riffs from Muenzner, Caspersen, and founding member Jonas Bryssling on guitars. The thing that separates this album from their last album, apart from the incredible veteran musicians they acquired is the return of Dennis Rondum to vocals, his incredibly deep vocals are a lot more interesting than those of previous vocalist Jonas Renvaktar. The main reason I like this album so much is it’s ever-changing pace and atmosphere, which goes from blistering death metal riffs, to jazzy soloing, to a very creepy piano which comes in occasionally to give the album an unsettling “serial killer in the fog” kind of vibe. The album is full of break-neck riffing and incredibly shreddy solo’s but the songs that exemplify this the best are “Bodiless Sleeper”, and the very creepy-yet-brutal album closer “Apparition”.
It’s very hard for me to listen to technical death metal albums more than once, but something about this record just grabs me and forces itself to be heard numerous times, and the best part is you’ll always hear something new you hadn’t heard before. Alot of it’s standout moments are thanks to the incredibly vertiginous guitar work of Christian Muenzner and Jonas Bryssling and their ability to never ride a particular riff or rhythm for too long, and the overall teamwork of the band creates some genuinely creative, and enjoyable songs. If you are a fan of bands like Gorguts, Obscura, or Necrophagist, or if you just want just a generally brutal death metal record, this album is certainly worth your time.
This album is a fantastic mixture of stoner doom/sludge mixed with math rock. They remind me alot of Big Business, but they also mix in an influence that slightly reminds me of bands like Don Caballero. There is also a decidedly heavy Melvins influence on this album. This record is a very weird amalgamation of genre’s but it’s definitely worth checking out.
Okay, so i’m a big fan of black metal, and i’ve enjoyed Sigh’s music in the past, but i’m going to admit…I don’t really get this album. I mean, it’s got some interesting songs like “Transfiguration Of Fear” which have a very epic, semi-power metal vibe to them, but alot of the songs on here are more classical music than black metal. The vocals on this album are also very strange and the sound quality is horrid. I wouldn’t call this album horrible, or even bad, it’s just very weird and i don’t really get it.
I kind of anticipated this album to be a little more atmospheric, and actually have some unique things going on, but it kind of let me down. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s got some cool stuff on it, but for the most part it’s just a subpar black metal album. At times it reminds me of Agalloch’s “Marrow Of The Spirit”, only it’s riffs aren’t near as catchy and the production isn’t as good. My favorite part about this album, honestly, is the fact that the bass drum at times sounds like his pedals are hitting raw meat instead of a drum…it’s the most distracting drum sound i’ve ever heard.
The first week of March, like the last two months, has been incredibly slow for new releases, in fact, this weeks review of the new Every Time I Die album Ex Lives, is the only major heavy album to come out this week. Since ETID are one of my favorite bands, this review was incredibly fun to come up with, next week will be busy, however, with at least 4 big metal albums dropping. Also, if you’d like to submit any of your favorite ETID lyrics that I may have missed, please post them in a comment. D0n’t forget to check out my page on Facebook also.
Every Time I Die is a band i’ve always had a soft spot for. When I was in high school, a friend burned me two ETID albums “Hot Damn!” and “Last Night In Town” and my jaw dropped because i’d never heard music like it before at that point. Those two albums completely changed my attitude of what heavy music could sound like with their riffs that are a mixture of metalcore/hardcore/punk/southern rock, and Keith Buckley’s unmistakable howl and fantastically preposterous lyrics. Every year ETID has released an album since then has been reason to celebrate, granted, some of their recent output has been better than others, however, with the release of Ex Lives, their sixth studio album, and second for Epitaph, they have proved they are still the reigning champions of whatever genre you classify them under.
Honestly, you don’t need me to tell you how this record sounds if you’re an actual fan of the band; it has all the trappings of a great ETID album like clever song titles such as “Underwater Bimbo’s From Outer Space” and “Drag King”, it also features a heavy dose of their signature style of riffs played with a punk rock fury, and a southern guitar tone, and of course, there are also also a heavy dose of breakdowns once found so often on “Last Night” and “Hot Damn!”. Though the sound is familiar, Ex Lives isn’t without it’s unique elements like the intro to “Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow” which features duelling banjos/guitars and vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a Damned Things song, Keith’s time in The Damned Things also rears it’s head on “Revival Mode”, which also features a strange, bluesy riff and a unique atmosphere they’ve never explored before. All in all however, this album is very heavy, and it’s also very short, which gives it the feel of a more mature version of “Hot Damn!”.
Even though Ex Lives exhibits a more mature songwriting style than their last few albums, there is one element of their songwriting that’s been around since the beginning…Keith Buckley’s absurd lyrical style. Keith Buckley has uttered many gems in his career as frontman for ETID, and this album is no exception, specifically on “I Suck (Blood)” where he utters such phrases as: “i would rather be a jealous man, than an off-duty cop”, and “i’ll take what i can get, even if it’s restraining orders”. Those phrases, and his many other random quips on the album got me thinking about my favorite ETID quotes, so if you’ll allow me to go off the path for a minute, here are my ten favorite Keith Buckley quotes from the ETID discography.
1. hey there! girls! i’m a cunt!(Bored Stiff)
2. if you don’t…wake up…i’ll have to stop…kissing you! (Jimmy Tango’s Method)
3. this is a rock and roll takeover!(Ebolarama)
4. the greatest lovers were murderers first! (She’s My Rushmore)
5. The warrior with the deadliest weapon is the one without an instruction manual for his gun. (Hit Of The Search Party)
6. I know the strippers’ real name!(Kill The Music)
7. Here’s to cheap sex and codeine in a hospital bed. (Romeo A Go-Go)
8. fuck yeah, we’re gonna party tonight!(Guitared and Feathered)
9. you don’t live til you’re ready to die (We’rewolf)
10. just because you’re afraid of the dark, doesn’t mean it’s afraid of you (Organ Grinder)
Every Time I Die are still one of the funnest bands on the planet, and, as I said earlier, if you’re a fan of the band, you’ll love this record. Ex Lives is definitely not going to gain the band a whole lot of new fans, however, it does hearken back towards older albums like “Hot Damn!” more than the last few records. Even though there’s no songs as quotable as “Ebolarama”, they have clearly taken their older sound and given it a beard and a few shots of whiskey and turned it into a man.