Album Reviews / Music

Album Review: Every Time I Die – Ex Lives

Today, I got the chance to pick up Ex Lives the highly anticipated new album for metal leviathan, Every Time I Die. The Buffalo, NY based five piece is back with their sixth studio album. The new album is a rocking, roaring and raucous addition to their already stellar discography. It has elements of all of their previous works.  It has the increased sense of melody found on New Junk Aesthetic, the dirty southern metal sound of The Big Dirty, the catchy and memorable choruses of Gutter Phenomenon, the raw power and aggression of Hot Damn and the time changing, genre blending magic of Last Night in Town. This CD shows off the full spectrum of this band’s sound.

Not only is the music classic ETID but Keith Buckley’s clever lyricism is still beyond reproach. His way with words once again has me in wonder. There are so many lines that I can see having stuck in my head. Only in the mind of a former high school English teacher could you think to create metal songs that reference famed poet John Keats and classic Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I have never been so impressed by someone before because of that. He has my respect for finding the way to make that work.

The CD kicks off with the scream of vocalist, Keith Buckley “I WANT TO BE DEAD WITH MY FRIENDS” this cry and the following riff gives you an indication of where ETID are headed with this release. They intend to blow your socks off. This song, “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space”, rages and will remind you of their previous work on The Big Dirty or Hot Damn! The song chugs and surges from beginning to end.  This song seems to be talking about the realization of the fragility and instability of life. “Let boredom cease the beating of our purple hearts, against this, even gods fight violently in vain. What chance could we have stood?” The fact illuminated in this song is that death is inevitable and no one can stop it.

“Holy Book of Dilemma” is a punk and metal hybrid and its a sprint to the finish. “A Wild Shameless Plain” opens with Buckley’s screams over one signal guitar riff to open it what a fantastic way to start the song. It is a quick but powerful tune. Buckley works in the words of romantic poet John Keats here without missing a beat.

A really candid look at the Buckley’s life, “Typical Miracle”, starts off saying, “I need a new rock bottom”and then proceeds to detail how the rock star lifestyle was getting him nowhere. Party after party, bar after bar, it had lost its luster. In studio videos leading up to this album’s release Buckley talked about the bad headspace that he was in while writing this album. He definitely expresses it here.

The song, “I Suck (Blood)” displays some of Buckley’s clean vocals. The improvement in his vocals should be noted. He definitely does a good job carrying this tune. It is one of the signature southern metal influenced ones and reminds me a lot of the Big Dirty (my favorite album by them).  New drummer Ryan “Legs” Leger tears this album up but I especially like the rhythm he lays down on this song.  The song seems to be talking about how to approach life, “I’d rather beg you forgiveness, than solicit permission. I’d rather know that it broke your heart than doubt that it will.” Living life to the fullest no matter how he does it, “Did you think I could garner attention with tact? What do you take me for?”

“Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow” is such an awesome tune. A Banjo to start? Yep. I was like what? This song is neat because it has the beginning that sounds like the start of a southern rock song and picks up into more traditional ETID style. It also features the Dostoyevsky quote. Russian literature always wins! “The Low Road Has No Exits” has a breakneck pace until it diverts into a really weird spacy outro. It’s a really cool tune though.

Buckley has infused some of the influence of his time in The Damned Things into Every Time I Die and it is most relevant on the song, “Revival Mode”. This song sounds like one of their songs except for the screaming at the end that gives it that signature ETID sound. Buckley has experimented with his newly developed clean vocal style. This is another diary like track that really gives you insight into the hellish conditions he had to endure.

“Drag King” is furious and highly emotional, that is what makes it one of my favorite songs on the album. The sound is raucous, energetic and heavy at the start and, he screams “I have declared a war, I am the silence before the storm.” but by the time the bridge comes in, the emotion of the lyrical content takes over the song’s mood and it slowly fades away into the sound of the somber refrain “What does he have that I don’t, except you.” Most of my favorite songs are the ones where I can truly feel the intended emotion of the songs, musically and lyrically. This one is as clear as day.

The last two songs are good but don’t grab me as much as the rest of the album. “Touch Yourself’s” best feature is its clever lyrics but it does nothing to stand out. “Indian Giver” is a good closer and with its plodding place and doom metal like chorus perfectly segues into an ambient outro.

This album is a must have for old fans and new fans alike.

Purchase it on Itunes

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