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Music Review: Every Time I Die – New Junk Aesthetic

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Take the more violent genres of punk rock and cram them into a southern rock n’ roll blender. You’ll have something like our Buffalo, New York native hard rockers, Every Time I Die. Metalcore? They're often described as such, but what does that even mean? Every Time I Die is the kind of name that can easily be mistaken for a cheesy death metal group. I never looked into what their name really meant and I hadn’t realized it until now. ETID has always been about having fun and never taking themselves too seriously. The name embodies their tongue-in-cheek humor. It’s a funny twist on an otherwise stone-faced, metalhead façade.

ETID’s albums have been consistent, evolving only where needed while staying faithful to themselves and their fan base. New Junk Aesthetic is a combination of 2005’s Gutter Phenomenon and 2007’s The Big Dirty and an ever so slight step up from each. Gutter Phenomenon suffered a bit from a weak mix as ETID didn’t sport solid production until The Big Dirty. The trend carries over, more finely tuned, into New Junk Aesthetic, boosting their white-knuckle hard rock sound with excellent production value.

“Roman Holiday” opens the album with some tastefully nasty guitar noise. It's a rather unique opening for ETID, as they typically barge through the gates guns a' blazin’ with high energy, full throttle metal n' roll. The song instead unleashes an epic, ground stomping sound, as if ETID is saying, "Where does an 800 pound gorilla sit? Anywhere we want to." Keith Buckley’s words punctuate the purpose of their grand entrance and pronounce their unabashed intentions for New Junk Aesthetic:

Ring this, bring this, bring this
I want the righteous roots
I want the fresh meat
I want the first born
I want the dead beat

The moment their second track ignites, I remembered exactly why people love ETID. “The Marvelous Slut” will tell you exactly who ETID is and why, delivering what they've always done best: bring the energy of a rock n' roll attitude from the aggressive depths of a younger metal world. The tradition continues in “Who Invited the Russian Soldier,” breaking their riffs down into half time for that infectious head-bobbing that ETID is consistently most guilty of.

The first video released for New Junk Aesthetic was for the song “Wanderlust.” While this one is certainly the most radio friendly of the bunch, it is still one of the outstanding tracks on the album. Very tight songwriting in a more radio friendly key helps showcase everything about why Keith Buckley is the perfect front man for their sound.

“For the Record” smashes in the next door immediately after "Wanderlust." No lead- in. No warm-up. The whole band kicks off simultaneously into the trademark ETID style then drops a bomb of a breakdown hearkening back to 2001's Last Night in Town days where ETID firmly established their neck-breaking sound as a formidable crowd pleaser.

The next track, “White Smoke,” is tight and varied before feeding us a glimpse of Keith Buckley's unfortunately underused singing capabilities. The song closes with a chuggy drop that pounds you into the dirt. As if that wasn't a powerful enough closer, ETID adds insult to injury by slowing the riff down only slightly, prolonging notes and replacing dissonant highs with deeper chords as if jamming their boot into your throat, making sure you're not getting back up.

“Turtles All the Way Down” opens with a classic rock drum fill followed by full extravagant chords. Every few bars ETID moves to a quicker timing, punching the kick drum into every note for a sound that shoves you beat for beat further into the song as it jumps from time change to time change. “Turtles” feels like ETID copied and pasted all the good parts from songs left on the cutting room floor and strung them all together in a satisfying metal romp.

About Jesse G. Barnes