Music Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: Every Time I Die – Radical

Photo Credit: Michael Watson

Every Time I Die have an influence that is undeniable. For more than two decades the group have forged their own path, tiptoeing the borders between hardcore and metal in a way that is completely unique to themselves. Sure, bands have tried since to recreate the Every Time I Die formula, but their sound is so unique that it only ever comes off as a cheap husk compared to the original. Whether you like them or not, you cannot run from the fact that your favourite hardcore band will have been influenced directly, or indirectly, by the Buffalo natives, and we’re willing to wager that at least one member of said band will be a fan.

Now, in 2021 the world looks entirely different to the way it did when the band started out. With eight previous full-length albums under the belts and a wealth of experience, you could forgive Every Time I Die for getting comfortable and resting on their laurels. Hell, two of the main songwriters in the band have children now and the other guitar player is a full-time professional wrestler with one of the biggest companies in the world today. Yet with their ninth studio album Radical, the band seem as focused as ever and are ready to fire on all cylinders once again.

From the very outset of the record the band pull no punches. Opening track Dark Distance is one of the heaviest songs that the group has released to date, with vocalist Keith Buckley sounding so full of piss and vinegar that you could very well believe that he wants to climb through the speakers and kick you around the room. The lyrics are as poignant and well thought out as ever, with the main hook reading “spare only the ones I love, slay the rest,” and the always impressive guitar riffs are as intricate and hard-hitting as we have come to expect.

The aggression with which the songs are delivered is a theme throughout the entirety of Radical. The raw energy that has always served the band so well has been perfectly captured by the incomparable Will Putney in the producer’s seat. The perfect example of this is Planet Shit, which has been floating around in the ETID setlist for around a year at this point. The track showcases the band’s penchant for creating crushingly heavy, inescapable groovy songs that are all tied together by the intricate, yet watertight, rhythm section of Stephen Micciche on bass and Clayton “Goose” Holyoak on drums, all captured perfectly with that trademark Putney mixing style, bringing the best sound out of the drums as you could expect.

The singles that the band had already dropped prior to the album, such as Colossal Wreck, Post-Boredom and AWOL, gave us a hint at just how good this album was set to be. However, with Every Time I Die it’s important to really dig into each release like a pig for truffles, in order to listen to everything with the same care and attention that you would to the ones selected for promotional purposes. The Whip is ETID at their most visceral. As a band that have defined a career by having the most chaotic, frantic live shows, this is the kind of song that will send crowd surfers over the rails in the hundred and circle pits the size of moon craters in any venue across the globe. Two and a half minutes of sonic warfare, with Keith Buckley leading the frontline with his signature ferocity and enthralling charisma, highlighting just why he is regarded one of the best frontmen in the game today.

When you hear that an album is sixteen songs and over fifty minutes in duration, it can often feel like it is going to be a bit of a slog. Yet ETID manage to keep your attention for the entire duration, with every single track feeling like another piece of the band’s renaissance of late, adding to the upwards trajectory that they have been following over their past few releases. By this point in the album, you know exactly what the game plan was: to rage as hard as possible and keep things feeling as fresh as possible and in that instance, it is very much a job done. However, the closing song on the album, We Go Together, is something worth sticking around for even on its own. The feel of the song is brooding and the atmosphere feels tense throughout, with Buckley crooning over the top of the noisy feedback and booming drums. The pace of the song doesn’t necessarily pick up at all, but the emotion and bile in the voice of Buckley takes you on a journey and as a result, creates one of the most intriguing songs on this entire album.

At this stage of their career, Every Time I Die has nothing to prove. They have outlasted all the trends that hardcore music has endured over the years and always risen to the top of the pack, doing their own thing in their own way time and time again.

Long may they reign.

9/10

Standout Tracks: Dark Distance, Planet Shit, We Go Together

For Fans Of: The Chariot, Norma Jean, Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster

Written by: Richard Webb 

Richard Webb
A Kentish lad at the wrong end of his twenties. I'm a journalist that loves anything grizzly and gruesome whether it's in music, film or art. My guitar and vinyl collections are amongst my prize possessions and my wardrobe is predominantly black.