Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Review: Every Time I Die - Ex Lives

 You can make your own thoughts on this but along with a few other groups, Buffalo's Every Time I Die have the devastating sound that in this modern era of rock and metal is most representative of the living, breathing face of hardcore. They've proven themselves to be a band with a raw, harsh and brutal performance of wicked punk rushes,and also a band that is unafraid to carry a sense of humour around with them while still preaching a serious message within their music. Truly, the spirit of hardcore dwells within them.
 And one thing that hardcore music is all about is pushing boundaries and on their sixth release Ex Lives, the most personal piece of work from the group that does just that. Reading recent interviews with frontman Keith Buckley reveals a sense of fear and worry from the thirty-two year old vocalist regarding the fact that he is getting older, now that he's entered his thirties. And so, it's this fear of ageing and desire from the band to recapture their youth by recording this album in a style similar to 2003's juggernaut Hot Damn! by recording songs in one take and not allowing any kind of technical mastering get in the way. As well as recapturing their youth, this style was also adopted to show that the group could still play in a style that is truly representative of hardcore youth when at an age when many would consider staring a family and moving to the suburbs and grow to hate everyone around them, or something.
 And so, this desire from ETID to prove they still have fire in their bellies is pulled off with immense ease and astonishment as the album proves itself an intense rush of hardcore punk at it's most brutal and most aggressive. Listeners will be pleased to find the quintet playing in a way as in-your-face as possible as the unrelenting riffs of Jordan Buckley and Andrew Williams are played with buzzsaw-like speed and distorted frenzy in a style that sees them get completely in your face with fists and claws attached. Tracks like Holy Book of Dilemma and I Suck (Blood) also reveals the extent of their skill as they fill the songs with variation in time-switch signatures and play melodies with extreme complexity.
 Of course, there's always room for some sense of class in hardcore and the lyrical mastery of Keith Buckley nails this on the head throughout Ex Lives. This album sees his attention focused more on talking of things in a manner that is bleak and hopeless, as religion is constantly targeted ("Thanks Lord, but I don't need any more poor advice") as well as the decision between being out on thee road suffering or being stuck at home with a family, suffering ("I'm bored as hell in Sodom and Eden is just another dry country") as well as many other topics that come with turning thirty, regarding booze, conforming to be part of society and problems with women. And when these messages are delivered with his rough scorching screams the realism and harsh nature of these lyrics are only heightened.
 So, while the ultimate attitude left when listening to the album is one of insecurity and fear of ageing, it's clear that Ex Lives is a hardcore victory, showing your never too old to simply lose it. Every Time I Die pack a serious punch across these tracks to all listening, with a performance more viscous, more intimidating and more biting than ever. In the world of modern hardcore, Every Time I Die have always been purest, but this takes things to a new level. Ex Lives is hardcore at it's most raw, earthly and real sounding.

Every Time I Die's Ex Lives is out now via Epitaph. The band will perform at the Slam Dunk Festival at the Leeds University Union and University of Hertfordshire Forum from 26th-27th May.

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