Everytime I Die - New Junk Aesthetic
Epitaph Records
Good Metalcore
11 songs (31:53)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Tyler

Ahhh, metalcore. If my review of Bullet for My Valentine’s recent epic failure, Fever, hasn’t already tipped you off to my opinion of the genre, allow me to make myself clear; for me, the vast majority of metalcore has fallen from grace, becoming a self-repeating caricature of itself. Basically ten or so years after its inception, the genre has splintered into what I view as two sub-groups to this sub-genre of metal. You have your bands that lie on the “metal” side of things, and you have your “core” bands. The bands in the former group have, for the large part, ceased releasing the kind of high-caliber albums that made the genre popular at the turn of the century. BMFV continues to sound more commercial with every album, Trivium has completely abandoned its former metalcore sound, Killswitch Engage hasn’t released anything particularly exciting since the first half of As Daylight Dies, and bands such as All That Remains and Shadows Fall have yet to release anything particularly spectacular. On the “core” side, bands such as Underoath and Atreyu have become incredibly trendy and commercial, and sound more similar to pop-punk and emo bands than they do to metal bands. However, as in all genres, whether they are fresh and new or stagnant and repetitive, there are always exceptions. In the case of metalcore, some of the best bands are those who are frequently grouped into the genre, but on further inspection, defy such simple definition. Bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and Trivium frequently get stuck with the metalcore tag, but in my mind at least, both have developed very unique sounds that makes them stand well above the crowd. Last year, when I bought Everytime I Die’s newest album New Junk Aesthetic, I discovered another such band. If you are like me and think that metalcore (and maybe metal in general) needs a few bitch slaps from time to time, give this album a spin immediately.

For those of you wondering why I chose New Junk Aesthetic to introduce Everytime I Die to Metalreviews.com, the reason is that, apart from it being the bands newest album (its fifth full length), it is easily the bands heaviest and in many respects best album to date. Though I mentioned metalcore quite a bit in the opening paragraph, I think anyone expecting anything even close to the ordinary metalcore album will be pleasantly surprised; simply put, regardless of how people might label this band, Everytime I Die is a completely different beast. For starters, the vocals of frontman Keith Buckley are absolutely stellar. One of my least favorite parts about many metalcore singers is that their clean vocals sound one way, and their harsh vocals sound a completely different way. What I mean is that if you didn’t know better, it could very well be two completely different people (and sometimes is). With Mr. Buckley however, we have a unique case; his “clean” vocals are excellent, and his “harsh” vocals sound like some kind of deranged extension of his normal voice, as opposed to a completely different entity all together. Another very peculiar thing about the band is Buckley’s lyrics. They are honestly among the most intelligent, interesting, and plain witty lyrics that I have ever heard. I’m not even going to include a couple of lyrics into this review to prove my point, because honestly I couldn’t pick out any particular lyrics that stand out; every damn lyric is just so clever and cryptic, with a number of lyrics that seem to make allusions to things like literature and history. I really don’t know what the hell Keith is talking about the vast majority of the time, but I still find myself dissecting the lyrics in the album’s booklet or throwing out lyrical segments in conversation with my brother, another big ETID fan. Such involved writing is actually not all that surprising considering that at one time Mr. Buckley was an English teacher. Now how’s that for a cool teacher?

One of the aspects of most metalcore that I dislike is the guitars. Maybe I’m crazy, but it almost sounds to me as if every single metalcore band, particularly in the “metal” portion of the genre I mentioned earlier, has the exact same guitar tone, and writes riffs in the exact same way. This is definitely not the case with Everytime I Die. The riffs sound more like beefed up classic/southern rock riffs than the standard metalcore way of riffing. When I hear New Junk Aesthetic, bands like Thin Lizzy and Down come to mind much more than bands like Atreyu or As I Lay Dying . The band has a knack for using distortion in interesting ways, like in opener Roman Holiday, and songs likeWanderlust, The Sweet Life, and Turtles All The Way Down all feature riffs that are among the most fresh and energetic I’ve heard from a metal album in quite awhile.

I’m not going to beat around the bush; last year, this album sank its teeth into me, and I’ve been hooked since. Its was easily one of the most original and entertaining releases of ’09, and was one of my top five favorite albums of the year, easily. Every song has a certain energy to it, a freshness and intensity that keeps your blood racing through out. This album is particularly special for me because my brother and I picked it up together, more or less on a whim, and have since bonded quite a bit over listening to and relishing this wonderful album. Maybe this album won’t strike the same chord with others as it did with me, but as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t even that familiar with the band when I picked the album up, so maybe New Junk Aesthetic is one of those special albums that can reel just about anyone in after a few listens.

Killing Songs :
Honestly, all of them.
Tyler quoted 95 / 100
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