Sound — 8
Forming right near the end of the 20th century, Every Time I Die took their first step into the metalcore scene when things were at, in hindsight, a chaotic renaissance. With the prevalence of metallic hardcore crossover advocates like Earth Crisis and Hatebreed, as well as Converge, who would be a primary fertilizer for the budding plant of mathcore, ETID were able to draw inspiration from several places, and by their second album, the well-received "Hot Damn!," ETID would nab themselves a spot on the lineup for the iconic Ozzfest in 2004. After that milestone, ETID would continue a steady stream of releases - combining the raw and unrefined energy of hardcore with rigid mathcore sections, as well as a few dashes of southern rock from time to time - and would be on a consistent rise in the scene throughout the first decade of the 21st century. ETID have released their last two albums, "New Junk Aesthetic" and "Ex Lives," under Brett Gurewitz's highly-esteemed label, Epitaph Records, and have now released their seventh studio album with Epitaph, titled "From Parts Unknown."
A lot of bases are covered throughout the album, almost acting like the anthology of the several penchants ETID have when composing their metalcore; but of course, this is all brand new stuff. The album is primarily embedded in the ever-shifting and frenetic hardcore havoc, with songs like "The Great Secret," "Pelican of the Desert," "If There Is Room to Move, Things Move," "Thirst," and the oh-so-appropriately-titled "All Structures Are Unstable" with continuously contorting measurements that move you by their own accord, whipping you around like a rag doll. "Exometrium" is where EITD shows off their top-notch mathcore chops, with twisting guitar riffs that boast equal parts intelligence and insanity, and "Decayin' With the Boys" and "El Dorado" is where ETID turns on the southern swagger - but while the rough & tumble guitar riffs and clean vocals make for a nice breather from the metalcore mayhem, the prolonged outro riffing in "El Dorado" drags on for a while and feels more than necessary. With "Moor" ETID pulls a strange but captivating "black sheep" track from their sleeve, which bears a "Jekyll and Hyde"-esque format - tenuously keeping itself contained with a grumbling piano line and frontman Keith Buckley's seemingly innocuous vocals, but soon changes into a loud and unhinged metalcore counterpart, then going back to the subdued first part again, oblivious to its own outburst. And with the closing song, "Idiot," ETID pack in everything that's to like about their music; from meaty guitar licks and tricky technical riffage, to shredding tremolo, exceptional guitar layering and grade-A breakdowns.
Lyrics — 7
Nothing's being substantially changed in ETID's lyrical department, and for the seventh time around, one can take it or leave it. On one hand, several of angsty phrases Buckley shouts throughout the album can feel pretty boilerplate to someone that has listened to earlier ETID albums, and there are other cases where statements may seem poignant at face value, but while his delivery is strong, the logic behind them is flimsy (such as "All I want is for everyone to go to hell/it's the last place I was seen before I lost myself/All I want is for everyone to come to hell/there we can be free and learn to love ourselves" in "Idiot"). On the other hand, Buckley's lyrics may not be the most sophisticated, but he knows exactly what to angrily spit into the microphone in order to complement the aural adrenaline of the instruments, and in terms of visceral resonance, his lyrics accomplish what they're meant to do with flying colors. Buckley touts the most theatrics in "Moor," where, along with the progression in his vocal parts, he simmers with unease in his emotions and his expressing of them, letting the pressure build, which soon comes to a boil and then erupts into a scalding fit of frustrated screams. He also musters up some reputable substance in "Decayin' With the Boys," which deals with not feeling good enough for salvation and preferring it that way, which, whether intended or not, may be a tongue-in-cheek response to the big subset of Christian metalcore bands out there.
Overall Impression — 9
With each album, ETID show utmost adamancy for their take on metalcore, continuing to travel down the less-beaten path they've been traveling on for the past decade without relenting to the peer pressure of the mainstream-friendly style of metalcore that numerous old-schoolers point the blame at for ruining the Vans Warped Tour franchise and the metalcore scene in general. "From Parts Unknown," while utilizing the fusion of styles that ETID fans are well-acquainted with and love, is a testament of how intricate and frenetic metalcore songs used to be before the djent-style became the overwhelming majority - ETID's inspiration came from parts that seem nearly unknown to the current metalcore generation. If ETID's songs are too fast and winding for you, too bad; either keep up or get left behind. "From Parts Unknown" is like a wild bronco - unpredictable, constantly bucking, and not concerned with your comfort. That's ETID's adamancy in top form.