Sound — 7
In the constantly colliding worlds of emo and hardcore, the overwhelming number of acts has been forcing even established bands to change in order to stay on top. My Chemical Romance launched a rock opera with "The Black Parade," and even Avenged Sevenfold is promising a "different sound, something no one expects" on their upcoming LP. Given this atmosphere, it may come as a surprise that Every Time I Die chose not to deviate from their established sound with "The Big Dirty." But why should they, when what they have works so well? ETID's dueling guitars are as dirty as the album's title suggests, grinding and chugging throughout. There are plenty of memorable riffs and some nice harmonizing, as showcased in the fourth track, We'rewolf. Stylistic flairs aren't at the expense of the classic ETID breakdowns, though, so longtime fans shouldn't have anything to be disappointed about. In short, the sound is ETID through and through.
Lyrics — 8
It's somewhat of a shame that vocalist Keith Buckley's delivery often makes it hard to discern a lot of his lyrics, because they're creative, entertaining and even insightful at times. As far as the content, it generally tends toward ETID's usual fare- women, partying, rocking, and kicking ass. The lyrics are a perfect accompaniment to the guitars, and the combination could get even a tranquilized elephant up and moving. Buckley peppers his usual memorable one-liners throughout, wailing "Til death do we rock/We're so full of shit" on Depressionista; "We drank ourselves under the covers" on Inrihab; "You know I'm no good at court-ordered goodbyes" on Pigs is Pigs; "I gave the world one hell of a tummy ache" on We'rewolf; "a pox on your house of cards" on Rebel Without Applause. In addition to the content, the lyrics are delivered as only Buckley can, alternating easily between screaming, speaking and chanting. No new tricks in this department, but no complaints either. Astute Alexisonfire fans will also welcome Dallas Green's guest vocals on Inrihab.
Overall Impression — 8
"The Big Dirty" doesn't offer much in the way of surprises, but it is by no means a disappointment. The songs are cohesive and the album flows effortlessly. Most of the songs chug along at similar tempos, so a little variation would have been a welcome change. However, slowing down seems to run against ETID's philosophy of nonstop rock. There's nothing wrong with this, as it is what they do best. The album is refreshingly devoid of poor songs, and favorites would be hard to discern. "The Big Dirty" is consistently solid, though Rebel Without Applause, We'rewolf, and the hilarious story of No Son of Mine do stand out among the pack. With the exception of Rendez-Voodoo, most of the songs have a similar sound, and they often walk a fine line between flowing well and running together. The album's major shortcoming, though, is it's length. Twelve tracks are packed into a mere 36 minutes, but this isn't much of a deviation from other ETID albums. The only advantage to it's (lack of) length is that it makes the album an amusing unit of measurement; the round trip to my recent doctor's appointment was almost exactly 2 Big Dirties. By contrast, Google Maps estimates my upcoming road trip to North Carolina to be about 11.5 Big Dirties. Yikes. "The Big Dirty" is the logical continuation of ETID's career; distinct enough to exist on it's own, but recognizable as their work. The band doesn't force unnecessary experimentation and the music sounds very natural and organic for it's style. ETID keeps it refreshingly gimmick-free and packs "The Big Dirty" with what their fans will undoubtedly want to hear. It seems the band is simply here to rock and roll, and "The Big Dirty" definitely rocks.