Age is something that doesn't seem to have affected Every Time I Die as the band have spent more than a decade unleashing records that combine hellish technical hardcore with catchy southern rock. On some albums, the rock outweighs the hardcore ('The Big Dirty', 'New Junk Aesthetic') and some are more hardcore than rock ('Hot Damn!', 'Ex Lives'). 2012's 'Ex Lives' saw the band on excellent form being their most aggressive release to date, while still maintaining plenty of hooks and grooves to add a thrill to the brutality. 'From Parts Unknown' sees the band go even further into abrasive territory, but sacrificing some of their accessibility along the way.
'The Great Secret' introduces this album perfectly thanks to in-your-face technical fretwork and jilted riffs that makes you feel as if you're being slapped with bricks, while vocalist Keith Buckley barks madman lines like 'Blow your fu**ing brains out'. The song reflects the essence of much of the album; here's a band pushing themselves to be as punishing with their sound as they can be, leaving behind catchy choruses and the like in order to do so. 'Decaying With The Boys' injects some of the southern rock melody that can be expected with Every Time I Die as Buckley's vocals display sassy and cool characteristics and the guitars deliver some fun licks, which are still speedy and hard.
'Moor' throws a massive curveball as the first half of the song is just vocals and pianos. It's a little reminiscent of Queen, but more melancholy as Buckley murmurs lines like, 'I'll skin the man alive and sell the meat'. The second half of the song explodes into screaming and riffs, beating the rhythm into your head; certainly one of the highlights of the album. 'Thirst' has the strongest hook due to the low driving bass and pounding drums that accompanies, 'They don't love you, like I do, but I don't know you like them. They don't love you like I do, they love you better, I KNOW YOU BEST'. The lyrics sound ludicrous while still providing a relatable mind-set, showing there's bit of a nutter in all of us.
'Old Light' throws another surprise. Every Time I Die are known for having numerous guest spots on their albums, but this one with The Gaslight Anthem's Brain Fallon lending his bluesy croon amid rampant riffs is their most juxtaposing one yet and definitely one of their best. 'El Dorado' is easily the most rock 'n' roll the album gets with Buckley's vocals being more melodic, high octane guitars and a slide of piano keys somewhere in it. It's the closest thing to a weak track on the album, dragging on a little longer than it needs to. 'Idiot', however, has no such problem, being the craziest song on an album that feeds off the crazy, as each member sounds like they're having an instrumental paroxysm.
In a nutshell, 'From Parts Unknown' is Every Time I Die's most brutal record to date, even if it's not their best. 'Hot Damn!' and 'Ex Lives' aren't at all far behind in heaviness and are considerably more memorable. Also 'The Big Dirty' was more effective embracing their catchy rock side. However, like with all Every Time I Die albums, there's a thing or two about this one that sets it apart from the others and plenty to make you want to keep revisiting it, especially if you have a penchant for the noisy and chaotic.
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