Since the video for lead single ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ came out, the hype around the new Every Time I Die album has been huge. Now ‘Ex Lives’ is with us, and every single ounce of that hype has been completely justified. Around 14 years into their career, ETID just seem to get better and better.
They’ve mastered filthy southern rock on the Big Dirty, catchy yet heavy hardcore with ‘Gutter Phenomenon’, sheer pace and heaviness on ‘Hot Damn!’ and gigantic hulking riffs with ‘New Junk Aesthetic’. All of these albums are brilliant in their own right and wonderfully, ‘Ex Lives’ takes the best of all of them, puts them into a mixing pot and creates one hell of a strong listen. ETID certainley haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel, they’ve just soaked it in whiskey and added a hell of a lot of riffs.
‘Ex Lives’ kicks off with ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’. Keith Buckley‘s desperate scream of “I want to be dead with my friends” sets the tone from the very first second, and the breakneck riff and fist pumping breakdown that follow simply scratch the surface on ‘Ex Lives’.
The pace of the album is definitely akin to that of ‘Hot Damn!’, everything moves along at a breakneck speed which is in no small part down to the addition of Ryan ‘Legs’ Leger on drums. His drumming drives every single song along with a much needed pace and ferocity, there are technical fills dropped all over the place and the addition of double kick just adds to the heaviness of the riffs. In keeping with past album comparisons, the guitar work definitely owes a lot to the southern leanings of ‘The Big Dirty’. Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley throw riff after riff out, almost as if it’s a competiton. What’s so outstanding about them is that there are still massive hooks that get lodged firmly in your head. The heaviness in no way makes sacrifices for catchiness; almost a trademark of ETID.
Every single song has the ability to be picked as a stand-out track, but ‘Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow’ puts its hand up to be considered as one of the best songs the band have ever written. From the banjo intro to the layered riff in the verses right until the stop-start riff with double kick powering away underneath, it shows how good ETID are at writing complex songs yet making it sound effortless.
Keith Buckley often gets touted for his singing ability, and rightfully so. He shows off a whole range of vocal talents on this album, coupled with his brilliant lyric writing make him one of the best frontmen in heavy music at this moment in time. Lyrically there’s a lot of reference to drinking and ‘the road’, influenced in part by Buckley‘s time singing with The Damned Things. The remorseful refrain of “What does he have that I don’t? / What does he have that I don’t, except you?” at the end of ‘Drag King’ is a window into the soul of Buckley and shows how he can write a simple vocal hook that will be stuck in your head for days.
Listening to ‘Ex Lives’ five or ten times won’t do this album any justice. Every listen uncovers another gem, as with all ETID albums, it is the longevity of the music that will prove to be the stand-out factor here. ‘Ex Lives’ will still sound as fresh and powerful in five years time. Another stellar album from the band who simply don’t miss.
Written by Josh Peett