Back in the spring of 2005, System Of A Down released ‘Mesmerize’, and six months later ‘Hypnotize’ hit the shelves. The two LPs served as two halves of a double album; one that displayed their progression as artists, and solidified the band’s status as one of the best metal acts on the planet. Now, in 2016, Every Time I Die have done the same with ‘Low Teens’, a double album disguised as a single entity that proves once and for all that this New York, five-headed-wildebeest can do no wrong.
Tracks one through seven of ‘Low Teens’ take you on a brief history of Every Time I Die, where each album in their eclectic back-catalogue is paid homage to. ‘I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway’ is fuelled by the fury of the early 2000s captured on ‘Hot Damn’ and ‘Last Night In Town’, ‘Awful Lot’ adopts the mindset and musical prowess of ‘Gutter Phenomenon’, whereas ‘Two Summers’ boasts the delicious, whisky-soaked guitar licks of the impeccable ‘The Big Dirty’.
Think back to 2009’s ‘New Aesthetic Junk’, specifically the gorgeous album closer ‘The Sweet Life’ (featuring Matt Caughthran of The Bronx and how perfectly that track climaxed). Well, Every Time I Die have only gone and outdone themselves with ‘It Remembers’. Not only is it a blissful throwback to that record, but in keeping with their style, it also features Brendon Urie (of Panic! At the Disco), whose voice compliments the track like rich BBQ sauce over a succulent rack of ribs.
While ‘It Remembers’ features a flawless crescendo ending that would often serve as a closer, it’s oddly situated half way through the album. This is simply because Side A/Disc 1 has ended. No more strolls down memory lane, kids. It’s time for some new shit.
Like how 2014’s ‘From Parts Unknown’ opened with the merciless ‘The Great Secret’, so does the second half of ‘Low Teens’ with the brutal ‘Petal’, that grabs you by the throat and forces you to headbang. Continuing the return-to-their-roots vibe, you’ll be blown away by the ferocity and venom of the likes of ‘The Coin Has A Say’ and ‘Just As Real But Not As Brightly Lit’.
In true Every Time I Die style though, there are some curveballs thrown in too. The second half, holds more subdued, contemplative numbers that flex the musical muscles of the band. The vocals are cleaner and more melodic, and while there’s less distortion on the guitars, the richness and complexity of the riffs and bars is tripled.
The only thing this album is lacking is the unforgettable, lyrical hook on the opening track. ‘Ex Lives’ had “I want to be dead with my friends”, and ‘From Parts Unknown’ has “Blow your fucking brains out”. While this is only a recent calling card of the band’s repertoire, it’s one that was notably missing from ‘Low Teens’, and this is the solitary, minor blight on an otherwise flawless record.
Every Time I Die have done it again with ‘Low Teens’. They have created a masterpiece that incorporates what the fans crave whilst exploring new territory, and not because they have to, but because they fucking want to. Hell, even at album number eight, Every Time I Die are full of surprises, keeping their fans guessing, and never ceasing to amaze. Boys, I salute you.
Written by Andy Roberts (@sassensquatch)