There is no other way to say it, so we’ll just say it: How the fuck to Every Time I Die keep doing this? It’s been 15 years, 8 albums, line-up change after line-up change and still, ETID have just knocked us for six once again with their eighth instalment, Low Teens. It would seem that the phrase, “just give up” doesn’t apply to the Buffalo five-piece. No matter how many times life beats them down, buries them and leaves them for dead, ETID just keep clawing their way through the dirt, continuing to seek their revenge on the world.
Low Teens is a journey of sonic malevolence, which at its heart shows a vulnerable side to the quintet that is both unsettling and infectious. The sludgy grind of opening track, Fear And Trembling, is a vicious and lumbering little number that showcases a side we aren’t used to seeing from the metalcore outfit. Maybe it’s the introduction to Norma Jean stickman, Daniel Davidson, whose creative input is sublime and prevalent throughout the record. Replacing Ryan "Legs" Leger at the kit back in February 2015, Davidson’s presence is undeniable. The force, clarity and the expansive range the drummer brings to the table is a welcoming sight. He manages to be both chaotic and deliberate without deviating too far from the aesthetic ETID have built that fans have grown to love. It is only when second track Glitches kicks in, the full force of the record is immediately recognised as we prepare for a sonic bombardment that is sure to overload the senses.
Each track has its own unique voice, dipping from the thumping melodic stomp-o-rama, Two Summers, to the blistering insanity of I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway. This nightmare of brain washing conformity is only exasperated further by lead singer Keith Buckley wildly barking, “I’m joining a cult, joining a cult, joining a cult. Cut off my hair, clean out my head, fill me with song,” which leaves us breathless. There are darker points on the album, but none that hit the nail so close to head as this.
Is it the heaviest record the band have released? That’s up for debate. What is clear however is that ETID have gone far and beyond the call of duty to bring something different to the table. The familiar formula and personality are still present but in a more colorful format. Whatever is taken away from this record, it is by far the most unique sounding album in their repertoire. Religion Of Speed, It Remembers and album closer Map Change showcase a slower, tamer side that not only relieves your brain from being pulverized, but truly displaying the creative boundaries Buckley and co. are willing to push through for their craft.
In contrast to previous albums such as Ex-Lives, which propelled the band to hardcore royalty back in 2012, generally speaking, Low Teens is quite a digestible listen for those unfamiliar or new to the genre. It’s no walk in the park either, but to say that they might even be flirting with the idea of being somewhat commercial is not completely out of the question. Though that word brings a mighty dark cloud upon the world of the underground, fans shouldn’t get too worked up about it. With songs as strong as these, you won’t hear much complaining in any event.
Versatile, vicious and vigorous, without losing its pace or energy, Low Teens is nothing short of a gem in an already celebrated catalogue. Rest assured, the lords of metalcore have returned.
Low Teens was released yesterday via Epitaph!