Anticipation for punk/metal crossover act Every Time I Die's sixth LP has been gathering steam since the group released live videos of a track called “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” around October last year. Slated for the 5th of March, Ex Lives delves even darker into the heart of ETID’s sound. 2009’s gloomy New Junk Aesthetic saw the band take their patented southern metal ‘n roll into darker depths and darker subject material. Ex Lives takes that and dips it in a healthy doomy dip.
The record opens with "Underwater Bimbos", a fast paced explosion of a song in which Keith Buckley howls “I want to be dead with my friends”, kicking off one of the most ferocious albums you’ll hear this year. "Holy Book Of Dilemma" reverts to Hot Damn! levels of pacing and frenetic guitar work; the frontman’s schizophrenic rants playing second fiddle to guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley. "A Wild Shameless Pain" gives us our first truly doomy dose of Ex Lives as a thunderous guitar riff backs Buckley’s as-of-yet unrelenting assault. "Typical Miracle" tempts us into thinking we’re in for a more pop-orientated party rock track but as Buckley announces over frantic drum beats (courtesy of new sticksman Ryan Leger), “I need a new rock bottom.” ETID’s riffwork hits its stride fully on track three as dual leads thunder ahead; "I Suck (Blood)" is one of the most chaotic tracks on the record but not in the sense that it’s hard to keep track of it. Buckley swings from croon to crow between time signature changes and typical ETID sound.
"Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow" kicks off with a banjo, and the guitars join in. This is the most upbeat, beered up punk track on the record and rings of Buckley’s other project The Damned Things, but the sharp tones and frenetic drums are signs of a far more sinister tone. "The Low Road Has No Exits" is the most standardly ‘metal’ track on the record, with guitar sounds and double kick drumming to rival Lamb Of God. Buckley’s vocals take a spooky, clean effect behind the monstrous riffs for an uneasy melody. "Revival Mode", having just been accompanied by a video is the most melodic track on the record, with a classic-rock sounding tinge to the quintet’s signature sound. When all hell breaks loose, though, you best be prepared (check out the Fincher-esque video for this one.) "Drag King" is my personal highlight as an absolute stormer following the aftershocks of "Revival Mode", with pounding, screeching, grounding, howling and roaring being the only elements of this track. "Touch Yourself" rings a little of NJA’s “Turtles All The Way Down” with a hardcore twist. "Indian Giver" is an experimental track (to say the least) with a booming doom-rock laden riff behind gentle, psychedelic vocals.
All in all, the half hour of power Every Time I Die delivers with Ex Lives will not disappoint fans and will certainly not alienate fans of the genre. Perhaps it lacks the groovy party-hardcore elements of The Big Dirty, but it captures New Junk Aesthetic’s gloom while managing to revisit their earlier frantic math metal.