File Under: Hardcore, Punk, Glam, Stadium Rock
Look, I’d heard the name Every Time I Die before. I knew they fell somewhere in the punk/hardcore sphere. Not gonna lie. I’ve been to stores. I’ve visited Epitaph Records’ site before. I frequent PunkNews practically by the hour. But. I’d never heard ’em. Never, not even once. Get off my back. Sheesh.
I anticipated some pretty shitty Hawthorne Heights meets Slayer bullshit, but honestly that’s only about 10% of ETID, at least on Low Teens, their newest album. If there’s one (but really two) word(s) to encapsulate this album, it’s mood swings. You get everything. You get. Everything. But is it for everyone? Fuck no. The predominating sound by far is hardcore. The screaming is immediately going to turn off a lot of people. It took me years to stand listening to scream bands (not to be confused with screamo bands), but when you hear something done well you gotta recognize. And I’ve heard it done better, but this ain’t half bad.
In fact, it’s only the more classic rock, grandiose stadium moments of the album that make me cringe. Starting most notably with “Two Summers,” lyric “I ain’t your crystal ball,” my ears took note of Low Teens ability to lure in a more mainstream audience. It’s a bland, out of place passionless shit song blanketed between two real bangers. It’s the first of the album’s overstayed change-ups, whereas before the spastic tempo and style changes felt like brief 10-second day dreams, well placed glimpses of a subconscious in the bigger picture. But if there’s one song that vomits arena rock everywhere, that award goes to “It Remembers,” a track whose verses felt promising at first until that goddamn “Burn Slow” chorus. Goddamn that chorus. It’s like Finch and Chevelle were back and leaving fliers on your windshield daily to remind you that they’re never truly going away.
I don’t want to get bogged down in the nauseating negatives though, because I really do enjoy Low Teens, and I’ll gladly endure the bullshit to get graced with the jams. I mean, have you heard that change-up about a minute into “Glitches“?! That’s some good shit. It might not break away from that change, but its introduction is so well executed I can’t help but smile. Fast-forward to “Awful Lot,” which goes on an unrelenting tear almost immediately, and while the song barely changes things up until the end, the rebel yell of “BARBARIANS” more than makes up for its shortcomings. Thankfully, the hardcore pummels through even harder into “I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway.” A particularly strong song for ETID, the band sounds refreshed and more impressively in sync than any of the preceding tracks, before slowing things down for the aforementioned shitstorm that is “It Remembers.”
Thankfully “Petal” wipes away the glitter and gets back to the gold. The formula stays pretty true to form for the rest of the album, with brief moments of mainstream glam (actually done enjoyably on the incredible “Religion of Speed” and “Map Change“) followed by a few glorious crashes of chaos (with the occasional bore like “Just As Real But Not As Brightly Lit“), but it bears repeating how absolute killer “Map Change” is, especially as the album’s closer. It’s truly one of those closing tracks that is so good it propels the urge to start the album over again immediately. If that’s not the mission of every album closer it should be.
Highlights Include: see above
Going on a blind date with Low Teens: