A wild damn time that is worth the tinnitus.
Every Time I Die is typically labeled as a metalcore act. While that has always been abundantly clear, assigning one compound word to their music is a total disservice to the band. Their southern grit-rock vibes get left out of the equation. The stoner-sludge is tossed by the wayside. The burliness of their song-craft goes unaccounted for. While there is nothing wrong at all with metalcore, Every Time I Die is much more than that, has always been much more than that and have returned for an eighth go-round with Low Teens to prove it. While the intent of the record wasn’t to take great leaps and bounds with their sound, it certainly is a record that captures Every Time I Die’s career-long aesthetic. Play loud, talk nasty and make sure to scare off the folks who can’t take it.
There’s not much that will surprise on Low Teens. If anything, the album acts as a sort of reminder that Every Time I Die has a sound that is culled from a dozen influences and that they’re the only band that can pull it off without seeming ridiculous. In fact, the ridiculousness of their music along with their complete grasp on self-awareness is what makes their over-the-top sound work so well. Over the years they’ve been no nonsense about being all nonsense and that alone makes them more relevant than most of their contemporaries who pose with scowls and muscled, crossed arms and sleeves of tattoos. If nothing else, Low Teens is more or less a tribute to the band from the band as they traverse the entirety of their back catalogue and capture it on one record.
Frontman Keith Buckley runs the vocal gamut once again on Low Teens to fit each tune appropriately. “Awful Lot,” for instance, reacquaints listeners with his guttural rage that falls nicely instep with the tune’s brutal musical violence. To match the grunginess of “C++ (Love Will Get You Killed)” Buckley follows suit with his by dispensing with that all out nastiness that he’s come to be so known for. “It Remembers,” believe it or not, features Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie to add some of those infectious melodies to the proceedings. And, incredibly, the track works terrifically. The point is, Every Time I Die touches on everything they’ve done before and tweaks it just a bit to create a diverse, gnarly, but not overly “new” album. Considering the band’s spent most of their career combining genres like a bartender mixes drinks, there comes an inevitable point in which there’s not much further to go in terms of pushing boundaries. Unlike most “metalcore” bands on their eighth album, however, Low Teens isn’t tired or overdone. It’s simply an Every Time I Die record, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
There aren’t enough ways to describe Every Time I Die’s creativity. It’s insanely diverse, incredibly well-rendered and, with its roots in heavy, brutal music, it’s anything but unoriginal. Low Teens is the next chapter in Every Time I Die’s career. It’s not career-defining, or totally brilliant, but it is exactly what you should come to expect from the band: a wild damn time that is worth the tinnitus.