Sixteen years in the game is a long time for anyone, whether it’s sports, business, or in this case, music. And yet Buffalo, NY’s Every Time I Die found a way to completely ignore that amount of time with their seventh record From Parts Unknown, creating a sonic assault that is naturally coarse and unique when held up to the standards of the six that came before it. This is no Hot Damn! or New Junk Aesthetic, but rather a statement of their imperishable consistency to blast your ears with their brand of hardcore destruction – as well as another twelve songs of proof that they will never record the same album twice.
With the opening track “ The Great Secret”, the listener is offered a very brief twelve-second window to reestablish their connections with the band, or create them for the first time, before the continuously powerful line “Blow your fucking brains out” puts itself on repeat long enough to leave a mark on your eardrums. From there the record takes off on a joyride, creating new staples in the band’s sound and reinventing what has been done in the past. Fans can recognize the second-track devastation “Pelican of the Desert” immediately, as it is the evolution of tracks such as “Holy Book of Dilemma” and “The Marvelous Slut”. This leads into the second single “Decayin’ With the Boys”, which is a summer party-filled anthem in the vein of “The New Black”, as well as a perfect song for Warped Tour.
The climax of the record lies with its sixth track, “Moor”, which combines the rich lyrical capacity of Keith Buckley as well as the band’s desire for change with this record. An unsettling piano chord that seems ripped from Edgar Allan Poe’s personal soundtrack combines with Buckley’s haunting vocal melody to create the first half of a recollection and subsequent vendetta, followed by a startling yell for redemption. The piano offers a glimpse towards the inevitable breakdown, where the always impressive guitar work from Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams replicate the chord as Keith Buckley screams his soul out, a moment that stands out throughout the record and the band’s entire discography.
Not skipping a beat, the record continues on with the infectious “Exometrium” and the shortest, yet fastest track “Thirst”, both with their sights set on not letting up on the chaos of From Parts Unknown’s earlier tracks as well as showcasing drummer Ryan Leger’s domination behind the kit. Then “Old Light” comes in, a track that pulls back on the typical Every Time I Die sound in exchange for their take on punk. It is strengthened by the guest vocals of The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, who creates an amazing vocal melody with Buckley during the chorus.
The record wraps up with the simply titled, but devastating “Idiot”, which finds Buckley and the boys on their home stretch with no plans of calling it in until the very end. It is the soundtrack to a mosh pit, with the chugging guitars and blasting drums acting as punches meant to bruise and bloody as Buckley ends everything with “All I want is for everyone to go to hell/It’s the last place I was seen before I lost myself/All I want is for everyone to come to hell/There we can be free and learn to love ourselves” a lyrical feat that acts as the hardcore punk equivalent to dropping the mic.
From the aforementioned twelve-second window of calm in the opening track to the mic drop at the bitter end, From Parts Unknown is everything that we knew about Every Time I Die on a much grander scale. Each member and their strengths are turned up to eleven, and the end result is a record that is complete from beginning to end. It builds up everything only to burn it down and piss on the ashes, with unabashed bedlam and one-two punches such as “Overstayer” and “If There’s Room to Move, Things Move”, or the mainstreamed hardcore “El Dorado”. Everything makes sense and works perfectly, a statement that accurately describes the career of the hardcore Buffalo boys.