Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Review : Every Time I Die : New Junk Aesthetic

When I hear about a band “maturing” their sound, I sometimes get a little apprehensive. Because, if you think about a band that you truly adore, that you’ve been with since the beginning, maturation usually equals a change in sound, a change in what they are sonically. and you recoil. At least, those are the mental gymnastics that can cause such unwarranted dismissal. (And I won’t lie, my first encounter with them came a few months before The Big Dirty destroyed, with the more guttural, raw Gutter Phenomenon. I still have a relentless attachment to that album).

But sometimes, bands need to grow, need to mature, need to take the ragged, rough edges of what makes them who they are and sand them down a bit. The inherent shape stays the same, but the form is more in focus.

When a band like Every Time I Die decides it’s time to do that, be prepared. For their fifth full-length, and first on new label Epitaph, ETID has crafted a workshop in honestly brutal post hardcore. Working in enough of what made their older material so captivating, New Junk Aesthetic takes what ETID is and brings it in to sharp relief. From straight up bone crushers like “Organ Grinder” and “White Smoke,” to the brooding, walking through a swamp heaviness of “Roman Holiday,” to the circle pit inducing “After One Quarter of a Revolution” and “Buffalo 666,“ New Junk Aesthetic announces, in no uncertain terms, that ETID is Patrick Swayze (RIP) in Roadhouse - they’ve come to lay you out, and rip out your throat if necessary.

A friend of mine described the album like this: “… exactly what Jason Vorhees hears in his head all day every day. It fucks your soul inside and out and I mean that in the best way possible.” And really, that about nails it…

Driving around today, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the tragedy that seems to have taken control of Keith Buckley - the passion and… disappointment evident in his revealing, cathartic delivery. It’s always enlightening, and a bit frightening, to see the world through the eyes and pen of someone so intelligent, literate, and cynical. That’s not to say that the instruments in any way take a back seat. Quite the opposite. Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams absolutely slay babies. Want proof, check out “Organ Grinder.” The Southern sludgery is all over the album, reminiscent of what they brought to their last album, The Big Dirty. For fans of their earlier, more raucous work, check out “Host Disorder” and “The Marvelous Slut.“ I’d be doing the band a great injustice by not mentioning bassist Josh Newton and the agile thickness he brought to the proceedings, as well as the solid drum work performed by drummer Mike “Ratboy” Novak, who recently left the band.

This one sets the bar way, way high, and is going to be a tough one for a majority of the bands doing something similar to compete against. Top to bottom, this is a band and an album devoted to kicking your ass and not really giving a fuck about your name.

New Junk Aesthetic is out now - pick up the deluxe version for further proof of their badassery.

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Contributing Editor: Jared Bowers
I'm into indie, rock, experimental, hardcore and post-hardcore.
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