It’s safe to say that the run up to Low Teens was plagued by frustration and trauma in the trying times of Keith Buckley’s recent personal life. His wife suffered life-threatening complications with her pregnancy, causing the premature birth of his daughter. Thankfully, all is well now but the helplessness Buckley felt during these times permeates through Every Time I Die‘s latest album. It’s harrowing and chaotic to say the least.
Despite these tragic circumstances, it’s not stopped the Buffalo quintet from pulling out all the stops on their eighth full-length album. Almost two decades from where they began, it’s quite remarkable when you consider the resilience and consistency they’ve shown, though Low Teens is certainly more about expressing emotion than the quick-wittedness of its predecessor, From Parts Unknown.
‘Fear and Trembling’ begins with slow, raw, suspenseful guitar in preparation for Buckley’s inevitably chilling signature screams, bellowing the repeated poignant line; “Though it may haunt us and break out hearts, death cannot tear us apart”. Next up, we’re thrown straight into the firing line with ‘Glitches’ which is an example of ETID at their best; packed with relentless momentum with all the elements coming together in brutal harmony.
‘C++ (Love Will Get You Killed)’ perfects the formula, balancing clean and unclean vocals which are both equally vicious, snapping to the harsh groove of the main riff. ‘Two Summers’ also attempts to create melody alongside the twangy cleans, leading into a harsher cowbell complimented outro whilst ‘Awful Lot’ kicks in with what can only be compared to a musical equivalent of a swift punch to the face.
As well as having a pretty amusing title, ‘I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway’ has some of the most intense and impressive drum work on the album; you’ll find yourself barely able to keep up with the song itself. ‘It Remembers’ introduces a smoother, softened side to Buckley’s vocal work and then, out of bloody nowhere, in strolls Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco) to polish the song off with that unmistakable set of pipes.
Instrumentally, ‘Petal’ is pure frantic chaos. However, it is primarily emotionally testing, telling the tale of Buckley’s helplessness with his traumatic introduction into fatherhood; “If I have to walk alone I’m giving up, I can’t stay here knowing love is not enough. Untimely ripped into this world, I was born again as a girl”. It’s not hard to imagine how gut-wrenching this song must have been to not only write, but experience.
‘The Coin Has A Say’ is ETID at their frantic best, although ‘Religion Of Speed’ pushes it close with an interesting added twist of an acoustic introduction. However, if you love a breakdown you’re in for a treat.
‘Just as Real but Not as Brightly lit’ and ‘1977’, despite being the penultimate songs, show no signs of slowing down, with ‘1977’ in particular showing off Daniel Davison’s erratic talent behind the kit. Lastly, ‘Map Change’ builds an urgent crescendo and groove, fading out to make a suitable and memorable ending.
It’s a rare thing these days to get through an entire 13 track album without wanting to skip at least one song, not to mention being blown away by every single one, but Every Time I Die have, yet again, done what few artists do better and all under incredibly trying circumstances. This record will, without a doubt, be massive and should be seen an eighth straight victory for the quintet.
Low Teens is out now via Epitaph.