TL;DR – This is a career defining album that plunges Every Time I Die to darker more personal song writing than we’ve heard before, representing the band’s various styles from the last 18 years.
I first heard Every Time I Die in 2005 when I had Scuzz TV on in the background of whatever I was doing at the time and Kill The Music came on. Those killer riffs and great range of vocals had me hooked from the get go and I’d soon booked tickets to see them play at The Legendary TJ’s (Newport, South Wales) a few months later. Their energetic live show sold it for me and I was a fan for life.
Low Teens is most definitely the culmination of all their work, spanning their 18 year career so far.
Opening up on the slow but charged Fear and Trembling, you’re greeted by shaky guitars leading in to a heavy riff that is accompanied by the trademark growl of vocalist, Keith Buckley. While slow in it’s pace, the track builds to a crescendo of genuine heartfelt anger from featured guest vocalist, Tim Singer, then breaking into the previously released track, Glitches. It’s at this moment that you realise Every Time I Die are back and in the best way possible.
The punches keep on coming as the album rolls in to C++ (Love Will Get You Killed); a pain filled song, which Keith has admitted he wrote during in one of his darkest times. The song allows Keith to flex his more melodic vocals which have been largely absent from the most recent releases. These continue through to Two Summers in which guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley break in the southern-tinged, cowbell-filled vibes that have been present on previous albums. This is a welcome return to previous styles that haven’t been exercised in a while and helps bring a whole new flow to their work.
Once that ends, you’re instantly hit with a wall of riffs as the album storms through Awful Lot and I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway, which also showcases the excellent drumming from band newcomer, Daniel Davison (Underoath/Norma Jean) and returning bassist Stephen Micciche, who provide the perfect support to Andy and Jordan.
Every Time I Die have proved previously that they’re not scared of inviting vocalists from outside of their normal genre, by having guests such as Gerard Way, Dallas Green, Daryl Palumbo, and even Pete Wentz. None of which have been a let down and they’ve continued this trend on Low Teens by inviting Brendon Urie to sing on one of the many standout tracks, It Remembers. Keith uses this chance to showcase a calmly sweet style of vocals which are perfectly matched to a roughed up version of Urie’s normal vocal style.
Following from this, we enter back in to familiar riff-fueled territory with Petal, The Coin Has a Say and then leading on to Religion of Speed in which we witness a build up to a breakdown that will allow anyone to get rid of any pent up anger you may be holding on to. This is also the longest song that Every Time I Die have released and the energetic ending runs straight in to the following song, Just As Real But Not As Brightly Lit.
For me, this is another standout song from the album and touches on how religion was a big part of Keith’s upbringing. Lyrics such as “I still feel like someone is watching, though I’m not sure if that someone is listening. It don’t matter much to my suffering, because I know for a fact no one’s answering.” once again give us a real insight to the experiences that Keith had gone through in the road to writing these songs.
From here, we jump straight to 1977 which is very akin to the early releases of Hot Damn! and Last Night In Town. It serves as a great reminder of where the guys have come from yet at the same time displaying how they’ve matured as band while not forgetting their roots.
The album draws to close with what is ultimately one of the best written songs on the album, Map Change. Daniel Davison really shines as his drumming serves as the perfect accompaniment to Andy and Jordan’s relentless fret work as the tempo brings us back down a notch so that we can truly appreciate the longest album that Every Time I Die have released to date. At around 5 minutes longer than their previous longest full length, it still feels like it’s over far too quick, but you can easily add another 5 minutes via the 2 bonus tracks on the deluxe edition.
To round it up, this is a perfect blend of everything we’ve heard before, made from everything that we haven’t. Moving away from the tongue-in-cheek writing of previous albums to the more personal experiences that we’ve been given here has allowed Every Time I Die to move up to a whole new level. This is a Southern-infused, filthy, metal tinged hardcore album for the ages and one that should serve as a lesson to all other bands looking to move up in the genre.
You can listen to a full stream of the album on YouTube, as well as via your favourite music streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify.
This is one for the history books.
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