I am, as I have been since 2003, compelled to listen to ETID frontman Keith Buckley. Across the band’s six studio albums he has been the driving force behind the Buffalo, NY group’s overdriven, metalcore distortion. It is a sound they have perfected and with this, their first with new drummer, Ryan Leger, they continue to prove that they justify the billboard top 20 debut that they have received.
“I want to be dead with my friends” screams Buckley through a growling megaphone. It appropriately sets the tone of the record before a single note is even struck. It’s what sets this band apart and is perhaps the most likely reason that they are still relevant in a genre that is in decline. Buckley’s lyrics are a cutting, sarcastic and always appropriate comment on society; namely generation Y’s predilections towards sex, drugs, celebrity and violence. He is a cleric to the legion of ETID’s fans who flock to his every word: a preacher with a blues-driver.
Buckley cannot take all of the credit, however. Guitarists Jordan Buckley (Keith’s brother) and Andy Williams serve up mile-a-minute riffs that blister on every track. It is perhaps done no better than on ‘Typical Miracle‘, a syncopated anthem that erupts out the left, punctures on the right and knows exactly when to hold back and let their lead singer shine, “You can’t fuck when your friends are around but my slow dance draws a crowd”. The drums are good too.
Tracks like first single ‘Revival Mode‘, are an indication that ETID are willing to try new things. The song is still a hard-hitter in a blues scale but they do away with the usual cocktail of time signature changes and settle into a single riff that allows Buckley to actually sing his lyrics. It is an admirable attempt and something the band have flirted with since 2005’s ‘Gutter Phenomenon‘. It is also the album’s lowest point and as it is the only track on the record to do this, indicates that perhaps ETID know it too. However, they quickly follow this with album standout “Drag King”, a song that allows their signature cluster-fuck of pounding riffs and beatdowns the room to breath, and is all the better for it. Naturally, they follow this with a 6/8 chorus and a knowing smile that says, ‘we know what we do best.’
In the end, the quality of any ETID album rests on Buckley’s lyrics. When he is on the money the band release records like 2003’s ‘Hot Damn‘, and when he is not, 2007’s ‘Big Dirty‘. Thankfully, ‘Ex Lives‘ can be filled under the former and should please all those ready to reassess their youth whilst smashing their heads to sounds of an amp turned up far louder than 11.
Every Time I Die play Slam Dunk Festival in the UK on May 26th (Leeds) and 27th (Hatfield). Tickets