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Metalcore

Every Time I Die

From Parts Unknown

[Epitaph]

3.5 stars

“At a time when a lot of bands are going for a more crowd-friendly sound, we wanted to go in the opposite direction,” said Keith Buckley of Buffalo’s Every Time I Die in the official bio for the band’s seventh album, “From Parts Unknown.” “Instead of making something that the kids can sing along to, we wanted to make music that scares them.”

Mission accomplished. “From Parts Unknown” is a brutal assault of an album, even by ETID’s bludgeoningly high standards. The core of brothers Keith and Jordan Buckley, Andy Williams and Ryan Leger’s sound always has been a shotgun wedding of indelible guitar hooks and screaming vocals, with edgy, darkly poetic and confrontational lyrics, and rhythms that demand to be regarded as propulsive.

That hasn’t changed in the 16 years of the band’s existence. But what’s different this time around is the band’s utter confidence in its direction. As the Buckley quote suggests, ETID knows what it wants to do, and it’s not to hold its audience by the hand.

Instead, we get pummeled right out of the gate with short, aural punches to the face. “The Great Secret” is one of these – a test of the listener’s endurance, really, and perhaps a warning for any listener with a weaker disposition than is necessary to fully immerse oneself in the rest of the album. “Pelican of the Desert,” “All Structures Are Unstable” and “Decayin’ With the Boys” all arrive like an unexpected shovel to the back of the head, marrying excruciatingly assertive riffage to Buckley’s malevolent bark of a voice.

One might be forgiven for assuming that this unforgiving sonic assault might not boast much more than angst and anger in the lyric department, but lo and behold, beneath the din lurks a fully formed poetic personae, albeit one of the unflinchingly in-your-face variety.

Already being hailed far and wide as one of the most essential heavy recordings of 2014, “From Parts Unknown” asserts Every Time I Die’s place at the head of the modern metalcore class. It’s not a record for the faint of heart. But then, did you really expect it to be?

– Jeff Miers