About thirty seconds into From Parts Unknown, the seventh full-length from Buffalo hardcore outfit Every Time I Die, it's obvious that this is not the album expected from such established fore-runners of the genre. They've somehow moved forward by going back to the sound of their first albums- and making it more their own. As lead vocalist Keith Buckley screams, "blow your fucking brains out," twice to begin "The Great Secret," the band undertakes their angriest, most aggressive record of recent memory- yet still manages to surprise with its more poignant interludes.
"Pelican of the Desert" continues the loud 'n' fast, intense output from ETID- as the band amplifies their unique brand of animated, violent rock. The track epitomizes the band's metalcore style and influence (featuring vocals from Coalesce's Sean Ingram). It's an impermeable wall of noise- Keith's gutteral screams and growls, guitars from Jordan Buckley and Andrew Williams that never lose their energy or direction, Stephen Micciche's bass supplying strength and depth to the breakdowns, and finally Ryan "Legs" Leger's annihilating drums that flawlessly fuel the music between sensible outbursts. However the following track "Decaying With the Boys" showcases their southern rock approach to playing heavy chords and forceful rhythms- along with Keith singing clearly and melodically- "Kill the lights/I've seen too much." The charging guitars pause methodically like gunfire reloading, as ETID continues their expertise in attacking from all sides, through a variety of sounds- and takes it even further.
"Moor" is an instant standout track of From Parts Unknown, from the first unexpected note of the downright creepy piano line. Combined with Keith's clean, almost shaky vocals as he details imagery of cracked bones and skinning a man to sell the meat, the minute-and-a-half long intro provides a desperate, eerie buildup to the explosive moment when the guitars take over the piano's riff, the bass glides and grooves, the drums resurrect themselves slowly, and Keith turns to wailing, moaning, "All I want is his head/and this horrible fucking world/Will be wonderful again. There's so much beauty and love/And when I eat his beating heart/I can bring it back to us." By the time the song returns to its original piano's dead notes, ETID has you in their manaical grasp and aren't letting go- it's an awesome, abrupt change in sound, if only for the one song, but it's enough to have you hooked.
From Parts Unknown intrigues yet again on "Old Light" with a sudden appearance from Brain Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, as he provides the smooth, more sensitive contrast from the edgy music: "Come bail me out from the state I'm in/The drinks I've had are no match for the truth." The song displays the powerful variety of ETID's capabilities as a band- an impressively erratic style that perfectly compliments the album's prominent themes of desperation, instability, and loneliness. The closing track "Idiot" is an appropriate ending to the onslaught- as all members of the band perform seamlessly in unison, though taking moments to break away independently in contribution- blazing guitar solos, revved up bass, pounding drums, and long, strained screams- all succeeding to truly amaze.
"All I want is for everyone to come to hell/There we can be free and learn to love ourselves," is Keith's last remark on the album, leaving you quite in touch with ETID's fucked up vision of the world. From Parts Unknown is 32 minutes of pure hardcore bombardment- it plays like it could be a soundtrack to all the gory parts of a horror movie. While it certainly isn't Every Time I Die's most inviting full length, it's just as fun Last Night In Town or Hot Damn!- with smart, sarcastic lyrics and layers of musical awesomeness to make it a valuable, essential part of their discography.