Since, as always, I'm waiting till the last minute to write this, and I'm struggling to come
up with a tolerable opening, I'll circumvent that problem and talk about Every Time I Die.
When my girlfriend used to live in Hamilton, Ontario, there were a few decent record stores, but none as cool as the Sonic Unyon store. There, I met a guy named Chris, who had just started a fledgling hardcore label called Goodfellow. I was concurrently starting up Punknews.org, and he graciously handed me a stack of CDs. Among the pile of somewhat intense metalcore he was releasing, a lone EP stood out in my mind: "The Burial Plot Bidding War", the debut release from a Buffalo band called Every Time I Die
(Side note: Was there any chance that paragraph wasn't going to end with Every Time I Die?)
So anyway, it stuck out for me, my ears virgin to most of the more underground metalcore bands. Sure, I had my copy of Destroy the Machines and Progression Through Unlearning, but a lot of the more metal-tinged bands were completely unknown to me.
The EP was a totally messed up kick in the head. Dirty sounding, without any of the precise cleanly produced guitars of the Victory metalcore bands, as heavy and intense as any of them, and with a sense of humour that I fear most straight edge kids lack.
(Side note: I said most. I'm sure you spell your name with 'X's on the outside and that's funny, right?)
So addicted as I was to this one, I was there pretty quickly to pick up Last Night in Town, which was more of the same, but with an even more pronounced melodic - and sarcastic streak. But what really struck me was that it seemed like the band had a conversation a little like this:
Band Member 1: What's the best part of any hardcore/metalcore song?
Band Member 2: Why the breakdown of course!
Band Member 1: Right! So what if we start a band that's all breakdowns
Band Member 2: We'll make a zillion dollars! We'll be rich! I'm going to buy a boat!
Band Member 1: Uhm.... ok. You play drums. I'll sing.
So, now that I've satisfied all expectations that I (a) Know the bands back catalog, and (b) think it's great, I can handily discuss this new record. The main questions that you should ask yourself are the following:
a) Is it a major progression? Has the band grown and evolved as artists and creators?
b) Did they manage to push the boundries without compromosing their integrity?
c) Who gives a crap about a) and b). Does it rock?
In the interests of time, I'll go straight to (c). Yes, Hot Damn does in fact rock. It reunites every element that makes Every Time I Die work, and pushes it further. It's heavy, fast, and chaotic. It's lyrically sarcastic, and vocally caustic. It's the most accessible and catchy record Every Time I Die has made, but it hasn't compromised anything that older fans care about. And the breakdowns slay.
So, yes, Every Time I Die has returned with another head smashing record. It is dirty, dirty metalcore.
And it is awesome.