By Zachary Swickey
It is increasingly rare in today’s modern music world to see a band make it past the ten year mark. It’s even rarer to see a band do it while maintaining musical credibility. Case in point, Every Time I Die – a group of headbanging, enthusiastic Bills fans from Buffalo who feature some of the dirtiest, awesomest metal riffs you’ll ever hear and just so happen to throw the hottest damn concerts in town.
Every Time I Die started off with brothers Keith Buckley and Jordan Buckley on vocals and guitars, respectively, before adding Andy “Paul Bunyan” Williams as a second guitarist. Original drummer Mike “Ratboy” Novak handled sticks for the group from their 1998 inception until 2009 when Canadian Ryan Leger (a madman on the drums nicknamed “Legs”) replaced him. (Insert name here) has been with the group since… sorry, inside joke since the bassist position in ETID has been an eternally revolving door of musicians (they’re on number six or seven) most recently filled by the re-joining of Steve Micciche, who originally handled bass duties for the group from 2001-2005.
ETID are a cast of colorful characters – brothers Keith and Jordan operate two of our favorite Twitter feeds (entertaining as hell is all I can say) and they are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever be lucky enough to meet. Keith Buckley (who was once an English teacher) just oozes badass – he was sporting some bitchin’ snakeskin cowboy boots when I met him backstage at Warped Tour many moons ago (not to mention his name sounds destined for porn), and he has an onstage swagger matched by none in his music circles. If Jordan Buckley ever has an Oasis-style falling out with his brother, he will always have his insane art skills to fall back on. Much of his work is showcased through the band’s own album art and he also runs an online clothing store featuring a bevy of righteous T-shirts. And just forget about all of Andy’s tattoos – the guy is a giant teddy bear.
The first two albums from Every Time I Die – 2001’s Last Night in Town and 2003’s Hot Damn – featured a much more raw sound than their more recent studio efforts but “organized metal chaos” will always be an apt description of their overall sound. Their third release, Gutter Phenomenon, was released in August of ’05 and began the tradition of featuring their friends as guest vocalists. For Phenomenon, Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance appeared on the first single, “Kill the Music,” while Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw provided guest vocals on “Champing at the Bit.” My personal favorite, “Gloom and How It Gets that Way,” clocks in at less than two minutes but it’s an audio massacre with a brutal breakdown that will have you anxiously anticipating it every time. The ending, however, is the money shot, as Buckley screams, “Hallelujah, the king is dead. The king is dead!”
Their fourth record was appropriately dubbed The Big Dirty, and garnered the act their highest chart position yet when it landed at No. 41 on the Billboard album charts. The opening track, “No Son of Mine,” has pummeling drums and will have hairs sprouting from your chest upon listening as it is one of loudest, proudest songs in the ETID canon. Their chum Dallas Green (who goes by City & Colour if you don’t recall) adds his smooth voice to the track “INRIhab,” which also features Keith displaying some of his actual singing (rather than screaming) skills.
The group’s most recent offering – ‘09’s New Junk Aesthetic – is arguably their biggest critical success yet (and sports a wicked cover courtesy of Jordan, of course). While it sounds like their most aggressive record, it’s also the most balanced – some fans decried the slick production found on Phenomenon, and thankfully New Junk will keep fans of both eras happy. “Wanderlust” is the prime example – it merges the raucousness of the old EDIT days with the group’s more focused recent sound. “White Smoke” has a ridiculously catchy guitar riff that will have your ears bleeding (with glee!) by end. Friends this time around include Greg Puciato (frontman of Dillinger Escape Plan) adding his vocal insanity to “The Marvelous Slut,” while Matt Caughthran (of The Bronx/ Mariachi El Bronx, who we totally dig too) lends his classic punk-fueled voice to “The Sweet Life.”
Every Time I Die are some of the most dedicated, humble musicians that exist. They practically live on the road or in the studio – releasing an album every two years and taking a maximum of a month off if ever (Keith also fronts “supergroup” The Damned Things, which features members of Fall Out Boy and Anthrax). Check out their DVD “S**t Happens” to witness all the shenanigans they get into on the road. They just wrapped a tour opening for their heroes – metal legends Gwar – and are heading overseas for the next couple of weeks before finishing up work on their untitled sixth album, which will see a release in early 2012.