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Sometime between 'The Burial Plot Bidding War' and 'Last Night in Town,' Every Time I Die got really rock-and-roll.And I mean that in a good way.To those familiar with their older stuff, the new album will come as a surprise: the darker, sludgier metal sound is punched up about a thousand times - it's as peppy as tough, crazy hardcore can get.And on top of the boots-rocking beat, ETID layers breakdown after breakdown, the kind that make you want to move even the twentieth time you hear it.With only this going for it, 'Last Night in Town' would be a damn sweet album, but to the tremendous joy of we who love hardcore, the band has come into an artistic maturity that few with more experience ever achieve.Every song buzzes with frantic energy, pounded through pinpoint instrumentality - they jump, man, chaotic but with order you can only find in the best songwriters.This is the only album I've ever heard with a brilliant and passionate sound coming even close to Cave In's 'Until Your Heart Stops' - and in my book that's a damn good thing.
"Emergency Broadcast Syndrome" starts the album off on a short, heavy note; it's discordant and runs all over the place, falls in an out of technical noisecore squalls, then grindcore bass carrying singing and screaming voices jumping on top of one another, and finally, similar to This Day Forward (but tougher), deep, rolling breakdown bass.Although such cacophony is hardly a formula, it describes the formula of most of the album - and yet ETID riddles every song with clever twists and turns, enough to keep each interesting, if not downright riveting.The second track, "Jimmy Tango's Method," is by far my favorite: after a tough first half full of tempo changes, a repeated riff is introduced with drums and bass steadily increasing underneath.This spirals downward, sounding in anticipation of a breakdown, but the music picks back up with a quick, peppy two-step.Suddenly, the deepest, most blistering bass sounds out alone and chunk-chunk-chunks out a single note - you know the breakdown's about to start.Except, it doesn't.We're back to the two-step again for a measure, and Goddamn, when it the bottom drops back into the mosh bass, this time with drums, guitar, and screaming, you will break shit.Guaranteed.
"Here's Looking at You" is more of the same craziness, with notable non-distorted guitar picking in a slow, distorting part; it has a twang almost like a banjo (I told you they rock)."Punch-Drunk Punk Rock Romance" works with sudden, perfect tempo changes, and distortion building up chaotically into a beautiful singing at its peak.This song really gives you a picture of the singer's tremendous vocal range, and sounds even better with a second vocalist doing backup.Check out all the evil Disembodied-style riffing, at any point blending into gently layered, discordant melodies that would rock any emo kid's world."Enter Without Knocking and Notify the Police," a purely instrumental track that moves from odd, tweaked rock to thick metalcore, is greatly reminiscent of some of Dillenger Escape Plan's similar efforts."The Logic of Crocodiles" is carried over dominant drum work and a fast breakdown better than Martyr A.D.'s similar style.This song has an almost jazzy feel riding the undercurrents."Pincushion" is probably the fastest, most blazingly intense song on the album."Nothing Dreadful Ever Happens" starts off almost indie rock, with yet another eerie, vacant passage of singing, goes to decent hardcore, then back to haunting piano playing.Of all the tracks, "California Gracefully" probably captures the Cave In feel best, and ETID does here some of the best of what they do best.Everything fits brilliantly together.Finally, "Shallow Water Blackout" rounds out the album on a strong, tough, note, with guitars alternating between chugging double bass and high-end riffing.And at the end, when a rocking beat drops into thick, slow breakdown, you will have had about all the great hardcore you can stand in 32 minutes (not a bad length for a full length, either).
All things said, 'Last Night in Town' keeps up the rocking for ten powerful tracks, and manages to put enough artistry into them that any one, listened to alone, will knock your socks off - this is the style Torn Apart always wanted but never reached.I honestly have no complaints with this album: the lyrics are interesting (and funny); the vocals are harsh and clear when screaming, definitely rock-and-roll when talking or singing; the instruments are crisp and perfect; the songs are some of the best written hardcore you will ever hear.This album undoubtedly ranks in the top five of 2001. It is a must.
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