Tag Archives: Metalcore

Album Review: Every Time I Die – Ex Lives

Buffalo, NY’s punk / metalheads, Every Time I Die (ETID), recently dropped an all new release titled Ex Lives on Epitaph Records.  Produced by Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age), the album shot up the Billboard charts very quickly and landed in the top 20s.  That right there has go to tell you something.

This marks the sixth full-length release for the five piece band in their 14 year career.  That’s not to say that the last 14 years have been easy for ETID as their line up has been a revolving door with members coming and going.  Even with the challenges of keeping the band intact, ETID managed to continue on and after hearing Ex Lives, I have to say I am glad they did.  I will point out I am not the biggest ETID fan.  I know what they are capable of and appreciate all that they do in the music world.  In other words, I am one of those people who love “We’rewolf”.

The album starts off beyond insane with “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” (nice title by the way).  “I want to be dead with my friends” repeats at the beginning of this fast, brutal song that pretty much got me all sorts of excited to hear the rest of the album.  Keith Buckley and crew sound amazing on this track. 

“I Suck (Blood)” was just a thrashed mess of screaming and guitar playing guaranteed to keep you angry.   “Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow” had a Southern rock vibe throughout but kept things moving for the best.  Kind of reminded me of when Pantera jumped off their path on some of their songs back in the day. 

I will say that “Revival Mode” caught my attention as it took a complete total different route and was more or less a 90s grunge rock song at times, but I liked it for what it was worth.  (Seriously, did anyone else hear some Layne Stanley in there?)

“Drag King” made me wonder how Buckley still has vocal chords with all that screaming, but he was able to add some melodic singing throughout the track.  The fast-paced “Touch Yourself” followed and all I could think of was a sea of kids going ballistic at a live ETID show.  Ending things was “Indian Giver”, a darker track that praised the loss of a good person.

I’ve seen reviews of this album already and some people think some of the sound sound recycled from New Junk Aesthetic.  I can’t say I am hearing the same things from their previous releases, but the style remains, and that is what makes a band what they are.  If you are into insane screaming and metal formed around some very intense lyrics, you should check out Ex Lives.

ETID will be on the Van’s Warped Tour this summer.  I have seen them in the past life and will tell you, they are not a show to be missed. 

Track List:
Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space
Holy Book of Dilemma
A Wild, Shameless Plain
Typical Miracle
I Suck (Blood)
Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow
The Low Road Has No Exits
Revival Mode
Drag King
Touch Yourself
Indian Giver

Rapid Reviews: Brett Detar, JuiceheaD, Transit, Coffee Project, The Flatliners and I Am The Avalanche

Let’s face it, this site is a one man show for the most part and as of late I have been living quite the busy life.  I am continually presented with amazing music for review consideration and sadly there is not enough time in the day for me to not only get through work and school, but to also write nice things about all these awesome bands.

So today I decided to throw out a few quick reviews on a couple of bands that have been sitting in my “cool” stack.  I wish I had more time to go into complete detail as I hate writing little reviews on bands, but I am thinking this might be a good idea to just spread the word out.  If you like what I said about the band, check them out, support them, share their music and help them continue to do what they love to do.

This week proves to be a busy one for me with tomorrow’s Strike Anywhere / Dead To Me / Menzingers / Holy Mess / Signals Midwest show as well as Wednesday’s NOFX / Anti-Flag / Old Man Markley show.  I thought perhaps I should be proactive and hammer out a few reviews while I had a moment.

Enjoy and as always, thanks for wasting some of your day on my site.

Brett Detar – Bird In The Tangle

With having the history of being a former guitarist/bassist of metalcore act Zao and also the lead singer of The Juliana Theory, it came as a great surprise to me when I was told that Brett Detar recorded a country / folk album.  The solo attempt by Detar, titled Bird In The Tangle,is actually a damn good listen too (it was released almost a year ago).  Hearing this album, you would never think that Detar, who grew up in PA, could have so much outlaw in his blood.  The moment the album started with “Empty House On A Famous Hill”, I was completely overtaken by his singing and music writing abilities.  “The Devil’s Gotta Earn” was my favorite cut off this album and “Cocaine Whiskey and Heroine” was a close second.  Following the likes of Nick 13 and Tumbledown, this genre jump from a guy who used to provide fast paced ear-pounding music has captured a style of outlaw country that is welcomed in my world.  Detar reminds me a lot of Justin Townes Earle but with more of a folk feel as well as had some Murder By Death tendencies.  Want to check it out?  Head over to Brett Detar’s website and download it for free!

JuiceheaD – How To Sail A Sinking Ship

Chicago punk rockers JuiceheaD has been off the charts for a bit but have recently dropped How To Sail A Sinking Ship. This is their second full-length release since their 2007 debut The Devil Made Me Do It. Sure, 7 years is a long time in between albums, but in their defense, there are 20 songs on this new release, a rarity in today’s punk rock recordings.  Not familiar with their sound, I gave it a listen hoping for the best.  The album started out a little slower than anticipated, but things picked up during “Lorraine” and brought back an old school punk rock vibe that I enjoyed.  “Deadly Nightshade” was an entertaining track that had some nice 80’s punk rock vibes contained within.  Hoping that the rest of the album would spark my interest, sadly it did not.  It’s not a terrible listen by any means, it just lacked that extra “oomph” my ears were hoping for and was more rock n roll throughout with a good drum beat that sounded a tad under-produced.  I won’t lie, I was not stoked to see that their album was released on Misfits Records (it should be called MISFIT Records as it’s solely owned by Jerry Only) as most of their releases do not entertain me at all.  Melodic punk rock would be how I would describe How To Sail A Sinking Ship.  It is nothing beyond that to me and I really was hoping for something a little more from these guys.

Transit – Listen & Forgive

Boston’s Transit could be classified as just another pop-punk act, but there is just something about them that makes them stand out over other similar acts.  They have a tougher sound on a few of their songs that proves to me that they have the ability to attack if threatened, but overall have a soft side to them that stands out.  Regardless of how they are viewed by others, I dig this band and I really enjoyed their recent Rise Records release Listen & Forgive. Think Taking Back Sunday meets Saves The Day meets a calmed down New Found Glory.  “You Can’t Miss It” opened the track with a memorable track.  I could have done without Patrick Stump offering vocals on “All Your Heart”.  Seriously, that song did nothing for me.  “Cutting Corners” was, on the other hand, a track I dug a lot with “make every song your anthem and every night your last”, a lyric that pretty mush defined me growing up.  “Long Lost Friends” was a more aggressive track that stood out over the rest.  This band may be unknown to most music fanatics out there, but I have the feeling that will not be for long.  I hope just it has nothing to do with that song Stump was on…

Coffee Project – Concrete Boots EP

Love them or hate them, Coffee Project is a catchy and unique act that many have been talking about recently.  What you need to know about this is this: They are a duo consisting of trombonist Buddy Schaub and Rehasher’s Jake Crown, they are fun, they are catchy and they specialize in brassed out punk pop acoustic rock.  Recently the band dropped an EP titled Concrete Boots that includes their version of “Little Boxes” , the Malvina Reynolds written song turned Weeds intro that has been recorded over and over by all sorts of bands, as well as 4 brand new songs.  The opening track “”Shenandoah” was more of a bluegrass boot-stomping jam that seeming proved the duo has been taking this project seriously.  The accompanying female vocals on the title track was enjoyable although I have no idea who it was.  “Exit Stage Left” was more of an indie rock track that was not half bad while “Laid Up” led back to their standard sound – singing with acoustic guitar and a trombone.  Regardless on how far this band plans on moving in the music scene, they are fun and enjoyable to listen to.  This EP hopefully is just a sample of what they have up their sleeves for their next full length release.

The Flatliners – Count Your Bruises EP

The Flatliners are a Fat Wreck Chords band that I have adored since their early days.  Hailing from Ontario, Canada, they have this great punk rock sound that I appreciate and always seem to release the catchiest punk rock albums.  Seeing how much I dig this band so much, I am shocked to have missed the memo that they released an EP back in August.  Titled Count Your Bruises, the three song EP (also available as a 7″) straight up rules from start to finish.  The title track glided past me quickly as I immediatly found myself trying to memorize the lyrics so I could sing along.  “Sticky Bastards” really sounded like a gritty Gaslight Anthem  song but was in no was a ripoff.  The final track, “This Guy Reads From A Card”, was just as amazing as the first track and by the song’s end I just wanted more.  I suppose I will have to wait though and I will be sure to follow this band and their future releases.  The EP may have been just three songs, but they were all kick ass tracks.  Now all I can hope for is a new full-length from this great band and pray that the next time they roll through my neck of the woods I can see them live.  I caught them briefly at SXSW earlier this year, but it just was not enough.  Wishful thinking right?

I Am The Avalanche – Avalanche United

After 6 long years, Brooklyn’s I Am The Avalanche has dropped their all new album titled Avalanche United. There is no point asking what took so long for Vinnie Caruana and crew to release new material.  All you need to do is listen to Avalanche United once and it is perfectly clear that no explanation is needed as the band has dropped a superb follow-up.  With a mostly positive attitude throughout, the band references NYC and has lyrics that almost coach their friends to embrace the life they life especially heard in opening track “Holy Fuck”.  With that said, there are a couple dark spells throughout like “Amsterdam” that seemingly carries a couple of references to personal separation.  “Brooklyn Dodgers” was an anthem of awesomeness.  I loved this track start to finish.  It was a fist pumping sing along that was just refreshing to listen to.  The beer chugging invite “This One’s On Me” probably sounds a little better mixed with friends – and beers.  Bayside’s Anthony Raneri may have jumped in with some vocals on “The Grave Digger’s Argument”, the the song still just was missing something.  Perhaps I am just more into the tougher singing throughout the album.  Closing track”Gratitude” threw me for a curve at the beginning as it sounded like a 90s alt-rock song but soon picked up and continued on with a good jam that ended this album in a good way.  If you are looking for a catchy album to listen to that leans a bit on the heavy side, check these guys out.

The 2010 Vans Warped Tour (well some of it…) – Cleveland, OH – 07/08/10

It’s no lie, the Vans Warped Tour is the longest running traveling festival of all time.  The punk rock summer camp has been going strong for 15 years now and once again has shown no signs of quitting any time soon.  I am sure it is safe to say that Kevin Lyman, the Warped Tour founder, has no intention what so ever of shutting down his vision that has brought bands and fans together yearly all over North America.

The festival for myself has been more or less a ritual over the past 15 years.  I have gone with my friends to Warped Tour almost every summer since I was a little 18 year old punk kid without a care in the world.  Some of my best memories come from spending hours in intense heat watching bands I love with others who share the same interest.  I have written about many of those memories last year so I am not going to repeat myself but I will say that “Eiffel Tower” and “FAFGAD” will always bring a smile to my face when one of my friends happens to bring them up.

Now I will admit that last year I announced my retirement to the Warped Tour.  At the time I was serious and felt it right to stop going while I was still having a good time.  I stood by my decision and was ok with it.  After going to the Warped Tour for 14 years I decided I saw all the bands I could ever want to see and just did not have it in my anymore to continue going.

Well I lied.  Sort of…

I just came out of retirement early and it was all because of a little Californian band called Face To Face.  The second I found out that they reunited and were playing the 2010 Warped Tour I had no choice but to go again.  Can you blame me?

So yes, I am a liar like Henry Rollins.  Oh well.  I might as well talk about my day at the 15th annual Vans Warped Tour in Cleveland.  I will warn you that there may be some shocking material in this post featuring yours truly.  So without further adieu…my review.

“I’m getting too old for this sh*t” – Me upon entering the gates of the Tower City Amphitheater.

It was ridiculously hot on Thursday as I got my ticket scanned for entry to the festival.  When I say hot I am talking 95 degrees with a heat index of at least 100.  The sun was a bastard and just scorched all who got in it’s way.  I knew to dress accordingly and to bathe in sunscreen so I had no worries about getting sun burnt but I was pretty damn miserable the moment I set foot into the grounds.  I laughed at myself knowing that I might have made a bad choice by coming out of retirement but decided what the hell and chose to make the best of it.

Before I even got started roaming around I wanted to say hello to my cousin who was at the tour as well but not as an attendee.  He was working EMT in one of the first aid tents near the entrance.  When I greeted him there was a young kid in the tent already with a war wound like none other.  Half crying the young music fan was holding a towel to his head and was just covered in blood.

My cousin smiled at me giving indication that he was in for a long day.  He called for an ambulance as the kid needed stitches due to a 2 inch gash in his forehead.  Apparently the kid was watching metalcore act  Confide and fell in the pit – headbutting the ground with his skull.  I felt band for the little guy mostly because I knew that not only was his day cut short but I was also pretty sure his parents would never allow him band to the Warped Tour again.

Every Time I Die was already opening the day by the time I arrived to the main stage.  I was bummed out to see such a killer act play the early slot but that is one thing Warped has always been known for, no set schedules.  In fact one of the reason I missed some of their set was because I had to partake in my little ritual of going to the inflatable schedule and writing down what bands I wanted to see.  Closing with “We’rewolf”, the band thanked Cleveland for coming early to see them and was positive that they had set the level for the day.  I could not agree more.

I took one, count ’em, one lap around the festival grounds.  Why?  It was too freaking hot.  I just wanted to see if there were any interesting merch booths and maybe take in a band I had not heard of before.  I had intentions of spending more time exploring but found myself stopping at the Kia / Kevin Says Stage to see Left Alone.

As they rifled through their set playing songs like “Sad Story” and “I Hate Emo” the kids in the crowd showed their support and early on energy by dancing around as well as forming a circle pit that spun around the soundboard.  Lead singer Elvis Cortez enjoyed the insanity but did call out one long haired kid who clearly was moshing like an a-hole.  Elvis Cortez was also the only original band member on the stage.  What was up with that?

I shook my head in disbelief as I walked past the AP stage and saw apparently a popular Mike Posner on stage swooning hundreds of little girls with his R&B soul music.  All I could think of was what in the hell this guy was doing at a punk fest?  I did not even give him a moment of my time and headed to the main stage where I would remain for the next few hours.

Before staking ground under the giant shade tent I detoured to the Skullcandy stage where a band called AM Taxi was playing to a very small crowd.  The band, who features members of Luck Boys Confusion, put on a good rock show and impressed me with their sound.  I will be checking them out more in the near future.

Alkaline Trio took to the main stage under the shade tent that seemingly served no purpose.  Even if the sun was blocked it was still 100 degrees under that giant tent with no airflow at all.  Even if I was a sweaty mess I still enjoyed AK3’s set including “Cringe”, “Armageddon”, “Dine, Dine My Darling”, “This Addiction”, and also “97”.  There was little movement on stage by the band during their set but overall they put on a good show.

New Jersey metal act The Dillinger Escape Plan were without a doubt the most energetic group I’ve witnessed at the Warped Tour for a while now.  Lead singer Greg Puciato was all over the stage causing fans to go insane and at one point hopped on top of some stacked amps and leaped without a care.  A few songs after, guitarist Jeff Tuttle, who joined singing duties repeated the feat and leap off another stack of amps.  It was an insane performance and one of the highlights of my day.

I had many the option to check out other acts while the bands on the main stage while their sets were being broken down and new ones were set up but I was finding myself overheating.  I consumed more water than I thought my body could handle so it was nothing to do with hydration.  I was just finding myself exhausted to the point where I just was not caring anymore.  It was a scary thought as I used to go to Warped Tours with intentions of just pounding beer after beer but in reality I am getting up there in age so I was not completely shocked.

The whole reason I came out of Warped Tour retirement, also known as Face To Face, finally took to the stage to a much smaller crowd than I had anticipated.  Trever Keith and company sounded absolutely amazing and played the radio friendly “Disconnected” as well as “Walk The Walk”, and one of my favorites “I’m Trying”.  The band announced they were finishing up a new album and even played a cut off of it.

In the middle of their set Trever Keith called out to the huge group of young kids just sitting down under the amphitheater seeking shade who were clearly ignoring his band.  He shouted at them “I just want you to know there was music before 2005. You should go ahead and Google it.”  The true punk rock fans applauded in approval while the kids – just sat there clueless.  It was depressing to see such an influential punk rock band have such a small crowd.  Not letting it affect them they played their hearts out to the older Warped Tour crowd.

A few more people seemed to enter the main stage area before the Bouncing Souls were to take the stage but still it was nothing in comparison to previous years performances from bands like NOFX and Bad Religion as well as the kiddie pop punk act Paramore and (cough, cough) 3OH!3.  It just seemed as if the people who paid the $40+ for a ticket were more interested in the younger acts playing the smaller stages.  Honestly when I thought about it, things were running as designed (bands playing for fans) but I just was hoping for a little more respect for the bands that made the Warped Tour what it is today…  The main stage just did not seem to be the focal point of the day.

The East Coast punkers took to the stage with Dillinger Escape Plan’s Jeff Tuttle who ran all over the stage getting the crowd riled up.  Greg Attonito took things a step further and jumped down from the stage and started singing songs to the fans at a more personable level from the barricade.  Countless kids crowd surfed their way towards Greg Attonito and each time one came close to him he would hold his hand out and pull them closer.

A few songs into their set they  brought out UK act The Exposed to the stage with them to play along.  Seeing members of other bands hit the stage with them through their just screamed how punk rock they really are. The band sounded great and clearly was happy to be playing to all their fans on summer day.  Hearing “The Something Special”, “Lean On Shena”, as well as a handful of other Souls’ songs put a giant smile on my face and at that moment I forgot about the sweltering heat and sang along enjoying every moment.  Ending their set with “True Believer” I could not be happier with what I just saw.  Long live the Souls.

It was about 5 o’clock and there were could other bands I wanted to check out before Andrew WK was to hit the main stage.  I sat there and contemplated which stage I should check out and if a lap around the grounds was in order.  Sum 41 was to play as well as All American Rejects and Polar Bear Club in that 2 hour span so I had plenty of options but chose to do something completely different.

I threw in the towel.

That’s right folks, I gave up.  As happy I was at the end of the Souls’ set my body was pleading with me to get the hell out of dodge and find some air conditioning.  I sat there for at least 10 minutes trying to convince myself that leaving was a good idea.  I knew I was going to miss some of these bands and most of all would be missing puke rocker Andrew WK, someone I have admired for years.

I finally grabbed my gear and headed for the exit.  As much as I wanted to see Andrew WK, I knew those 2 hours until showtime were going to kill me.  It just made sense to head out and hope the puke rocker comes back to Cleveland another day.  My few friends who were there were not even bothered by the fact of me bailing, some of them followed my lead.

I do not think I will be returning to the Warped Tour ever again.  This is my letter of resignation.  It is not because I have issues with the way the festival is running, it’s more or less issues with myself.  Feeling like I’ve been caught on fire for an entire day is just not my idea of fun.  The kids, on the other hand, love it and I hope they continue to do so for another 15 years.

If by some chance next year has an amazing line up that can not be missed then maybe, just maybe, I will succumb.  Until then I am done.  I just do not have it in me anymore to do a day long festival on asphalt.  I’m still all for festivals and hope to hit Bonnaroo again but as far as the Warped Tour goes, I am out.  Fifteen years is good enough for me.

This years line-up was a little weak for me personally because I just had not heard of any of the bands on the roster or had no interest.  Again, that is just my opinion because I saw a whole lot of other music fans in their glory.  I looked at them and remember the times when I was younger and was just overwhelmed.  As for myself I only cared about eight bands total and had no intentions of exploring for more music.

So yeah, this is a half assed review since I bailed and decided to get pizza and go record shopping.  Well, that is kind of punk rock if you think about it too right?

So am I getting too old for this sh*t?  Not really.  Mentally I am with everyone else, physically on the other hand is a different story and I know when my limits have been met.  Face it, the Warped Tour is for the kids.  I was there once…

It Dies Today Next Week…

Just received word that one of my favorite metalcore/hardcore/screamo bands out there, It Dies Today, is dropping an album next week.

The Buffalo, NY band formed in 2001 at a very young age and impressed me with their furious sound and mature way of handling the scene.  I love the way they incorporate hardcore with metal and even add a little harmonious singing.  Their songs have been blasted out of my car windows more than once this summer and I can not get enough of them.

Teaming up with Trustkill Records they will be releasing Lividity on Sept. 15th.  I have high hopes of the release and will be sure to review it as soon as I get my hands on a copy of it.  My only concern about the new album is that I learned the band has a new singer since their last album and I am curious to see if he can keep the momentum going that was left in my ears from the previously release Sirens.

Until the CD releases next week I have no idea what to expect, but I was able to find the first single off Lividity entitled “Reckless Abandon”.  The song is freaking awesome.  Give a listen for yourself and see why I dig these guys so much.

DOWNLOAD THIS!It Dies Today – “Reckless Abandon”

I actually like It Dies Today’s take on Depeche Mode‘s “Enjoy The Silence”: