There's always a lot of different opinions surrounding the band Every Time I Die. A lot prefer the more chaotic, unpredictable sound they had in the early days of Hot Damn! and Last Night in Town, while a lot seem to enjoy their more riff-heavy metalcore sound they've developed since Gutter Phenomenon. Their last album, The Big Dirty was arguably their heaviest record to date, but it sort of featured the band breaking away from their roots and showed them progressing into this new "southern metalcore" sound they've developed over the past couple of albums. The big question is, how exactly do they plan to progress with this new sound on their latest record, New Junk Aesthetic? A lot of fans might be surprised with the final product.
While the band doesn't drift too far off from their usual style, they definitely have taken things up a few levels on this record. The "southern metalcore" sound that they've been known for has been revamped a little bit as they sound a lot more aggressive than they have in years. On New Junk Aesthetic, they have taken their groove-based sound and combined it with the raucous and turbulent approach they had on their first two albums. As a result, the band sounds a lot stronger than they have in years.
Things get off to a great start with the powerful opening track, "Roman Holiday," which sets the tone for the rest of the album as it leads into "The Marvelous Slut." This track may be under two minutes long but it really packs a huge punch with it's fast-paced rhythm and fast tempo changes. The chorus featuring Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan is also a nice touch as he and vocalist Keith Buckley trade-off the lines "Why do I give myself away? / Why do I bleed so easily?" "Who Invited The Russian Solider" also features some quick tempo changes that are sort of reminiscent of their early material, only taken with a different approach as it is a lot more melodic and structured.
Tracks like "For the Record" and "White Smoke" give a good representation of what most of the album sounds like; a good mix between old and new Every Time I Die. These songs follow a similar structure to a lot of tracks on Hot Damn! only they have much better production and the riffs stick out a lot bigger. "White Smoke," also carries some clean singing in a few parts, which gives it a nice touch, surprisingly. There's also a couple of tracks that are just plain ferocious, the main standout being "After One Quarter of a Revolution," which is just above two minutes long and is absolutely relentless.
There are also a few tracks where Every Time I Die sound like they are expanding on the direction they took on The Big Dirty with their brand. "Wanderlust" is the main standout out of the these tracks since it contains some of Buckley's best clean singing and the biggest chorus on the album which draws listeners right into it. "Turtles All the Way Down," "Host Disorder," and "The Sweet Life" are some of the other more rock-oriented tracks that wouldn't be too out of place on The Big Dirty.
Ranking this album in their discography was somewhat of a difficult task. On one hand, I don't think they'll ever top Hot Damn! but they really outdid themselves with this album. The musicianship sounds very tight as guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams are on top of their game throughout the entire album and keep delivering one great riff after another. Buckley's vocals also have improved quite a bit, both his screaming and his clean singing. Steve Evetts also did stellar work with the production on this album. The band has found a sound that is almost perfect for them, and with that said I don't have a problem declaring that this is Every Time I Die's best album in six years.
8.5 / 10
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