From Parts Unknown is Every Time I Die’s seventh full-length, yet it comes out of nowhere like a debut – feeling desperate, ferocious, and raw. You can attribute that feeling to producer (and Converge guitarist) Kurt Ballou, whom undoubtedly challenged and pushed the veteran band to the limit at Godcity Studios. Enlisting a producer of Ballou’s stature could only mean one thing regarding LP7 – a complete deconstruction of metalcore’s status quo. From Parts Unknown is stuffed with various twists and turns and sudden stylistic changes – tastefully mixed in with absolutely brutal compositions and utterly bleak lyricism.
”The Great Secret” lets the cat out of the bag instantly, as Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams unleashing an unforgiving wave of thrash while Keith Buckley candidly screams, Blow your fucking brains out. “Pelican Of The Desert” and “Overstayer” are quick two minute bursts of pure vengeance, with “Overstayer” headlining a distraught Buckley pleading, What in the fuck am I doing here/Why did the rapture not take me in/It is my curse to carry on, over a cataclysmic breakdown
The two pre-release singles “Thirst” and “Decayin’ With The Boys” include plenty of ETID staples – the punk-metal vibe of the former and the southern-tinged metal of the latter – only now they’ve perfected each style. But From Parts Unknown orbits a higher plane of metal during its middle portion. “If There Is Room To Move, Things Move” channels the spirit of Converge’s latest work, while “Exometrium” is a dirty, schizophrenic number containing the very best riffs from Williams and Buckley.
But it’s “Moor” that proves to be the most stunning track in Unknown’s arsenal. A minimal-yet-eerie grand piano chord creeps over the song’s first half, as Buckley recalls a battle with the devil, before launching into an avalanche of power chords and Leger’s punishing drumming. Balancing his croon with desperate screams, Buckley unfurls the most impressive vocal performance of his career, as the thoroughly disturbing mid-tempo piece concludes as a chilling career highlight for Every Time I Die.
From Parts Unknown brings down the curtain with the dazzling “Idiot” (which is preceded by the exhilarating “El Dorado,” which sounds like Queens of the Stone Age meets Gutter Phenomenon). Every Time I Die has a penchant for finishing albums with its best effort (“Pretty Dirty,” “Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Battery,” and “Indian Giver”), with Hot Damn!’s “Pornogratherapy” being the fan favorite. But “Idiot” takes what makes that song so great and beats it to a bloody pulp, extracting something even more devastating and despondent (the final 25 seconds delivering Buckley’s poignant stanza: “All I want is for everyone to go to hell/It’s the last place I was seen before I lost myself/All I want is for everyone to come to hell/There we can be free and learn to love ourselves).
For years now, Converge has remained the gold standard for all metalcore and hardcore acts, consistently releasing boundary-pushing, relentless album after album. That band has maintained an indefatigable commitment to excellence for nearly 25 years, with very few others coming close. Every Time I Die is one of those acts – arguably every metal core fan’s favorite band – so it makes sense why the band tapped Ballou to guide the creation of From Parts Unknown. Since the band’s inception in 1998, ETID has continually improved on and expanded its sound, adding more wrinkles and flourishes to its always chaotic noise. Spend a few hours listening to the band’s entire discography and you’ll notice how each album builds and improves upon one another, and you’ll realize why Parts is Every Time I Die’s most sinister album yet.
The Buffalo quintet has never resorted to the electro-gimmicks of today or old tricks of albums past to maintain listeners attention, instead crafting the technical aspect of ETID to perfect precision while advancing its affinity for unpredictable song structures. And with From Parts Unknown, Every Time I Die have hit the Ultimate Splash on its competition, absolutely cementing its legacy as one of the greatest heavy bands of our generation.