Every Time I Die wants to destroy the world. While their previous albums have inflicted some damage on Mother Earth, the Buffalo quintet is not satisfied. The fact of the matter is ETID wants to leave their mark, so they’ve promised that their fifth studio album (and Epitaph debut), New Junk Aesthetic, would blow a huge gaping asshole into the earth. So if you’ve felt the earth shake recently, that’s just me recklessly playing this album way too loud, as New Junk Aesthetic is the heaviest Every Time I Die record to date.
Working with producer Steve Evetts once again, Every Time I Die set out to give manbirth to the most vicious record off their career; a record that kicks you in the teeth, shreds your balls, and shows no mercy. [Opening track “Roman Holiday” sets the bar high, as fuzzy feedback and a dirty riff scribble their way across the song before bowing out to a devastating breakdown that could TKO Brock Lesnar. “The Marvelous Slut” is full of urgency as vocalist Keith Buckley yells, “Why do I always give myself away?,” as Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan’s vocalist) adds some nice backing screams.
Guitarists Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley shine throughout New Junk, as their riffs and power chords dominate each song. “Who Invited The Russian Soldier?” is early evidence of this, as the guitarists buzzsaw their way through, ultimately cumulating into a final breakdown that’s very reminiscent of the Hot Damn! era. “Wanderlust” features filthy southern charm (which we came to love on 2005’s Gutter Phenomenon) and the album’s catchiest chorus (thus resulting in the first single for New Junk).
“For The Record” and “White Smoke” are sure to be crowd-pleasers, as each track features the soul and fervor from earlier ETID material. “For The Record” never slows down, as the power chords, vocals, and breakdowns will rattle your skull as if Bruce Smith just sacked you. “Organ Grinder” is exactly what the title implies, a huge track that fuses all the best ingredients of Every Time I Die to create a delicious ass kicker. “The Sweet Life” (which features vocal contributions from The Bronx’s Matt Caughthran) is the official party song of New Junk Aesthetic, while bonus tracks “Buffalo 666” and “Goddam Kids These Days” end New Junk Aesthetic in the superb, biting fashion we’ve come to expect from the band. “Goddam Kids These Days” appears to be a commentary on the scene of today, as Buckley exclaims, “I’ll be spinning in my grave for the rest of my life/have I taught the children nothing all this time?”
Lyrically speaking, Keith Buckley sounds like a man near the brink of insanity. On “Who Invited The Russian Soldier?,” Buckley shouts, “There’s nothing to see here/and nothing gazes back at us.” Throughout New Junk Aesthetic, it seems that Buckley cannot decide whether he wants to believe his words or if he should turn himself into the asylum. Musically, the band has never sounded better. The guitar work from Williams and Jordan Buckley really sets this album apart from their previous albums, as well as any album in its genre right now. The tantalizing guitar licks will keep listeners coming back to New Junkrepeatedly, while the rhythm work from bassist Josh Newton and (the now departed) drummer Mike Novak keep the pace of the album at a chaotic level.
New Junk Aesthetic is the most complete Every Time I Die album yet. It’s the kind of album that will maintain lifelong fans, gain new fans and win back the fans that may have thought ETID had fallen off their game. The truth is Every Time I Die has never sounded better, and New Junk Aesthetic, musically speaking, should be classified as a weapon of mass destruction. I just hope the earth recovers in time for album number six.