From parts unknown

Hardcore heavies Every Time I Die play Cincinnati

By Alan Sculley

Photo: Every Time I Die will perform on April 17 at Bogart’s in Cincinnati; photo: Justin Reich

Vocalist Keith Buckley has nothing but good things to say about how From Parts Unknown, the latest album by his band, Every Time I Die, turned out.

“This album’s my favorite,” he said in a recent phone interview. “If I had one album to take out of ours to show anybody, it would have been this one.”

He can’t say the same for the way the album had to be made – even if circumstances helped make From Parts Unknown the album it is.

Originally, the band had reasonable plans for making From Parts Unknown, its seventh studio album. That made sense considering Every Time I Die has gained a place as one of the leading metalcore groups going and its albums generate a good deal of anticipation within its fan base. (From Parts Unknown joined the band’s 2012 release, Ex Lives, as its second straight album to debut in the top 20 of Billboard magazine’s Top 200 album chart.)

But what was supposed to be two months off to write the latest album got turned inside out when the band got the opportunity to open for A Day To Remember on its early 2014 tour of the United Kingdom and Europe.

Suddenly, the guys in Every Time I Die – Buckley, his brother Jordan Buckley (guitar), Andy Williams (guitar), Stephen Micciche (bass) and Ryan “Legs” Leger (drums) – faced the prospect of writing From Parts Unknown on the road, and over a short 18-day period.

To call the writing process intense would probably be an understatement.

“It becomes an obsession,” vocalist Buckley says. “I very rarely had a clear-your-mind sort of moment, from the moment I woke up until the minute I went to sleep. Aside from playing the show, it was just me listening to these guys riffing and trying to think of [lyrical and vocal melody] ideas. It was pretty arduous, and you look back on it and you just go how the f*** did that happen? How did I do that? But at the time, you just kind of give yourself up to it.”

And the challenges of making From Parts Unknown didn’t end when Every Time I Die returned from the European tour. The band returned just in time, in March 2014, to head into the studio to record with producer Kurt Ballou.

After things got off to a good start, Buckley developed a case of laryngitis that lasted long enough to threaten whether the album would get finished.

Buckley was terrified. He couldn’t understand why his voice had gone out and he had no way to know if his voice would return.

“I definitely was taking care of myself,” he says. “I was running every day and I was in good shape. It was just like, ‘OK, well God hates me.’ That’s all there is to it. Then it becomes this downward spiral of loathing and doubt. It was terrible. I was in a really bad spot.”

The clock ticked down on the band’s studio time. What was supposed to be about a week for recording vocals dwindled to the last three days. Then suddenly Buckley’s voice returned. He cut the vocals for eight of the album’s 12 songs that very day.

The songs on From Parts Unknown mirror the intense vibe of the writing and recording process, but the songs aren’t just loud and fast. Every Time I Die has grown into one of the best bands at maintaining the intensity of metalcore, while loading its songs with catchy ear candy. So even as the guitars roil, the drums barrel along and Buckley unleashes his feral screams, songs like “El Dorado,” “Decayin’ With The Boys” and “Old Light” deliver just enough sweetness to go with their crushing energy.

Every Time I Die is spending April touring the states as direct support for the Used. The band likes to change its set lists as tours unfold.

What won’t change is the unhinged energy the band brings to the stage. Buckley is famous for climbing to balconies and rafters, while other band members stoke mosh pits and other sorts of chaos within crowds. It may be a decade and a half since the Buckley Brothers and Williams formed Every Time I Die in Buffalo, New York, but Buckley said the group’s on-stage energy has not waned.

“It’s not getting any harder at the moment,” he says. “The hard part is the recovery takes longer. When you’re playing, you don’t pay attention to anything that hurts. Nothing hurts. Everything is great. It’s just tons of energy and that’s it. But when you’re 20, you get off the stage and you just go right out to like a bar to keep partying all night long. Now it’s like ‘I’ve got to get a bath, and maybe my three hours online and then a full night’s sleep.’”

Every Time I Die will perform with The Used on Friday, April 17 at Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St. in Cincinnati. Marmozets and The Eeries are also on the bill. Tickets start at $26.50. Doors open at 6 p.m. For more information, please visit everytimeidie.net.

Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at AlanSculley@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Alan Sculley
Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at AlanSculley@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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