Every Time I Die

Gutter Phenomenon

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If this album is, as the press materials insist, a "party-friendly free-for-all," then there's something seriously wrong with parties these days. That's not to say that the music isn't impressive, just that it's hard to imagine chatting up a girl or laughing with friends while this album is playing anywhere in the vicinity. Every Time I Die prominently features groove-based Southern rock elements in its arrangements, but that's about where the fun ends: occasional (and brief) sung melodies arise now and then, but for the most part this is a straight-ahead exercise in hoarse screaming and dirty, bludgeoning guitars. Gutter Phenomenon opens with one of the album's strongest tracks, a blistering math-hardcore raveup titled "Apocalypse Now and Then" (they have a thing for cute titles; another song on this set is titled "Guitarred and Feathered"). "Kill the Music" is a bit more generic in its tight heaviosity, and "Bored Stiff" comes across as just a bunch of yelling for the sake of yelling. But "Champing at the Bit" actually exposes something approaching a pop sensibility lurking beneath the band's bristling aggression, and "Pretty Dirty" features nifty stop/start rhythms and some sustained examples of actual singing. Overall, not bad.

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