Every Time I Die are at the top of their game. Having just released one of the best albums of their career, an accolade also awarded to their previous record, Low Teens, the mind baffles at how a band formed over 20 years ago and nine albums in can still be producing exhilarating music that burns with rage. Take note, young bloods.
With a five year gap since the band’s last record, ETID took their time unveiling Radical. Releasing a selection of choice singles teased last year, fans were privy to new material on the horizon, but had no idea when the main course would be arriving. Most of the band’s records occur every other year, so a gap of more than three years seemed unprecedented. Would fans be waiting for another Fear Inoculum?
Speaking to founding member and guitarist Andy Williams, the Buffalo band were in no rush to release the record to the world. Setting an initial release date for Radical on 11th September 2020, Every Time I Die would have been unable to capitalise on the album’s arrival, as touring was in a constant state of flux due to various travel restrictions. “The minute we saw bands going on tour, we knew it was time to set a release date” recounts Williams. Having spoken to many of his peers in other bands revealed a level of regret for not waiting for album launches. Whether it be management, record labels, or the bands themselves, many jumped the gun, anticipating lockdown to end only a few weeks later.
Fast forward to autumn of 2021, Radical has been announced and anticipation from fans is at fever pitch. Yet the excitement is at the risk of waning in the ETID camp. “I’ve been listening to this record for two years. There are songs I’ve never played once that I’m tired of listening to!” jokes Williams. The seemingly endless waiting has evoked parallels to the band’s early days. While they were quick to put out material in the form of an initial demo, it took some time for Every Time I Die to hit the stage. “We waited forever to play a show because we wanted it to be great”, Williams recollects, “it kind of feels like that again, because we just want the world to hear it, but they can’t”.
Yet despite this parallel to the band’s beginnings, Every Time I Die’s career has been sparse on down time. With a heavy schedule of recording, touring, recording, touring, recording and then yet more touring, the New Yorkers have not been used to such periods of inactivity. “I’ve never had the amount of time off I did just to care about my body, to care about life outside the band” explains Williams, “the last 25 years, I’ve never had time to do any of that.” While not taking to the stage as a guitarist, Williams also performs as The Butcher, a professional wrestler for All Elite Wrestling. Signing with AEW at the tail end of 2019, Williams managed to keep himself busy (as well as earning a pay cheque) when the band went down. Having alternate outlets besides his band helped to keep the boredom of lockdown at bay, whether that be entering the ring as The Butcher, or having the opportunity to spend time at home with his fiancée and go hiking with his dogs. “This part of life didn’t really matter, because that part of life mattered too much,” reflects Williams on his life on the road. “Touring is gonna be completely different for me now. I’m gonna have a bunch of anxieties to work through.”
Even with a newfound apprehension for returning to the stage, Williams remains confident with the material present on Radical. Sounding as heavy and ferocious as ever, yet still showcasing some tender moments, exemplified by the indie-tinged ‘Thing With Feathers’, featuring Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull, the harshest of critics will struggle to find a weak link on Every Time I Die’s latest output. “The reason why this record has 16 songs on it is because we wrote that many songs that are worthy of putting on a record,” explains Williams, “the day when we have 16 songs written but it seems like 4 can only go on the record, it’s gonna be ugly.” This desire to produce the best material possible with no compromise is what has kept Every Time I Die’s work held in such high esteem. The band consistently reaffirm their status as modern day legends of the hardcore scene with each release showing no relent in their raw energy, with the live shows boasting an even more visceral and yet jovial nature. At the formation of the band, it was agreed that once their collective passion had run dry, or they were no longer focused on the music, it would be time to hang up their hats. “When the music is not the important thing, you should start thinking of something else.”
Radical is out now via Epitaph Records
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