Every Time I Die is the Second Greatest Band of All Time


Parker Traman

As I sit here contemplating my life choices and sipping on some cherry limeade, an opinion dawned on me: Every Time I Die really is the second best band in the history of humanity. Might sound outlandish I know, because surely no band deserves a title that ends in “Band of All Time” besides Converge (that includes “Best,” “Worst,” “Weirdest,” etc.), however ETID provides an amazing blend of chaotic hardcore, pop rock, southern rock, with a dash of pianos, organs, and ambiance.

ETID formed in Buffalo, New York in the late 1990’s Keith and Jordan Buckley (who man the vocals and guitar duties respectively), before recruiting human mammoth Andy “The Butcher” Williams for secondary guitar duties. They brought on various bassists and drummers throughout their run, however their most stable lineup also included drummer Mike “Ratboy” Novak, who served the band from circa-2000 to 2009.

In 2001, they released their debut full-length record via Ferret Records, titled Last Night in Town, which is a fine debut full of darkly comedic lyrics and a surprising amount of diversity within the music itself. For being a young band more concerned with fueling their alcoholism, they employed styles reminiscent of mathcore pioneers Botch, along with acoustic parts along with pianos because they’re built like that. “The Logic of Crocodiles” has actually managed to stay as a top five ETID track for me, just an absolute romp of a track.

2003 saw them release Hot Damn!, which is still one of their finest records. A crisp runtime rolling around the late twenties and ten songs of early-2000’s hardcore glory. “Romeo a Go-Go,” “Off Broadway,” “She’s My Rushmore,” “Floater,” “In the Event That Everything Should Go Terribly Wrong,” and “Ebolarama” are all bangers that live among the upper echelon of ETID’s catalog.

Not every band is consistent, and when ETID dropped Gutter Phenomenon in 2005 they proved that. While the tracks I do enjoy are bangers in their own right, some of the weakest ETID tracks fester here. Featuring a more upbeat, more poppy sound, it provides a fun time for about five or six tracks. “Bored Stiff,” “The New Black,” and “L’astronaut” are tracks I regularly revisit.

Thank God ETID bounced back on their next record though, as 2007′ The Big Dirty still remains as one of their very best records. Featuring a much slower and cleaner sound enlisting their southern rock sensibilities for the very first time, The Big Dirty is actually one of the first albums I ever listened to. It’s not my favorite ETID album, but it’s solid all the way through without a single track I’d call forgettable. Check out “No Son of Mine,” “Leatherneck,” “We’rewolf,” “INRIhab,” and “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Battery” if you please!

2009’s New Junk Aesthetic marked the end of their longest tenured drummer’s run, as Ratboy departed from the band as soon as the album dropped. The southern styles were dropped a tad here, in favor of a more sludgy and gross sound. Oddly enough, I find this to be the heavy version of Gutter Phenomenon and it works so much better honestly. “Wanderlust” is rightfully one of their most popular songs, while “Roman Holiday,” “Who Invited the Russian Soldier?,” “White Smoke,” and “Turtles All the Way Down” all provide a little something extra.

Ex Lives dropped in 2012, and is probably their most experimental album. Fueled by more ambient sound, the band played a freakin’ banjo on this one! Sadly, it doesn’t pack as much of a punch as their other records, and suffers from weak production. “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space,” “I Suck (Blood),” and “Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow” all go crazy.

In 2014, ETID did something unprecedented, and something I would surely wet the bed to: they hired Converge guitarist, Kurt Ballou, to produce their record, From Parts Unknown. Undoubtedly their heaviest album (along with being their grooviest), it falls in the middle of the pack somewhat in terms of enjoyability, as some tracks fall just a bit short. “Idiot” is an absolute trip though.

Low Teens for the longest time was my favorite ETID album by far. Released in 2016, I view this as their most personal record, as many songs here were birthed out (no pun intended) of Keith Buckley’s young daughter who almost passed away in the hospital. I simply cannot say anything here to describe this album, as it’s dang near perfect honestly. It features some of the very best songs of their career such as “Glitches,” “C++ (Love Will Get You Killed),” “The Coin Has a Say,” “It Remembers,” “Just as Real but Not as Brightly Lit,” and “Map Change”.

Okay so I said that Low Teens was my favorite ETID album “…for the longest time…” and it’s crazy to say, but it’s 2021 follow up, Radical, is somehow better. Being their longest record to date, featuring tracks soaking with that poppy sound that made them slow down back in 2005, they finally perfected their sound and dropped a banger of a record. Sadly the closer “We Go Together” isn’t a good sendoff by any means, but it’s more than made up for by tracks like “Post-Boredom,” “Thing with Feathers,” “The Whip,” “White Void,” and “People Verses”.

Sadly in early 2022, ETID had an ugly breakup as Keith and Jordan had a falling out. Luckily for me, I got to see them live at one of their last shows ever as a band, and it was an ethereal experience I will never forget. I got to meet Andy and Jordan, and they were such swell and humble dudes who provided me with some of my most cherished albums of all time. They just aren’t Converge. Eat Arby’s.