Every Time I Die album guide: a look back at 20+ years of metalcore innovation
Following the news of their breakup, this edition of 'In Defense of the Genre' dives deep into the consistently rewarding and innovative discography of Every Time I Die.
January brought the news that Every Time I Die had broken up after 23 years, nine albums, endless touring, several editions of their own hometown festival, and so much more. The sudden news came just three months after the band's career and legacy hit a new high with the release of Radical, and one month before ETID were to set begin a lengthy North American tour. Combined with members feuding in the public eye, it's been a messy and abrupt ending to a career that outlasted so many of the band's peers and inspired multiple generations along the way, but in the long run, the details of the band's demise will fade and their impact will only strengthen.
News of the band's breakup was instantly met by a sea of tributes from fans and other bands, and if you're one of those fans, you know why this band meant so much to so many people. But if you're new to ETID and wondering where to start with their vast catalog, we've put together a guide to the band's nine full-length albums and 2000 debut EP.
Every Time I Die formed in Buffalo, New York in 1998 with brothers Keith and Jordan Buckley on lead vocals and lead guitar, respectively, Andy Williams (who you also may now know as pro wrestler The Butcher) on rhythm guitar, and Mike "Ratboy" Novak on drums. After cycling through a couple bassists, they would land on Steve Micciche, who remained with the band for the bulk of their career (save for a hiatus in the mid to late 2000s). After a promising debut EP with 2000's The Burial Plot Bidding War, the band inked a deal with Ferret Records -- one of the core record labels of the early 2000s metalcore boom -- and they quickly became staples of the genre. By 2003's Hot Damn!, they'd released an album that would one day be considered one of the best, most important, and most influential metalcore albums of all time. ETID's growing interest in Southern rock riffs and radio-friendly hooks led to greater popularity on followup albums Gutter Phenomenon (2005) and The Big Dirty (2007), and when their deal with Ferret ended after The Big Dirty, they teamed up with punk powerhouse Epitaph Records, with whom they remained for the remainder of their career.
Their 2009 Epitaph debut New Junk Aesthetic ended up being their last with Mike "Ratboy" Novak, and he'd be succeeded by Ryan "Leg$" Leger (formerly of Dead and Divine) and Daniel Davison (Norma Jean, Underoath), before the 2017 recruiting of Clayton "Goose" Holyoak (Fear Before the March of Flames, Norma Jean), who remained with ETID until the end and made his studio debut on Radical. As the metalcore craze was dying down in the late 2000s and early 2010s, with many of ETID's peers fizzling out, breaking up, or pivoting to other styles of music, Every Time I Die kept pushing forward and staying true to themselves. As much as the 2000s albums are the band's scene-defining classics, the 2010s albums are the ones where Every Time I Die transcended any scene, genre, or trend and became an institution. They didn't try to fit with the times, but they never rehashed old ideas or sounded outdated either. They kept innovating, kept blazing their own trail, and gained a lot of new fans in the process. There will always be the fans who say nothing can never top Hot Damn!, but there's a large faction of ETID fans who swear by the later albums. They took ETID's sound to places it had never been, and they resonated with an audience who was too young to experience Hot Damn! in real time, resulting in the greatest longevity metalcore had seen since Converge.
As ETID kept trucking, they eventually became influential elder statesmen to the current waves of hardcore and metalcore, with Keith guesting on modern-day landmark albums by Knocked Loose and SeeYouSpaceCowboy and with ETID bringing bands like Turnstile and Vein on tour. It was also around this time that ETID -- who had previously worked with a slew of legendary producers, including Steve Evetts, Kurt Ballou, and Adam Dutkiewicz -- formed a collaborative relationship with producer Will Putney (of Fit For An Autopsy and END), who has become the go-to producer for the modern metalcore scene, having worked with both Knocked Loose and Vein, and a slew of others. With Will, ETID made their final two records, 2016's Low Teens and 2021's Radical, albums that positioned ETID at the forefront of metalcore's latest wave, not just influential on it. Radical especially felt like the culmination of everything Every Time I Die built; it's sad that it marks the end of the band's career, but it's the perfect note to go out on. It solidified their legacy.
The Burial Plot Bidding War EP (2000)
Every Time I Die ended up as one of the most individual, singular bands in heavy music, but they came from humble beginnings. Seeing how far they've come, it's fascinating to now listen back to their 2000 debut EP The Burial Plot Bidding War, a five-song collection initially released on Goodfellow Records that pulls from '90s metalcore bands like Botch, Deadguy, and fellow Upstate New Yorkers Snapcase and Earth Crisis and wears its influences on its sleeves. It's hardly recognizable as the Every Time I Die today, but for what it is, it rips. It's one of the band's rawest, gnarliest, and noisiest releases, and it's no surprise that the EP quickly generated interest in the band. It might not have been the most groundbreaking debut, but it was clear that this band was a force to be reckoned with off the bat -- super tight and incredibly vicious.
Last Night In Town (2001)
With The Burial Plot Bidding War stirring up buzz for Every Time I Die, the band inked a deal with Ferret Records, who had previously put out music for Converge, Killswitch Engage, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more, and was on its way to becoming one of the most important labels of the early 2000s metalcore boom, and they hit the studio with producer Adam Dutkiewicz (of Killswitch Engage), who was on his way to becoming one of the most important producers of the metalcore boom. (They also nabbed a guest vocal spot from Howard Jones, then of the Ferret-signed Blood Has Been Shed, later frontman of Killswitch Engage.) And it wasn't just that more doors were opening for ETID; they were severely stepping it up as a band too. The leap they took in just one year from The Burial Plot Bidding War was so massive that ETID practically sounded like a different band. The same influences they had on the EP were still there, but a whole lot of others were too. You could tell that Keith had fallen in love with Glassjaw, 'cause this album found him working in flamboyant clean vocals that earned quite a few comparisons to Daryl Palumbo, and his newfound knack for clean singing wasn't the only thing different about it. Last Night In Town found ETID bottling up their mathcore chaos, lighting it on fire, and turning it into something theatrical, shapeshifting, and entirely self-assured. Lyrical references to "Isn't She Lovely" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," mock corporate slogans, and the urging of "everybody please remain calm" are set against death, violence, addition, and melodrama, and the whole thing is dripping with sarcasm. Even before Every Time I Die fully transcended metalcore, Last Night In Town made it clear that ETID had no interest in being tied to one specific genre, roping in elements of post-hardcore, emo, and straight-up rock and roll as they cruise through an album that's as hellish as it is fun and inviting. The best for ETID was still yet to come, but even knowing how far this band would eventually go, Last Night In Town still holds up.
Hot Damn! (2003)
Last Night In Town established ETID as one of the most exciting bands of metalcore's second wave, but it wasn't until Hot Damn! that they'd fully found their own voices and written something wholly transportive. Even if Every Time I Die had broken up after this album, they'd still be on the Mount Rushmore of 2000s metalcore thanks to Hot Damn! alone. It's the album where they took what they liked from metalcore and post-hardcore and their growing interest in Southern rock, threw out what they didn't, and came out with an entirely original version of hardcore-derived rock music. It's not hard to pick apart the influences behind The Burial Plot Bidding War and Last Night In Town, but once Hot Damn! came out, Every Time I Die were the ones spawning imitators.
For Hot Damn!, ETID had welcomed bassist Steve Micciche (formerly of Kid Gorgeous) into their lineup, solidifying one of their most classic lineups, and they teamed up with producer Eric Rachel (who'd previously worked with Nora, Atreyu, and more), who helped them achieve a production style that was more polished than either of their previous releases, but still caustic and pulverizing. As both a singer and a screamer, Keith had developed a voice that was entirely recognizable as his own, and his lyrics became increasingly literary, referential, sarcastic, theatrical, and full of power and depth. It's the album where ETID developed their reputation for highly quotable drinking lyrics ("When in Rome we shall do as the Romans/When in hell we do shots at the bar"), but the mood was always more melancholic than it was mindless and celebratory. And the rest of the band was leveling up too; Jordan and Andy had become the two-headed riff machine that they'd continue to oil until the band's breakup, Steve gave them a thicker, more thunderous low end than ever, and drummer Ratboy had come up with the lively, creative style that made ETID's music something you could dance to, and still have time for breakdowns.
For many, Hot Damn! is the crown jewel of ETID's discography. I'd argue that they've topped it at least once (and probably more than once), but it's certainly their most important and influential album, and they've never made another record that sounds like it. And when you're in the mood for Hot Damn!, nothing else scratches the itch. None of ETID's successors are this raw and primitive, and none of their previous albums are this hair-raising. It's the sound of a band turning from a good band into a great band. The success of the album (and its single "Ebolarama") would allow ETID to go far beyond the hardcore scene on their next album, but what makes Hot Damn! so charming is that, for all its ambition, it still feels like an underground hardcore record. It sounds like the work of a band who had the desire and the chops to break out of the underground, but the humility and loyalty to stay within it. That dichotomy fueled so many of the best hardcore-derived albums of all time, and Hot Damn! is absolutely one of them.
Gutter Phenomenon (2005)
After Hot Damn! catapulted Every Time I Die to the upper echelon of metalcore, that made an album that looked far beyond the genre: 2005's Gutter Phenomenon. They embraced radio-friendly production (courtesy of Lamb of God/Clutch collaborator Machine), fully leaned into their love of classic rock, and wrote choruses that the average rock fan could sing along to, one of which was sung by My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way, who had become an MTV star a year earlier. (They also got longtime inspiration Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw to lend his voice to "Champing at the Bit.") The guests might've helped draw in some new fans, but more important was the development of Keith's own voice. He had already done clean vocals on the previous two albums, but he'd never belted like he did on "The New Black," a bluesy, anthemic hard rock song that was almost entirely stripped of the band's hardcore roots, included on Guitar Hero II, and the reason so many people were introduced to Every Time I Die.
The irony of "The New Black"'s success is that it was actually intended as satirical commentary about selling out, but Every Time I Die managed to escape receiving their own sellout accusations because their accessible record wasn't watered-down or cheesy or at odds with the band's roots. It was already clear by Hot Damn! that ETID were dead set on always pushing forward and never repeating themselves, and that's exactly what they did on Gutter Phenomenon. The album didn't abandon anything ETID had previously stood for; it expanded upon what they had already built. And even if it doesn't have the same cultural cachet as Hot Damn!, it was, in many ways, an improvement upon its predecessor. Fully embracing their classic/Southern rock influences only made Jordan and Andy's riffs more badass and more memorable, and the cleaner production made them sound larger than life. Mike Novak's drumming had gotten tighter, more powerful, and more melodic. And "The New Black" wasn't the only song that found Keith adding new vocal tricks to his repertoire. He had evolved as both a singer and a screamer, and Gutter Phenomenon saw him blurring the lines between those two things more than ever before, coming out with throat-shredding songs that still passed as singalongs. It was the tightest, catchiest, and most focused and concise record that ETID had made at that point. Whether or not you liked it more than its predecessors, you at least had to admit it was a natural and significant evolution.
It's fitting that Gutter Phenomenon is the ETID album that Daryl Palumbo appears on, as it's the one where ETID achieved the thing Keith heard the first time he listened to Glassjaw's breakout song, "Ape Dos Mil." "I remember thinking, 'What the fuck are they doing? Hardcore bands can't write songs like this,'" Keith told Eli Enis in an interview with Revolver last year. "I wanted to sing it. I wanted to be responsible for it, to say that I was in the band that had written it." Keith never went back in time and joined Glassjaw, but with Gutter Phenomenon, ETID made a hardcore record that followed in the melodically innovative footsteps of "Ape Dos Mil."
The Big Dirty (2007)
If anyone did worry that Gutter Phenomenon would put Every Time I Die on the path towards selling out, The Big Dirty squashed those fears in its first 30 seconds. The album continued to hone the metalcore/Southern rock fusion that began on its predecessor, but it's in every way a darker, meaner, heavier album. Even its most accessible and most popular song, "We'rewolf," doubles as one of Every Time I Die's most sinister. The band was continuing to evolve in every way on The Big Dirty -- its riffs bigger and bolder than Gutter Phenomenon's, Keith's screams more ferocious and his lyrics more potent. And credit where it's due to producer Steve Evetts, who made The Big Dirty the most timeless-sounding record ETID had released yet. Steve was already a legendary producer in the metalcore scene thanks to his work on classic albums by Deadguy, Snapcase, Hatebreed, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more, and he knew how to help elevate ETID's sound to a place where it would outlast trends. It was exactly what the music called for; these songs were as loud, brash, and sarcastic as everything that ETID had put out prior, but they had a real sense of maturation too. (And another cool guest vocalist came in the form of Alexisonfire's Dallas Green, who traded lines with Keith on "INRIhab.")
On a macro level, The Big Dirty is probably a little less "important" than Hot Damn! and Gutter Phenomenon -- the former made ETID a defining band within metalcore and the latter opened so many new doors for them outside of it -- but within the world of Every Time I Die, The Big Dirty is a hugely important record. Hot Damn! and Gutter Phenomenon sound like the work of a hungry band with a live-fast-die-young mentality, but The Big Dirty is the first inkling that Every Time I Die were in it for the long haul. It doubled down on Gutter Phenomenon's promise that ETID would make whatever music felt most right to them, regardless of what anyone else expected or wanted from them - a promise that ETID would triple and quadruple down on in the years to come. When it first came out, I didn't like it quite as much as its predecessors, but these days, I find myself returning to it more than I listen to the earlier stuff. Tons of fickle, personal, highly subjective biases play into why that is, but right now, I'd say this one holds up just a little better.
New Junk Aesthetic (2009)
Every Time I Die found themselves at a crossroads in 2009. They'd fulfilled their contract with Ferret Records and needed a new home (and there was at least some interest from major labels), drummer Mike "Ratboy" Novak quit the band due to "personal conflicts," and the metalcore craze had been dying down. But as old doors were closing, new ones were opening. They found the perfect new home at Epitaph Records, and after cycling through bassists, they finally locked one down with Josh Newton (formerly of Shiner, From Autumn To Ashes, and more). Throughout all of this, ETID persevered, stuck to their guns, and made another great record: New Junk Aesthetic.
Working once again with Steve Evetts, ETID finished recording the album with Ratboy before his departure (but released it afterwards), and they continued to flesh out the ideas they'd begun crafting earlier that decade. ETID's discography is hard to rank because they don't really have low points, but if NJA feels like a lower point, it's only because it was ETID's first album that didn't feel like a significant evolution from the last. It honed and perfected their sound more than it evolved it, which in the long run is never a bad thing, and ETID came out with some of the best songs of their career in the process. It found them continuing to develop their pop sensibilities ("Wanderlust"), continuing to dish out iconic one-liners ("We are the death of the party/We are the life of the funeral"), continuing to work in a more unpredictable/experimental side ("Turtles All the Way Down"), and continuing to kick major ass. The guest vocalists on this album are as well-curated as ever, with tracks featuring The Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato, Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, and The Bronx's Matt Caughthran, and it's the song with Matt -- album closer "The Sweet Life" -- that just might be New Junk Aesthetic's secret weapon. It's a total rarity that, according to Setlist.fm, the band only performed three times in 2010 before breaking it out at their last-ever show with help from Matt himself, and it's the perfect balance between the young, hungry band that made Last Night In Town and the genre and scene defying band ETID had become. A revved-up, metalpunk rager, it comes with the same winking references to other song's lyrics that ETID had on their debut (in this case, "Break My Stride"), and Keith and Matt sound like they're challenging each other to go harder and harder as the song progresses. It's heavy, it's catchy, it's erratic -- it's everything you want from this band.
Ex Lives (2012)
If New Junk Aesthetic concluded the first chapter of Every Time I Die's career, then Ex Lives absolutely began the second. By 2012, the 2000s metalcore boom was dead and gone, with most of the early '00s bands broken up or changing their sound, as new subgenres like deathcore, crabcore, and Risecore had taken over. Instead of chasing trends or falling into familiar patterns, Every Time I Die put out Ex Lives, an album that marked their most drastic creative leap in years but also felt distinctly like Every Time I Die and no other band. This album kickstarted a new era for the band, one where they continued to define what it meant to be Every Time I Die, one that attracted a new generation of fans, and one that eventually led to the most ambitious music of their career, their 2021 swan song Radical. ETID's entire career had been one long work in progress, which is why it never got unexciting, but much of what culminated on Radical began on Ex Lives. Without this album, the final decade of ETID's career would've played out very differently. And this one holds up as one of their best.
Ex Lives makes ETID's mission clear right off the bat with album opener "Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space," which quickly and deservedly became one of the band's signature tracks. "I WANT TO BE DEAD WITH MY FRIENDS!" Keith shrieks repeatedly before the music even fully kicks in, and once it does, Jordan and Andy bust out some of their most furious mathcore riffage since Hot Damn!. Just when you think you've got it pegged as one of ETID's ragers, they pull a 180 and bring in a clean vocal hook that simultaneously channels their pop side and their experimental side -- a move that's both thrilling and unexpected. And as Keith displays on this song and throughout the rest of Ex Lives, his lyricism had taken a big leap with this album. He could still be sardonic and theatrical on this album ("Places, everyone!", he commands on "I Suck [Blood]"), but Ex Lives leaned heavily into the more poetic, philosophical side that would define Keith's songwriting for the final decade of ETID's career. And there's a line on "UBFOS" that's been quoted a lot since ETID broke up: "We made the scene when we made a scene/And though it was brief, it meant everything." Yeah.
Expertly produced by Joe Barresi (who had previously worked with Queens of the Stone Age, Bad Religion, Isis, and more), Ex Lives has a big, spacious sound that allows ETID's pure aggression to shine through, but that's much warmer and more organic sounding than typical metalcore production. It was the perfect fit for the band's increasingly experimental songwriting, which was going in all sorts of new directions on Ex Lives. Plenty of the classic ETID sound remained, but Ex Lives is a weirder, deeper, more wholly original album than much of what ETID had released previously. It seamlessly and unpredictably moves between screaming and singing, between riffs and atmosphere, and it's packed with memorable hooks and one-liners. It was their first album with drummer Ryan "Leg$" Leger, and maybe he helped breathe some new life into the band, but it really just felt like ETID as a whole had become something they had never been before. Earlier Every Time I Die albums had reached beyond metalcore, but this album marked the first time ETID fully transcended any scene or genre.
From Parts Unknown (2014)
Every Time I Die were constantly doing the unexpected, so it makes sense that they followed Ex Lives with an album that was not like Ex Lives at all. For From Parts Unknown, they welcomed back Hot Damn! bassist Steve Micciche (who would remain with them until the end), and -- crucially -- they hit the studio with producer Kurt Ballou of Converge. Converge's chaotic sound was of course a major influence on ETID since day one, and Kurt is known for producing some pretty abrasive shit, so it makes sense that the album with Kurt is also ETID's most straight-up heavy album since Hot Damn!. It kicks off with two of the most furious, bludgeoning songs ETID had released in years, one of which features throat-shredding growls by Sean Ingram of mathcore legends Coalesce. From there, FPU continues to offer up some of the fastest, angriest, most purely brutal music of ETID's career. Coming this late in the game, after ETID had progressed and matured so much, it resulted in a record that wasn't so much a return to form, but more of a revision of form. On the surface, it's the 2010s album that's most similar to Hot Damn!, but the more you dive into it, the more you see it's so much more than that.
For all of FPU's chaos, signs of the band's evolution poked their way through too. "Decayin' with the Boys" finds the middle ground between this album's hardcore fury and the more accessible side of the other post-Hot Damn! albums, and it remained a fan-fave live staple until the band's breakup. "Moor" the album's most experimental song, opening as a piano ballad and closing with nasty, detuned, subterranean riffage. "Old Light" recruits The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon to inject a dose of melodic punk over a riff that kinda sounds like Blondie's "Will Anything Happen," and it still manages to be full of darkness. The album is a late-career triumph, one that went left when most would've expected them to go right, and still stands out as an ETID album like no other. It continued to establish ETID as an enduring band with more longevity than so many of their peers, and Keith himself screamed about on "Overstayer." "I should've drowned in the flood with the rest/I had the chance, but here I am."
For the completists out there, the 'From Parts Unknown' sessions also produced the four-song 'Salem' EP, which includes two songs that also ended up on the deluxe edition of 'FPU.'
Low Teens (2016)
From Parts Unknown was a cathartic detour from what Every Time I Die began with Ex Lives, but Low Teens put them right back on the same envelope-pushing path as their 2012 LP. It's quintessential Every Time I Die, with 13 songs that push the band in all sorts of directions, from their bluesiest licks (the intros of "Fear and Trembling" and "It Remembers") to their most furious hardcore ("Glitches," "Just as Real but Not as Brightly Lit") to their catchiest singalongs ("C++ [Love Will Get You Killed]," "Two Summers") to their most unpredictable and genre-defying moments ("Religion of Speed"). They pay tribute to their OG metalcore roots with guest barks on "Fear and Trembling" from Tim Singer of Deadguy, who were a clear influence on ETID since day one, and they also go in the exact opposite direction, embracing pop crossover with a guest appearance by Panic! the Disco's Brendon Urie, who sounds way more natural on an Every Time I Die song than you might've guessed he would. (Side note: Brendon should do more metalcore! He's good at it!) And throughout all of it, Keith -- who had published his first novel Scale a year prior -- continued to expand his lyricism, writing songs that were literary and poetic like "Fear and Trembling," as well as more personal songs that touched on his wife, newborn child, and his own struggles with alcohol, and more macro issues like the terrorist attack in Paris that inspired "Glitches." As on From Parts Unknown's "Overstayer," Low Teens also looks at what's going on internally when you're fronting a band and living in the public eye for this long. "I want to live in the year 2000/When I was dumb enough to truly believe," he sings on "Awful Lot," and on "The Coin Has A Say" he adds, "I can't go back to what I was/Metallica without the drugs."
As the band's second consecutive album with Hot Damn!-era bassist Steve Micciche, Low Teens found ETID continuing to cement what would become the "core four" of the band's lineup, and continuing to progress their chemistry too. The Jordan Buckley/Andy Williams riff machine is operating in full force, and Steve's basslines are a crucial part of that too. Also holding down the rhythm section with Steve is drummer Daniel Davison (previously of Norma Jean and Underoath), who was only in ETID for this album and whose busy, hard-hitting style was no small part of what made Low Teens such a force. Last and not even close to least was producer Will Putney (of Fit For An Autopsy and END). Will was on his way to becoming the go-to producer for the modern metalcore scene that took shape in the late 2010s, making him the perfect fit for a veteran band who had no interest in looking backwards. Low Teens was the band's first of two albums with Will, and their bond only strengthened over the years, which would soon leave a noticeable impact on ETID's towering swan song Radical.
Everything that Every Time I Die had been building towards since Ex Lives, if not since Hot Damn!, came together on Radical. It might be recency bias, but I feel pretty confident calling this the best album Every Time I Die ever made. Considering how soon after its release ETID broke up, they had to at least have some idea that they might never make another album again after this, and it feels like they really put every single thing they had into it. It's their longest album, their most ambitious, and it gives you everything you've ever wanted from Every Time I Die and more. You want Hot Damn! style ragers? "Sly" and "Planet Shit." A big, open-hearted singalong like "The New Black" and "Wanderlust"? "Post-Boredom" and "White Void." The more experimental side of albums like Ex Lives and Low Teens? "We Go Together" or "All This and War," the latter of which features another lifelong metalcore innovator: Josh Scogin of The Chariot, Norma Jean, and '68. Something that sounds absolutely nothing like anything ETID have ever done? The brooding goth of "Desperate Pleasures" or the shimmering, post-rocky "Thing With Feathers," which features angelic guest vocals from Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull. For longtime fans, Radical is the culmination of everything they've ever done, and for new listeners, it's the perfect introduction. The band's breakup may have been messy, but Radical was the neatest possible conclusion to 20+ years of metalcore innovation.
Produced once again by Will Putney, it's one of the band's best sounding records, and new drummer Clayton "Goose" Holyoak (previously of Fear Before the March of Flames and Norma Jean) proved to be Radical's secret weapon. Goose had big shoes to fill, but he's one of the most interesting, talented, and effective drummers that ETID ever had. What he and Steve Micciche do on "Post-Boredom" is some of the most infectious stuff in ETID's catalog. Riffs-wise, Radical is an absolute triumph. Whether it's the brick-heavy sludge of "Dark Distance" or the Converge-y math-metal of "Planet Shit," Jordan and Andy truly sound better than ever. And as a singer, screamer, and lyricist, Keith has never been better. His hooks are addictive, his screams are ferocious, and these are some of the most impactful songs he's ever written. He touches on topics like the death of his and Jordan's sister ("Thing With Feathers") and systemic racism ("Planet Shit"), and he leaves you hanging on his every word. Radical also has some of Keith's most deeply personal songs yet. As he was working on this LP, he got sober, divorced, and adopted a fresh new outlook on life. Just based on the information that's out there, it seems like his new outlook is part of what led to Keith being distanced from his bandmates, and listening to a song like "Hostile Architecture" now, it's hard not to wonder if some of the feelings expressed in this song were related to the band's demise ("I look at everything I love, and all I can think about is losing it," "A real 'party's over' atmosphere/You can't go home, but you can't stay here"). Once known for his scathing sarcasm, Radical is some of the most earnest and sincere writing of Keith's career, paired with some of the most badass and innovative music of Every Time I Die's career. It's not often that a band reaches their full potential 20+ years and nine albums into their career, but Every Time I Die did. This is their magnum opus.
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