Grand Central presents
Every Time I Die, The Acacia Strain
Vanna, Hundredth, No Bragging Rights
697 N Miami Ave.
Miami, FL, 33136
Every Time I Die
Every Time I Die have never been an easy act to categorize and that's one of the key reasons why the band's fans have never turned their back on this innovative act's unique brand of music. While the band started out in the late '90s hardcore scene, over the past decade they've continued to evolve and push the boundaries of heavy music, a process that's culminating with their sixth full-length Ex Lives. Recorded by Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age) Ex Lives sees the band—vocalist Keith Buckley, guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams, drummer Ryan Leger—coming together to create the most forward-thinking album of their career.
"Everything about this record was new," Keith explains. "Normally I'm in a comfort zone when I write lyrics because I'm just holed up in my apartment but this time I was finding little corners of clubs in Europe with [side-project] the Damned Things trying to squeeze in a couple of hours of writing and I think that process really affected the way this album came together."
Keith adds that although Every Time I Die's party vibe has been well-documented in the past, Ex Lives saw the band approaching the album from a more serious perspective. "There's no song like 'We'rewolf' on this album," Keith explains. "I was pretty angry when we were writing these songs which isn't a good spot for a human being but is good if you're a guy singing in a band," he continues with a laugh. "I was just really angry and disappointed with a lot of things in my life at the time and I think that definitely comes through on a lot of these songs; I was wondering if it was all karma because I was a horrible person in a past life and that's where the album title came from."
From the syncopated chaos of the opening salvo "Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space" to the progressive mosh anthem "A Wild, Shameless Plain" and relentless metal riffage of "The Low Road Has No Exits," Ex Lives sees Every Time I Die further tempering their aggression while also implementing new instrumentation such as banjo (see the sinister intro of "Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow") and, yes, flute (see the end of "Indian Giver") in order to recontextualize exactly what it means to be a heavy band, which is something that has endeared them to fans for thirteen years.
"I don't think us doing anything different is a surprise to Every Time I Die fans because one of the main reasons why a lot of people have stuck by us for so long is because they know they can expect the unexpected with each release," Keith explains, adding that if you listen close enough you'll take note of plenty of sonic subtleties on Ex Lives. "There are a lot of little weird things that I think people will start noticing more as they listen to the album," he elaborates. "I'd never added any keyboard or synthesizer elements to an Every Time I Die song before so it was a really cool opportunity to expand the sound on this disc."
Similarly Ex Lives also sees Keith pushing his limits on songs like "I Suck (Blood)," which proves how versatile the band's vocalist has become whether he's cathartically screaming or crooning an upper register melody. "On albums like [2007's] The Big Dirty no one heard my vocals until the album was totally done but on this one everyone had their input on what I was doing vocally and they could give me suggestions to improve them," Keith says, adding that this disc was more collaborative for the band. "I think I was also more energetic because I was nervous to sing in front of everyone."
It's impossible to deny that in an increasingly stagnant musical climate Every Time I Die are still pushing the limits of their own sound—and Ex Lives is aural evidence that after over a decade together they're anything but complacent. "I had to prove myself 100 percent from the beginning like I did when we put out our first record to show the other guys in Every Time I Die as well as myself that I could do this and I couldn't be happier with the end result," Keith summarizes when asked to describe Ex Lives. "This feels like a new band in a way… it's just its own thing and that feels really, really good."
The Acacia Strain
The Acacia Strain is an American deathcore band from Chicopee, Massachusetts
New England post-hardcore group Vanna have spent the last several years on a personal journey, and it's the experience of living on the road that has helped them to discover who they truly are. After years of relentless touring and musical growth, the band has found balance with A New Hope, both literally and figuratively.
Since the bands formation in 2004 Vanna – Chris Preece (vocals), Nick Lambert (guitar/vocals), Evan Pharmakis (guitar/vocals), Shawn Marquis (bass) and newcomer Chris Campbell (drums) – have built a strong following based on their killer live shows, which helped garner attention from Epitaph Records. The band signed with the label in 2005 and released their debut EP, The Search Party Never Came, the following year. With the EP's release came extensive touring until it was time to release their full length album, Curses, in 2007. Signaling growth sonically from the EP, Curses highlighted the band's metalcore side establishing them as one of the most interesting up-and-coming bands in the post-hardcore scene.
After almost two years of touring in support of Curses, the band returned to their roots and entered the studio with producer Steve Evetts (Every Time I Die, Story of the Year) to record A New Hope. With widening musical vision and hard-won experience under their belts, Vanna tackled the writing and recording of A New Hope with an added perspective and understanding.
"The writing and recording process naturally becomes more dialed and decisive with each record," explains Preece. "This record was approached with more of a group mentality. We talked a lot about what we liked and disliked about our last two releases, and each one of us were able to express ourselves in every step of the process."
"Steve Evetts was honestly just a great fit for us," adds Pharmakis. "For me personally it was great because I feel my relationship with the producer is important. If we mesh well it shows in the recording. The more comfortable you are the better you perform, the better you can concentrate and the better ideas you come up with as a team, as far as harmonies and melody ideas. And Steve was a great mentor. Chris Preece and I really meshed our lyric and vocal ideas together in a different way on this album and it worked out great. We definitely got to show a more melodic side on the record. I'd like to think this new record is like the perfect mix between our last two releases but with the sound we always wanted...and the skill it took time to earn."
The result of their collaborative efforts are twelve smartly written tracks that highlight the band's musical evolution, balancing the perfect fusion of emotive rock and perilous hardcore.
"Into Hell's Mouth We March," the first song released from A New Hope, rips the album open with the group's finest mix of melody and hardcore yet. While fans will appreciate Vanna's signature mix of weighty breakdowns and uplifting choruses, they'll also hear a progression in song-writing, gang vocals and more melodic singing from guitarist/vocalist Evan Pharmakis which makes for a much more accessible sound. Anthemic tracks like the first single "Safe To Say" and "We Are Nameless" bring the goosebumps, pushing with trashing guitars and pulling with captivating melody until you are chanting alongside the dueling vocalists.
"I feel like A New Hope is a fresh start," says Pharmakis. "This is exactly where we want to be, and I couldn't be happier with the direction of our music. This is Vanna, we are finally Vanna."
As Vanna looks forward with A New Hope, they continue down their unpredictable path of self discovery, continually growing and evolving with new purpose and A New Hope.
No Bragging Rights
No Bragging Rights began to take its present shape in the summer of 2005. Since then, the 5 piece Metalcore band has self released 2 CD's (an EP and a full Length) which have collectively sold 8k+ copies World Wide.
When NBR began work on their first self released full length album, "Because You Believe…" the band was at a crossroads. Member changes and new ideas took them in a heavier, more hardcore oriented direction. The early 2006 release was well received in the local scene, and helped establish the band outside of their home town.
"The Anatomy of a Martyr" EP released in the summer of 2007, and catapulted NBR to the national stage. Relentless DIY touring grew the band exponentially and attracted the attention of Pure Noise Entertainment. The label re-released "The Anatomy of a Martyr" in 2008, and in the spring of 2009 debuted "The Consequence of Dreams" LP.
Vocals - Mike Perez
Bass - "Handsome" Rick
Guitar - Christian Lee
Guitar - Daniel Garrow
Drums - Martin Alcedo
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