So what was the first thing I thought when I listened to "The Big Dirty," ETID's latest record? "Hmmm sounds like a heavier version of 'Gutter Phenomenon' just not as catchy or memorable." Thankfully though, like many good cds that I have been listening to lately, my first few initial listens weren't any indication of the album itself.
"The Big Dirty" sounds like a natural progression from where Every Time I Die left off with the last record. A lot more southern influence is creeping into their sound (and it's funny that as soon as these guys ditch the sound the majority of the scene is copying, a whole new crop of bands begin to rip off the new style they're developing) but there is still a healthy dosage of the hardcore and metal the band is known for.
Ripping and loud guitars dominate most of the songs, and while their not as mathematical or chaotic as they've been in the past, just try dismissing tracks like "Pigs is Pigs" and "Immitation is the Sincerest Form of Battery." Keith is still one of the more intelligent vocalists and lyricists in this style of music, and it seems like he's just getting better with every record the band releases. His vocals are top-notch and unlike "Gutter Phenomenon" which featured a heavy use of clean vocals, most of the time Keith chooses to scream rather than sing. The drums and bass aren't anything to write home about, but they're performed well and on point.
The complaints aren't anything that big, but they're enough to keep this from getting anything higher than a 4. First off "The Big Dirty" is simply lacking the catchiness and vocal melody that made "Gutter Phenomenon" so unexpected and appealing. There's not many memorable hooks or parts that I could immediately if I didn't think it over for a bit. Some songs seem to blend together, especially towards the end of the record, and that's kind of a drag. And while the guitars are still a great aspect of the band's sound, some parts feel pretty dry and generic and there aren't many riffs on here that I would rate among the best that the band has written over their four album career.
All in all though, "The Big Dirty" eventually turned out to be a lot better than I initially thought. It will probably take time for the songs to grow on you, but it seems that records like this offer much more replay value than records that you immediately like (and often times grow tired of fairly quickly). Sad to say though, I'm growing tired of this southern-rock/hardcore thing that ETID is experimenting with and I'd like to see them take their in a completley new direction next time around, at least in an attempt to keep it fresh.
Highlights : "Pigs Is Pigs," "Cities and Years," "Immitation is the Sincerest Form of Battery"