Album Review | Every Time I Die – Radical

This compelling story sounds like the start of a Shakespeare play. Two brothers prior in perfect harmony face each other in a dramatic duel after a public instance of supposed slander and betrayal. The audience watches and ping-pongs between both sides without a full resolution even after the final act. A mix of boos and calls for an encore erupt from the crowd, and there is no curtain call to be held.

No, this is not the story of Macbeth, or “the cursed play” as us former theater kids call it. This is how the band Every Time I Die broke up. Vocalist and songwriter Keith Buckley and guitarist brother Jordan both took to social media to tell their conflicting tales, with Keith on center stage explaining how he was kicked out of the band without notice. Jordan posted his own Hamilton papers detailing Keith’s substance abuse and mental health as a factor for the demise of the group after 20 years of music. We, as fans, were left with tragic reading material and no full answer on who was to be trusted.

Just months before the tell-all, ETiD released Radical, the Buffalo act’s ninth and final record. A wonderful mishmash of the band’s full theatrical body of work, this album features a dramatic final hurrah with standout tracks including the single “Sly” with a chorus similar to the operatic melodies of other groups including System Of A Down. Midway through the album, Buckley continues his collaborative talent with brother Jordan and Andrew Williams on guitars, as well as Stephen Micciche playing bass and  Clayton “Goose” Holyoak tackling the drums.

Radical’s most popular song is arguably “Post-Boredom,” which features the band’s signature Southern twang and knack for original lyrics that can be compared to classic plays and modern melodrama in pop culture. Personally, as one of the many avid fans left wondering “what the heck happened to Every Time I Die,” my favorite song “People Verses” shows up later on the album to reveal gorgeous clean vocals and the familiar balance between each individual band member’s talents. 

From start to finish, Radical is a somber farewell to a solid band, combining chaos and curiosity to anticipate what ETiD will do next. However, as William Shakespeare once wrote “These violent delights have violent ends.” But is this really the end of the Buckley brothers feud or is there a second act to follow? Maybe we should have read the playbill first to determine if the band’s breakup was merely an intermission or the final show of a long-running successful production.