Where it all began, sorta.
It’s been a full decade since Every Time I Die’s Hot Damn! was released, and the album is still considered by many of the band’s following to be their best. At just 27 minutes, it’s a tightly wound and frenetic jammer. As the album that led me to become an ETIDiot myself, I have fond memories of listening to songs like the illustrious “Floater” and “I Been Gone a Long Time” for the first time.
Hell, the band themselves still like it, which says quite a bit, actually. A while back, lead vocalist Keith Buckley and his brother/guitarist Jordan reviewed their own records and gave Hot Damn! a 5 out of 6. For a band to release an album in this genre, still be together 10 years later, have drawn a large enough following to be asked to review their subsequent records (on camera, no less) and not dog on their early material is a testament unto itself. Staying power, humble braggadocio and genuine content with an album that established the violent nature of their music and tone of Keith’s language – it’s all there.
I wrote last month about the band’s latest, the tremendous Ex Lives, and how earlier this year when they played here in Tampa, they opened with “Floater” first, destroying an 18-song set list. It was far and away one of, if not the best punk rock show I’ve ever been to.
What’s the legacy of Hot Damn! for me, on a personal level? Well, “Godspeed Us to Sea” hooked me as a fan in 2003 or 2004, and even though up to that point, their back material wasn’t something I fancied (with the exception of “The Logic of Crocodiles” from Last Night in Town), every release since has been downright brilliant.
There’s hints of upcoming records all over Hot Damn! “I Been Gone a Long Time” shows the first signs of the sheer raunch they perfected two albums later on The Big Dirty. The aforementioned “Floater” has as infamous a breakdown as “After One Quarter of a Revolution” from New Junk Aesthetic. And I’m sure opener “Romeo A Go-Go” has been the vehicle for as many circle pits as “Bored Stiff” and Gutter Phenomenon.
As aggressive and concentrated as the band has ever been. Like the group’s own personal compact vehicle or something. Just don’t call it their Smart Car.
From Hot Damn!, this is “I Been Gone a Long Time” –
Standout tracks: “Romeo A Go-Go,” “I Been Gone a Long Time,” “Godspeed Us to Sea” and “Floater”
Weakest track: “In the Event That Everything Should Go Terribly Wrong” – If I’m not mistaken, the last time the band ever did a purely instrumental track (for good reason).
RIYL: Hardcore punk, metal, metalcore. The Chariot (RIP), Norma Jean, Dillinger, Botch.