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Every Time I Die Rips Up Heritage Hall

Blast beats, mosh pits, and a surge of kids who wore studded belts in high school descended upon Heritage Hall last night for a performance by aggressive metal-core veterans, Every Time I Die. The hardcore scene that  is noticeably absent at Penn State crawled from the corners of campus and joined together for a night of sludgy breakdowns, blasting at deafeningly loud decibels.

The crowd of roughly 150 students and out-of-towners wasn’t an impressive showing, but the lack of numbers was made up for by the intensity that ran like electricity through those in attendance. No one minded catching a rouge windmill kick and tattoos weren’t a hindrance to future employment, but a way to start a conversation. It was a taste of the old school days when hardcore was only enjoyed in local community centers and intimate basements shows–a vibe only the awesome music freaks of on-campus org The Asylum could provide.

Shattering the tranquil tremble of a pre-recorded fantasy intro, Every Time I Die stole the stage with Kieth Buckley screaming “I want to be dead with my friends”–lyrics from  their new single, Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space.

Sludgy thrash and deep bass chugs shook through the crowd like depth charges. Bodies crashed into bodies to the rhythm of drummer Ryan Leger’s crashing cymbals. The gritty crunch of breakdowns were juxtaposed with the howling southern vocals of Keith Buckley. Each instrument was dripping with a full-bodies tone that stuck to each note like mucus.

Though the signs on the doors said no smoking, that didn’t stop a person in attendance from sparking up some magic dragon. Clouds of weed smoke rose from the crowd, catching the attention of the band.

“Marijuana is responsible for 15 million deaths last year,” said Buckley with a sneering grin painted on his face. “Actually it’s not responsible for a single death, so smoke all of the weed in the world.”

Buckley went on to wish the crowd a happy 4/20 and a “dangerous” night.

After the 6th studio album, Ex Lives, gained the band unprecedented success and a #20 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart; I was skeptical of Every Time I Die’s ability to remain the same grungey bastards who pumped out gritty metalcore when Warped Tour wasn’t booking Katy Perry. However, my fears of ETID selling their souls to corporate media quickly waned with each rumbling blast beat that shook the ground like a run away train.

Buckley’s vocals were littered with rage. His guttural grows caused the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. Kurt Cobain’s inaudible grunge screams were even test driven by Buckley, when the band broke into a cover of Nirvana’s spastic In Utero track, Tourette’s.

The night full of trashing hardcore was topped off by one last blistering breakdown. The cut time drumming translated into swinging fists and bicycle kicks in a pit of around 30 frenzied crowd members. As a guitar pick and drum sticks flew from the stage, buzzing feedback spilled from the speakers, leaving the audience doused in sweat. My ears are still ringing.

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