Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Review: The Word Alive - Life Cycles
First of all, the band's desire to crush listeners has been upped for life cycles. The heaviness on the pouncing breakdowns Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti deliver on the likes of Dragon Spell, Ambitionary and Belong are higher on levels of intensity and undisputed heaviness. The particular standout moment of this reflection on heaviness is the rush of groove laden insanity that is Bar Fight, a song that clearly reveals a Pantera influence bounding around within the band much greater than before and will surely serve as a counter argument for those who constantly suggest that band's like The Word Alive are for "pussies".
With The Word Alive, the breakdowns and grooves are always balanced out by strong melodies and sing-along-able choruses and plenty of golden moments are on offer, from the victorious chanting from Tyler "Telle" Smith on the album's title track and the strong chorus of Live a Lie. Smith's overwhelming vocal power really helps to shoot a real sense of urgency into the album and fill it with a genuine sense of urgency.
Obviously, Deceiver has now become iconic within the New Wave of American Melodic Metalcore (NWOAMM. I used that phrase one time and forgot to use it again.) for it's high use of electronic elements in a poppier manner. However, the departure of keyboardist Dusty Riach in January followed by the band's choice to not find a replacement means that Life Cycle's more electronic elements consist more of dance club synthesizers. While they still exist on Belong, the greater amount of electronics are purely used to create more textured backdrops, such as the hyper synths that give extra spike to Entirety and powerful piano backdrop of Hidden Lakes that becomes much more poignant than the rest of the breakdowns and thrashing the song entails. What's more is the actual effort made in creating more ambient sections across the album which absorb listeners excellently. Closer Astral Plane seems like The Word Alive trying to do their own Blessed With a Curse which is genuinely solid, although kind of falls short of the song it's being compared to. However it's a clear sign that the band are trying to break any kind of mold that they were settled in on album number one.
The most important thing that makes Life Cycles is The Word Alive's incredible ability to take breakdowns, grooves and synth backdrops, which anyone can say doesn't always result in the most original of albums and do just that. Every song on this album has a new freshness with each new song. Sometimes the result of an album isn't really explainable and with Life Cycles we'll have to accept this. The entire album assaults listeners fully charged and also has the ability to become the album that finally proves that the style of metalcore that the more close-minded have assumed to be weak has a lot fight within it. Maybe it's not pure full on rock n' roll, but with performances like this, it's fresh, passionate and fucking brutal. And if that doesn't sound metal, well, you should probably stop trusting my opinions.
The Word Alive's Life Cycles is out now via Fearless.