The Word Alive

Deceiver

Written by: BL on 14/11/2010 03:04:47

Metalcore six-piece The Word Alive were one of the many acts last year who graced us with an impressive first time EP ("Empire"). High production values aside, there were some seriously blistering guitar work on show, which were both imaginative and devasting at the same time. Many months later, and with lots of time spent writing, the band have created their first full length "Deceiver" which would hopefully really put them on the map and perhaps bring to a wider audience just what this band is really capable of. Now I wasn't one for judging albums based on covers, but it was a mild concern when I saw the frankly terrible album cover art for the first time, and the rather tacky font used for the text. But fortunately we all know appearances can be 'deceiving' though right? (see what I did there?)

First off, there is a lot of things The Word Alive do right on this album (their atrocious cover not one though). "Deceiver" might be following the ten-songs no more no less rule that I seem to be seeing everywhere, but has plenty of playtime for the package and manages to run its course quite well and feels fleshed out as a result. "The Hounds Of Anubis" is frankly a superb opening song and really shows how the band has moved on not only from their early Craig Mabbit days, but also from when they wrote "Empire". It's a full fledged Egyptian sounding song (not only is it obvious from the melodies and chords, but the fact that the band has acknowledged it), and has some truly stellar instrumentation in all sections let alone the impressive guitars. If you saw my review of "Empire", than you know I was a fan of guitarists Tony Pizzuti and Zack Hansen on that EP, and generally speaking the duo again shine on this album. There's not really a song on the album where the pair don't string together some kind of awesome guitar riff or audaciously tasteful lead guitar part. There is a slightly weaker production (which is odd considering the production team hasn't changed since the EP) on all the instruments though but it's nothing too distracting fortunately.

Singer and lead vocalist Tyler "Telle" Smith also sounds much improved than he did on the EP. His singing pipes now carry more weight in the belted clean choruses (especially on tracks like "Consider It Mutual" and "We Know Who You Are" which have some of his best vocal performances thus far) and his powerful screams now have more range which I was pleasantly surprised by. "You're All I See" is a brave song for not only the band but Telle in particular since it features all clean vocals and is probably considered the 'ballad' of the album, but I think he and the band manages to pull the song of expertly as the song feels both well meant and nicely constructed. A quality the band has been fairly consistent with if you consider the sea of second rate metalcore bands coming out of the scene elsewhere. Other than the perhaps slightly too breakdown orientated "2012", which also is by far the weakest song on the album (there's a super gimmicky sythesiser line that seems very out of place - and not to mention a rather underpar guest vocal spot from Levi Benton of Miss May I), and an almost identical version of "Battle Royale" from the EP (which still is a good song, just not new), most of the tracks have something about that keeps them fairly memorable from each other.

You may think I am foolish to think anything good will come out of the super saturated US metalcore scene, but The Word Alive are definitely proving to be one of the emerging names to keep an eye out for. Sure at the end of the day the band isn't breaking any code from the metalcore guidebook, nor are they reinventing anything you and I probably haven't already heard, but they rely so much more on solid musicianmanship and generally well crafted, hook driven songs which have already helped somewhat set them apart from their scene peers. Given that I am so familiar with the band now perhaps I am not as impressed as I was when I first heard their EP, but all things considered they've more than earnt their

8

Download: The Hounds Of Anubis, Consider It Mutual, We Know Who You Are
For the fans of: Blessthefall, Oh, Sleeper, The Devil Wears Prada
Listen: Myspace

Release date 31.08.2010
Fearless Records

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