Artist: The Word Alive
Album: Life Cycles
Label: Fearless Records
Who would’ve thought that The Word Alive would’ve ever gotten to the level of success and fame where they are now? Sure the band’s had a pretty grueling touring schedule , but the group caught my eye back when Craig Mabbitt was their main attraction, and I could not have seen anything like Life Cycles back in those days. I do know that it’s been some time since those days, and the band’s released an ep, a full length, and a re-release of the aforementioned full length, but all of that goes to say that there’s been much room for progression, but towards what?
The Word Alive definitely put their best foot forward in writing out this album with all of the dynamic changes, layers upon layers of instrumentals and all of the typical production bells and whistles that you can find in a (good) post-hardcore album. The synthesizers don’t exactly punch out of the mix as much as you would find them doing so on other bands in the genre, but I think that makes for a better overall album.
Life Cycle‘s title track involves frontman Tyler Smith, aka “Telle” belting out the line ‘I’d rather die for what I believe, than live a life without meaning’ and it’s the passion behind those lyrics that are matched by the many other tracks on this admirable album. You can find one of the most intense songs on the album early on. I mean, even it’s title is intense, “Bar Fight”? Yeah, I’m shaking. Further on, the record is thematically brought to a smooth finish through the slow burning track, “Astral Plane”. The song comes and passes like a super-sized wave, you can feel it coming at you long before it really happens, and when it does, it seemingly ends prematurely but most definitely not abruptly.
My one real complaint about the record is the whole “clean chorus/screamed verse” duality that’s behind most of the songs. That whole trend is beginning to run dry after all of these years, but if the band were to branch off and continue doing what they did with the few “different” tracks, they would be golden. Aside from that, Life Cycles is among the year’s best post-hardcore/metalcore albums, and that’s something that I’m capable of saying without a shred of doubt.
Reviewed by Adrian Garza