Album Review: The Word Alive - MONOMANIA
Artist: The Word Alive
Review by Ash Wallace
Now I hadn’t listened to much from The Word Alivesince late 2015 when they shared the stage with Parkway Drive and Thy Art is Murder in Byron Bay with their latest releases at the time; Real and Life Cycles. Now in 2020 with the hype behind MONOMANIA, I’m seeing the reason why the band is coming more into the spotlight again. Like many albums, it is a journey of emotional turmoil and a pure offering of what the band as a collective have been through. With emotionally driven pieces and a strong contrast between light and dark and the push and pull of life struggles. Since the bands formation in 2009, everything in their career has seemingly been leading up to this point, as Telle, vocalist says:
"Maybe you can see the whole story and realize that we’re not different from you. We've been through it all, but we're always trying to learn, grow, and leave something behind we feel will help people. This is our purest work. This is everything we've been through inthe last couple of years.”
Kicking off the album is ”MONOMANIA”, one of the first singles released. It’s nothing new, a bit simplistic, but you don’t always need a crazy technical song for it to be enjoyable. Sometimes you just need something tosing along to and really listen to what the song is trying to convey. It captures a great snapshot about what it's like to feel stuck inside your own mind and hurting yourself in the process to becoming better, stuck in that never ending cycle. “’Killing ourselves to cope / insidethe sadness, sometimes it traps us.” Bolstering a wave of anchoring catchy hooks and chorus vocals.
Telle says “NO WAY OUT” is the most important track lyrically he’s ever written and it does come across that way whilst listening to the track. In a similar vein to MONOMANIA, ”NO WAY OUT” feeds into the feeling of hopelessness and losing hope of ever finding the light at the end of the tunnel.
”SEARCHING FOR GLORY” is a track bound to get stuck in your head. Slightly pop-ier than metalcore but doesn't cancel out the fact that it’s a worthy track. More unclean vocal screams could have propelled it further but the verse riffs carry it through. This is a highly relatable track with the lyrics hitting hard. In the midst of a war within yourself, the search for glory can be ignited by “Light(ing) the fire that burns in all of us”.
An endless rabbit hole of one sided emotion and rawness, “ANOTHER YEAR IN THE SHADOWS” delivers heavy riffs and possibly one of stronger songs on the album.
Segueing into ”GREATEST ALMOST”, a track that encompasses the feeling of reaching for something and falling short by a millimeter. The faster pace of the track conjures up and relates with the feelings of regret, lessons learnt and love lost.
”THANK YOU” withholds momentum with Telle’s scream in the first 30 seconds of the song, a surefire favourite for longtime fans of The Word Alive, proving that this album isn’t all just radio rock. ”NUMB LOVE (MISERY II)”, a follow up of Misery, as the title refers, holds a killer guitar solo and epic vocal chorus. This track is more on the technical and electronic side, nestled nicely in the middle of the record, and almost posing as an emotional high-or plateau. “The death of me, wasn’t it enough for you?”The angst and bitterness of the situation fueling the fire within.
“KF’s” first few seconds sounds a little experimental, and then Telle’s vocals come in and coat the backing instrumental beautifully and is consistent in the songs entirety.
Right off the bat ”BURNING YOUR WORLD DOWN” feels very Too Close To Touch. Clean vocal focused with a heavy bass backbone, the melodies in the chorus compliment well and go down a charm. A different end of the emotional spectrum, this is fueled with anger and resentment; “I’m wide awake, I’m not afraid.”
“COMFORT CHAOS” is a more cinematic and softer track, and one that I seem to keep coming back to, maybe its Telle’s slightly different vocals or the stylistic timbre behind the track. Coming closer to the end of the album, ”I’M SORRY YOU’RE SORRY NOW” is the shortest track but still holds all the rawness of meaning of the song within it.
The final track of MONOMANIA is ”DEATH IS ONLY THE END IF YOU ASSUME THE STORY IS ABOUT YOU.” I think this track is fitting to cap off the album. Metaphorically drawing the lines between ‘death’ in the title of the final track and death being the end of the line in life… but maybe you won’t look this much into it like I did. That aside, the guitar riffs and screams in this track stand out also, blending an almost haunting sound with dreamy synths behind the vocals, and Telle’s blistering scream to end the track and album simultaneously.
MONOMANIA is enjoyable to listen to however I will say my only criticism is that because this record is so cleanly produced and mixed to the standard or stereotypical metalcore album, it may be verging on the likes of Bring Me The Horizon’s new direction of radio rock and may well get lost in the space many metalcore albums sit idly after a first listen. Overall, the album really highlights vulnerability and creates a space in which feels comforting as a listener. It still has the signature The Word Alive sound and a prominent improved vocal ability on Telle’s part. They’ve stayed true to themselves and shown growth in both personal and musical fields.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
MONOMANIA is set to be released via Fearless Records on Friday 21st February.