Now with six studio albums under their belt, The Word Alive are back with their latest, in the form of ‘Monomania’.
The newer addition of EDM and pop-influenced synth lines will always generate curiosity, but any hopes of The Word Alive standing out from the crowded pack with this record will be quashed very quickly once you press play.
By the time you’ve heard the title-track and opener, you may as well have heard the entire album. This is simply ridden with clichés, as well as lots of forced, over-wrought execution, especially with the lyrics, which contain the most stereotypical I’m-so-sad-and-no-one-understands-me phrases ever. Vocalist Tyler “Telle” Smith can certainly carry a melody as usual, but there’s simply nothing to convert any sceptics to this take on post-hardcore and metalcore.
As we move on to ‘No Way Out’, there’s simply more boxes to tick. The way this has been produced is also very much on the compressed and processed side of things, too. It’d perhaps be harsh to call this a polished turd, but it’d be hard to imagine much of this record being made without the intention of shifting units and appearing on certain playlists. ‘Another Year In The Shadows’ is another generic number, with lyrical rhymes like “When we die, it’s you and I” being just one of many trite, clichéd couplets.
And even when ‘Greatest Almost’ is one of the better songs, it’s so stuck in its rigid formula that it begins to get frustrating. You do wonder how long bands can keep sticking so rigidly to a blueprint, and also how long their fans will keep on buying their albums, willing them on like a struggling sports team.
‘Numb Love (Misery II)’ shows that this is at least competently-performed, and the noodly guitar lines that appear show that they can definitely play. ‘K.F.’ has a decent chorus too, and it at least feels like they’re trying. Granted, this isn’t as terrible as some other bands that do this. The electronic elements are even produced and applied well, but when something blends in so much, you’re grasping at straws.
The saccharine ‘Burning Your World Down’ is perhaps the worst offender, with the pre-chorus being as generic as it comes. The record simply drags on and on, and it outstays its welcome by quite some time.
The Word Alive mean well, and they’ve at least tried to expand their sound without it being a total car crash. But, unless you’re already a fan of the band and their contemporaries, you’re not going to get much out of this.