Proving themselves over the years to easily be one of the strongest metalcore acts in the pack, it was in 2016’s ‘Dark Matter’ that Arizona’s The Word Alive truly flourished, and spread out their cocked feathers into honed maturity, and a nurtured and strengthened use of melody whilst not glossing over their aggressive roots.
Since then, there’s been a notable personnel change, seeing the exit of both bassist Daniel Shapiro and drummer Luke Holland, the latter in particular being considered a crucial part of the The Word Alive‘s DNA. In their wake they decided to remain as a three-piece and bring in session/touring members instead of ceding them to permanent replacements.
Acting as the next natural step in their discography from the expansive progression shown in ‘Dark Matter’, its follow-up ‘Violent Noise’ sees the band grow their melodic chops even further. Opener and lead single ‘Red Clouds’ acts as a perfect centre-piece to this next era in the band’s career, and of the new record, displaying their more alt-rock leanings as of late and a metal stomp in its mid-section.
Indeed, though it bears the word ‘violent’ in its title, in terms of the expected and past aggression the band have displayed, conventionally it’s certainly their most restrained effort to date. Yet, what the band have done here is amped up their knack for hooks (the swagger ridden ‘I Don’t Mind’ and the infectious ‘Why Am I Like This?’ being prime examples), and instead of coming in all gnashing teeth to be heavy for heavy’s sake, the band opt for meticulous moves to serve the songs.
Metalcore assaults are still very much a part of The Word Alive framework here. ‘My Enemy’ is blistering from start-to-finish with so many layers in its intense structure that it’ll make you want to throw a house through an even bigger house if you could. ‘Stare At The Sun’ has a similar weighty presence, especially in its latter section, though Danny Worsnop‘s (Asking Alexandria) feature on there does seem a little redundant and unwarranted.
On the subject of features, Sincerely Collins‘ rap contribution could easily be an accompaniment that would askew ‘Human’ completely, when in fact the song acts as one of the record’s highlights.
‘Run Away’, ‘War Evermore’ and ‘Real Life’ are also clearly born and reared to be live staples in the band’s forthcoming tour rotations, the former showing just some of the fretboard magic from axe-men Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti which thankfully hasn’t faded away in the band’s transitions to a less all out metal confrontational approach.
The almost hollow, and at times haunting and ethereal ‘Lonely’ secures the band’s ongoing reputation of closing things off on a high, acting as one of the record’s crowning moments, and showcasing once more that Telle Smith is easily one of the strongest and more versatile frontmen in metalcore today.
Plunging into territory they’ve been steadily dipping their toes in over the years, the next stage in The Word Alive‘s career could undoubtedly open a lot more doors, and ascend them onto new and wider plateaus. Evidently, you don’t always need to be violent boys to create some violent noise.