Review Summary: Shedding the last remains of Craig Mabbitt, Telle Smith takes helm of The Word Alive and helps create one, solid debut EP.
The Word Alive's debut EP is another post hardcore record that features both clean and screamed vocals, winding guitars, an abundance of double bass and a keyboard. Tons of bands follow this formula, but The Word Alive is able to create something catchy, heavy, fast, emotional and epic...all at the same time.
Empire is another one of those 'genre-bending' releases, except they do it right. This album truly sounds different with every song. How many other Post-Hardcore albums can claim this? "The Only Rule Is That There Are No Rules" is breakdown filled and heavy throughout, whereas "Quit While You're Ahead" sounds like a metalcore version of an Emerosa song. In a scene that is vastly overpopulated, The Word Alive brings us a handful of fresh sounds in this EP.
Tyler 'Telle' Smith is fantastic on vocals. A great singer and strong screamer (backed by guitarist Zack Hanson and Tony Pizzuti), Telle has finally found his home in a band. Guitars are amazing throughout, consisting of complex riffs and shredding solos, while also using some generic open-stringed breakdowns, which do not overpopulate the album. Excellent drumming by photographer Tony Aguilera, but a special mention to keyboardist Dusty Riach. Bands are finally starting to realize that keyboardists can actually add some strong elements to a song. Dusty's keys add that little extra spark to make this album stand out.
The standout track on the album is their new mix of Casanova Rodeo. I say this because it is clear that this song wasn't written at a different time, by a different person (being ex-vocalist Craig Mabbitt). The song is also the simpilist song on the EP, as well as being the most catchy. If you were a fan of TWA with Craig, this song will most likely disappoint. Although Telle does the best to make it his own, he shines on the other 5 tracks.
For a band who has put out only one, 6-tracked EP, The Word Alive has already made their way into the scene. Empire is an increabily strong first release for the band, which shows expetional promise for the future. Expect a stunning full length from these guys soon.