Review Summary: Mid-grade post-hardcore featuring Tyler Smith
So it’s in listening to Deceiver
that we find a band in The Word Alive that’s 100% on the fence, fearfully and resiliently tilting about to and fro between the dour depths of the core-transparent scene-kiddies, stereotyped as derivative of themselves and their scene – forever and ever, amen - and the arena of the god-like post-hardcore gods of Glassjaw
and Drive Like Jehu
-likened fame: these guys are so middle-of-the-road that we fear they may get ran over by the scene-traffic hype very, very soon.
It is in The Word Alive’s niche that they persist and remain nothing short of solid and well-equipped for a better future for themselves with stronger releases, however. Biography after biography state that a turning point came for the post-hardcore band once Tyler Smith joined their ranks – and for the hyperbole surrounding the singer’s inclusion, he is indeed apt not to suck
in his role on Deceiver
. Yes, if this is the direction in which the band have turned just because of the inclusion ex-In Fear and Faith
vocalist, well, fine, so be it. They should at the very least be commended for such an achievement of mid-grade craft on their full-length debut, seeming working against the very laws of post-hardcore nature to obtain it.
Smith’s screams neither grate on our ears nor repulse during a guitar breakdown to compound the pain of the moment, and his cleans are also faithfully “scene” and nasally to a T. Yet we return for a later day to find the choruses of gang vocal-assisted “The Wretched” and finale “We Know Who You Are” favorably more melodic as if by magic, both songs then being choice picking for a bro-down during a distortion breakdown of pounding amps and vibrating guitars at concerts, or preferably in our own mothers’ living rooms. There are plenty of these recall-situated melodies in Deceiver
, yes, but an album by Emmure
and the likened scene garbage this is not. Hip, Hip, Hurray.
We find in The Word Alive’s guitarists, Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti, some boys who can actually play their guitars, and forget not that they are indeed in a scene-ish band – let that sit for a second before you read on: awesome
, I know. But had it not been for this band’s keyboardist, Dusty Riach, then Deceiver
would have garnered an excellent rating for itself. The keyboard effects suck so much dirt that they sound as if plethoras of neoplasm are creeping into our ears to end our post-hardcore lives early on with terminal brain cancer. “Like Father Like Son” is the poster-child for this side of the band’s shi
t, and it is excruciatingly painful, both in its implementation of piss-poor breakdowns and these God-forsaken keyboard effects. Rubbish
, read: please avoid.
Mid-grade post-hardcore is a rarity these days, as it's usually awesome, or it usually sucks, especially coming from a laugh-out-loud record label like Fearless Records. But we have it right here all the same: Deceiver
. In it The Word Alive have proved that their renaissance via a mediocre vocalist inclusion has indeed come as a turning point for their career, yet it must not stop here for the band. They should be swift to move on and remove Riach from their band roster as soon as possible, so that they may become the next scene revolutionaries that the other reviews for this album have told us that they really are, not merely a mid-grade band making C+ material. After all, The Word Alive do have vocalist Tyler Smith (!): by default, the next album can’t be anything less than fantastic. Keep up the good work, guys. We believe in you.