Review Summary: The Word Alive prove yet again why one should always take an explosive debut with a grain of salt.
There's something undeniably frustrating when a band/artist releases an album like this. The frustrating part isn't that the album is average. It isn't that the album is full of dull chugging, which it most certainly is full of. It isn't even that the album is riddled with painfully generic breakdowns, or that the synths are utilized in a way that's incredibly annoying and overbearing. No, the frustrating part is that The Word Alive can do much, much better, and have proven so. Deceiver
had its moments of being subpar, definitely (see the song "2012"), but there were also tracks that were well constructed, with technical riffing, well placed breakdowns and catchy choruses that outweighed all the negative aspects of the album.
Most of that is gone here on Life Cycles
. The group's second outing is yet another example of the fabled sophomore slump. The album is chock full of chugs, obnoxious synths and little variation in between tracks. Even the vocals have taken a noticeable decline, as Telle's performance is fairly lackluster and lacks the passion and diversity which he so readily showed on their debut. If that weren't bad enough, the album is long. Over 50 minutes of most metalcore albums can get tiring pretty quick, but the length can be justified if the music is good enough, which is not the case here. Instead, the length becomes yet another flaw, as it just becomes more monotonous with each passing second.
The entire 13 track event just feels lazy and void of any real passion or direction. It's as though they were just going through the motions for this and the result is a disappointing heap of boring music. Of course there's the occasional gem. "Evolution" felt the most Deceiver-esque of them all and was easily the best Life Cycles
had to offer, but its inclusion ironically causes even more frustration because it reminds me that they are much better than what they've shown here. Where are the frantic riffs? Where's the wickedly fast drumming? What happened to the passion in Telle's vocals?
Standing on its own, Life Cycles
is just another dull metalcore listen with a random enjoyable moment here and there. An album that simply can't break free of the genre's stereotypes, it's inoffensively average. But when compared to its predecessor, one can't help but wonder how a group with so much talent can squander it on such a plain cluster of tracks.