Review Summary: We followed the deceiver...
I suppose it is common nature in life to become infatuated with oneself after a single feeling of success. Regardless of circumstance, the result is all the same. You become cocky and then assume that you will always be able to dominate in whatever the activity may be. Yet, it’s quite possible that there are pros that come out of this said cockiness. You may begin to strive for more, thus making you want to surpass yourself as well as everyone else who stands in your way of being the best. That feeling is unfortunately not the case when it comes to Life Cycles
. The cons (which seem to be much more common) are that you will become consumed with the praise, thus not caring what the next result is. You may not even know that you are becoming lazy, per say. The Word Alive prove with their sophomore release that the acclaim they received from Empire
has gotten to their heads, which has caused them to put very little effort into their latest release.
I will proudly admit that I believed in this band after I heard their first full-length. It made me think to myself, “Sure this isn’t perfect but there is originality from start to finish. The breakdowns don’t sound like all of the others in the world of mainstream metalcore and the synth was brilliantly incorporated in certain songs. Plus they have great screams as well as fantastic clean vocals”. My opinion stands, because I personally think Deceiver
is some of the best the genre has to offer. My mind was set on this next album being just as great, if not better than the first. Sure they had a couple of setbacks with two members departing, one of them being their synth player who they were unable to replace, but that should give them a reason to push even harder than they have already been doing. Still, come July 3rd, 2012 and instead of the technically advanced metalcore we expected, we get messy synth, “chuggy” breakdowns around every corner, uninspired vocals (both screams and cleans), and very little that makes me think that this band is still the same one I listened to the first time I heard of them.
The album actually starts off fairly interesting with two of the better tracks, “Dragon Spell” and “Wishmaster”. Both of them have stronger screams than most of the album and well structured choruses. “Dragon Spell” in particular uses haunting synth at the beginning which works quite nicely. I couldn’t help but think of “The Hounds of Anubis”, their last intro song that started the album in the right direction. It was heavy, catchy, and showcased the band’s fine talent, just like this intro does. The next eye-catching song is the title track, “Life Cycles” which has some pretty cool vocals and instrumentation that gives off a certain epic-factor when it isn’t chugging away. The track that follows it, “Evolution” does the best job at staying true to the band’s roots with a tribal effect, fantastic guitar work, and easily the best screams on the album. The chorus was actually very different, and in a good way too. It shows some great experimentation, that I wish was done throughout the entire album.
Well that was basically the good, for the most part. In the beginning of the album, songs like “For Your Health” and “Bar Fight”, both of which show some creative ideas, are crippled by their choruses which show how lazy Telle is being. Still, I classify those two as the decent songs. After “Evolution”, everything with the exception of “Ambitionary” and “Astral Plane” sound strikingly similar, and do nothing for the band whatsoever besides rebukes their standing as innovative. Sure, the solo in “Room 126” shows some flare, but that’s all. This near-whole second half of the album is a complete waste of time, since it only emphasizes on the chugging and uninteresting vocals. Luckily, not all here is bad, as stated before. “Ambitionary” is a pretty good song because of how well the synth and guitar work together. The final track, “Astral Plane” does a really good job at wrapping this whole thing up and it makes the dull wait until the finale almost worth it. The clean vocals are probably the best they have been on the whole album, in fact. Using the start off soft but end with a bang formula, this works as welcome performance that they ultimately succeed in producing. It is no “We Know Who You Are” (their best song in my opinion), but it’s a nice addition.
Another point that is crucial in bringing up is the synth is a whole. Sure, it works on some parts, “Dragon Spell” and “Ambitionary” being prime examples. Other times when it’s around, it is either messy or overstays its welcome. In some cases, it may even be both. Either way, it ends up being useless. Sometimes they attempt to use it in ways like on Deceiver
. For example, in “Wishmaster” they attempt a breakdown that is similar to the one in “2012” and fails in doing so, due to it not being up to par, and that causes it to feel forced. I guess losing the synth player who knew what he was doing really did hurt the overall sound.
At the end of the day, there are a fair amount of songs on Life Cycles
that will please someone looking for decent metalcore, yet there isn’t enough on the full album to really justify a purchase unless you are a fan of the band. On its own, it’s a slightly above average generic metalcore release with an abundance of useless chugging. But what causes true disappointment is when comparing this album to their first album, which I can’t say enough, surpasses this in every single way. They got lazy thanks to a loyal fanbase they acquired from their previous works. There is little to no evidence of that band from before. To those who believed in this album; we followed the deceiver…and boy, we were deceived.
3.5/5 on it’s own and as a personal score
2.5/5 when compared to previous works
So I guess, 3/5 overall