The Word Alive
Dark Matter



Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Waiting for, waiting for, ascension.

With every passing album, The Word Alive continue to simplify their sound, and like many bands that spawned from the early 2010’s metalcore scene, they continue to go the more accessible route. 2014’s Real. saw a major shift in the band’s sound from the rooted metalcore sound that put the quintet on the map to a more tamer post hardcorish sound, with new drummer Luke Holland adding a bit of a progressive element with his very technical over the top playing.

With Dark Matter, the band continues to simplify their sound. The trendy breakdowns were left off the album for the most part, same with vocalist Telle Smith’s screaming vocals, although to a lesser extent. The quintet puts more of an emphasis on clean and catchy melodies and electronics this time around. Also the almost lack of solos from guitarists Zach Hansen and Tony Pizzuti and the (what very much seems like) restricted Luke Holland makes for an overall dull listen. The album opens up with “Dreamer”, a track that features the same electronic soundscapes the band has always toyed with, but this time it’s a central aspect of the track, as well as other tracks on the album. The albums second single, “Sellout”, showcases the bands new found maturity as song writers. Everywhere you expect a breakdown on the track, the band throws this pummeling riff at you instead. The same can be said about the albums first single “Trapped”. The title track sees Telle screaming with a completely different delivery from what is heard on the ten tracks prior to it, a very welcome deviation from his normal style, and Luke Holland showcases his immense talent with a flavorful tom rhythm during the verses.

The track “Grunge” sees The Word Alive exploring grunge by incorporating slightly grungish sounding guitars and a Jerry Cantrell influenced riff. The track loses this vibe when the band transitions into another generic core chorus. Most of the hooks just seem formulaic at this point. Choruses in tracks like “Face to Face” and “Made This Way” have been done a million times at this point by countless other warped tour-core bands and even The Word Alive themselves and it’s just become redundant at his point. It also doesn’t help that the hooks are borderline cringe inducing on various tracks. On the track “Insane”, Telle breaks out his inner scene kid, chanting “Were all insane, in a beautiful way”. The band also takes many plays from the Bring Me the Horizon playbook. The first minute of “Suffocating” wouldn’t have sounded out of place at all on Sempiternal, while Alicia Solombrino’s feature on “Piece of Time” makes the track sound like a There is a hell… leftover.

So how does Dark Matter feel as a whole? Well, despite its flaws, it’s actually a fairly cohesive project, and the tracks flow together quite smoothly. No track really over stays its welcome, although the band constantly looking for their next “Life Cycles”-esque anthem to end their shows with with each passing chorus can become tiresome at points. It may be a minor step back from its predecessor in terms of quality and replay value, but it’s not hard to tell that the band has matured as song writers since then. Dark Matter seems like the growing pains of a band trying to change its sound, if ever so slightly, leaving the taste of anticipation in the listener’s mouth for whatever the band decides to do next.


user ratings (144)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Taint. (3.5)
Time has changed the band, and you should change with them....


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheMrAlexK
March 28th 2016


8376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thought I would use my spring break to review an album that had more than just three votes, and one I would actually get some feedback on.



Album rating is really a 3.2

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2016


55229 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

sup

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

TheMrAlexK
March 28th 2016


8376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yoo

JigglyPDiddy
March 28th 2016


3194 Comments


The band's looking for another Life Cycles-esque anthem?? Oh dear no... I hated that album.

Nice, write-up. I haven't listened to this band since Life Cycles, though and preffer Deceiver/Empire. Should I jump in? Spirit said I should, but I haven't been able to get in the right mood for it.

TheMrAlexK
March 28th 2016


8376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked this more then everything they've done except for 'Real'. This is probably their most accessible album. Idk if that puts you more in the mood to listen to this or not.

AndreBourbeau
March 28th 2016


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"(what very much seems like) restricted Luke Holland" i agree. apparently he recorded the entire album with a broken left foot while on crutches.

TheMrAlexK
March 28th 2016


8376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh yeah I remember hearing that, they could have waited a couple months for his foot to heal my god lol.

unaMUSEd
March 29th 2016


1441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Stuck between a 4 and 4.5 for this. I fucking love it and I never really listened to this band before.

Durrzo
March 29th 2016


1461 Comments


Disagree pretty strongly about Real being a better album, but agree with the review otherwise.

Album is yet another letdown as far as I'm concerned, but it's better than what I was expecting after hearing Trapped. Sellout is a really cool song, easily the most interesting thing they've put out in a long time. And there are a few other standouts.

This is much less than they are capable of but I'm getting some enjoyment out of it.

TheMrAlexK
March 29th 2016


8376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The main reason I like Real better than this is because Luke Holland elevates pretty much every track to something they wouldn't be without him.

SteakByrnes
March 29th 2016


3774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found this to be a rather dull listen, with little bits of brilliance scattered around. Trapped, Sellout, Made This Way, and Dark Matter were the tracks that stood out to me among the plethora of generic songs. It's a shame really, because Real was fantastic and showed technical prowess from every band member, whereas this was the Telle singing showcase.



I also feel like I'm the only person that likes Life Cycles the most out of their discography haha

Digging: Sufferer - Sufferer

Ebola
March 29th 2016


2815 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. This was pretty ok

MotokoKusanagi
March 30th 2016


956 Comments


their last few releases were awful, so i won't be checking this one out. with that said, Deceiver and Empire still shred

GreyShadow
March 31st 2016


1629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Woah this is miles better than Real, that album's middle section is abysmal. The technicality on that album was plagued by Telle (and that problem isn't completely gone with this album, but simplifying everything does indeed make it more accessible) Sure, Made This Way sucks, but the rest of this is really solid. I like the choruses of the last 5 tracks a lot for whatever reason. Title track is definitely the best thing they have done in a while.

GreyShadow
March 31st 2016


1629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

How can they improve? Keep the hooks from this album, take the technicality of Real, get a better clean vocalist for god's sake , and do everything that Deceiver did right. That would be gold.

GreyShadow
March 31st 2016


1629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

One last point, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBcfTWq1WSA this was a bonus song on Life Cycles and I think if they made a whole album of songs like this, they'd be set. I guess I care about this band so much besides the fact that I loved Deceiver and half of Life Cycles is because they have incredible potential. This album was safe but it made me believe in them again. Hopefully they'll do something exceptional in the future.

TheMrAlexK
March 31st 2016


8376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't really get the hype Deciever and Empire gets on here, they just seem so run of the mill to me.



GreyShadow
March 31st 2016


1629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I don't understand the sputnik hype either, I thought I'd be the only one. I really couldn't tell you why I like it over other things in the genre that don't really resonate with me.

Tyler.
March 31st 2016


13219 Comments


i remember when deceiver or whatever came out when i was in highschool still and i loved it

SteakByrnes
April 1st 2016


3774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album under-utilizes Luke Holland. He did a phenomenal job on Real, and here he just sounds like a metronome with the exception being the title track. The title track is by far the best song on the album



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