Review Summary: The Word Alive come into their own with their debut full-length, crafting a release that lives up to the massive hype built around it. Eat your heart out, Mabbitt.
The Word Alive has certainly come a long way since ditching Craig Mabbitt. Armed with a vocalist who is more than capable of both clean and screamed vocals, a fantastic EP, and a couple years of touring under their belts, the band's debut full length "Deceiver" has all the makings of a good album, and it capitalizes on this to the fullest degree. By taking a standard post-hardcore/metalcore sound and tweaking it with some personal flairs, The Word Alive have put out an album that not only lives up to the hype it's generated, but for some might even pass it.
The first thing that's obvious about "Deceiver" becomes known about 5 seconds into opener "The Hounds Of Anubis," a heavy-hitting tune that capitalizes on Telle Smith's bellowing screams to great effect. Smith is an absolute beast behind the microphone, belting out ranged screams and pristine cleans and switching between the two with efficiency and ease. The guitarists don't take a backseat though, filling the songs with creative riffs that stray far off the beaten path of the typical chugging the genre has become notorious for. A number of songs even feature some great solos, also a rarity in the genre.
The drumming is standard fare for the genre, but the other aspects of the sound are so polished its easily overlooked. The synthesizers actually lend something to all the songs they're used in, instead of muddying the sound and just being an overall stupid gimmick like 95% of synth in metal today. The track "2012" features a driving synth line that weaves in and around the guitar to create a really cool sonic effect with a good pair of headphones on, and some songs even feature movements where the traditional instruments take a backseat to the electronics such as in the dubstep (wut") influenced "Like Father, Like Son," which also happens to feature a great breakdown at the same time the dub takes center stage.
The re-recorded version of their EP hit "Battle Royale" is a highlight of the album, which makes sense given that it was a highlight of the EP. When it is presented here with better production and autotune-less, it becomes an entertaining cut regardless of the fact that its an old song due to the fresh sound it is given. And that solo... oh that solo, it is excellent.
"You're All I See" is the requisite slower, ballad-ish number. The song isn't bad by any means, but if anything proves that The Word Alive is better when they're playing heavy and fast and that Smith's vocal forte lies in screaming. It's the weakest track on the album, but it's still a fun listen every now and then.
All in all, it's pretty surprising that the caliber of this full-length surpasses a lot of other releases this year, and even more so considering that The Word Alive is a relatively new band, and
this is only their debut. A definite recommendation from me, Deceiver riffs its way to a 4.5/5