Review Summary: If you're searching for glory, this isn't it
A very large level of scene-core bands, for better or worse, have been trying to "diversify their sound" (read: enter the radio rock abyss) ever since Bring Me The Horizon began reaping the benefits bestowed to them by the success of That's The Spirit
five years ago, and The Word Alive
is no exception. Initially formed as nothing more than a Blessthefall lite by current Escape the Fate frontman Craig Mabbitt, conflicting schedules caused Craig to be booted out in favor of Telle Smith, and after they exhausted the tiny amount of creativity within them on Deceiver
it's more or less been a downhill slope ever since—and Monomania
sees them hitting rock bottom.
eschews any sense of identity in favor of trying its damndest to be a third-rate Starset. Everything that makes up the Starset formula is here: atmospheric electronics/ambience, anthemic choruses, downtuned guitars. But unfortunately, The Word Alive lacks the charm that makes Starset's discography so enjoyable, making the entire album feel exactly like a bunch of teenage emo kids decided to ape their idols for the sake of imitation. The opening title track and "Numb Love (Misery II)" perfectly capture just how badly
they wanted the bootlegging to work. Telle's screams have become downright pathetic, no longer holding any of the power it showed glimpses of in past albums, guitarists Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti play the same basic chords throughout every song, drummer Matt Horn is using a drum machine instead of actually playing his instrument, and bass is literally non-existent despite the fact that their primary idols at least try
The lyrics have become the ultimate example of "we're not even trying"; all they did was write whatever would get them noticed on the Billboard charts, with the notable exception of Kyle Pavone tribute song "K.F."—and even then they somehow unfortunately manage to warp it into the most generic, bottom-tier radio lyrics possible:
"Wasn’t ready, can you hear me?
Will we ever meet again?
When you left us, had me f**ked up
Can we learn to live with it?
We’re holding on to your memory
Your heart it lives on in our memories"
There's nothing special about the production, minus the fact that they didn't have to be concerned about drowning the bass out—the band took care of that problem for them. And with that, Monomania
represents the tragic downfall of yet another band who discarded any sense of being themselves in a shameless, desperate attempt to cash in on the success of other bands. It's less of an album and more of a cautionary tale on the dangers of desperation—it just isn't worth it.