Album Review: Dark Matter, The Word Alive

The-Word-AliveThe fourth installment from the Arizona quintet aiming for a larger sound with better melodies, but was this achieved?

I’ve read a lot of positive comments on this album yet I am left wanting a lot more. The Word Alive are my favorite band; i own multiple shirts, all albums and seen them 10+ times and I honestly think that this is below par for them.

My impression of the album has changed over the last week that I have been listening to it, yet I still find it boring in places. On my first listen I struggled to make it through the album and found it quite monotonous. When “Trapped” was first released as a single I was again a little disappointed despite me now knowing that was one of the better songs off the record.

I think my main issue with this particular album is the vocals. Telle has really pushed himself vocally on this album. Well, on his clean vocals anyway. The distinct lack of screaming vocals, coupled with the very echoey and synthetic sound (the start of “Suffocating” being prime example of this) to the vocals becomes quite annoying.

I have always viewed The Word Alive as being better than a lot of the generic metalcore genre, but this album will fall into that sub-standard category for me. Tracks like”Dreamer”, “Face to Face” and “Made This Way” are very ‘middle of the road’, ploddy songs that are instantly blow out of the water by songs like “Sellout” and “Dark Matter”.

There are some distinct places on this album where it’s great! When the band get going into the higher tempo stuff, with complex riffing it is a lot more enjoyable. I particularly like the breakdown in “Grunge” with the really deep screaming over the top of a staccato riff. With the title track (“Dark Matter”) and “Oxy” also being much better songs with more challenging vocals and complex sounds, the album certainly ends on a positive note.

Overall, I think my main criticism of the album is the slower/mid-tempo songs being mundane but there are certainly some great songs that are a cut above the rest!

Conclusions

One line summary: Some interesting lyrics, with some kick-ass musicianship in places, but not the leap forward I was expecting from The Word Alive.

Rating: 5/10

Favorite Song: Sellout

Listening to this album makes me: very eager to see the songs live (seeing as they played 7 songs off this album on the Dark Matter Tour! Just a few!)

Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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