ALBUM REVIEW – “Real” By The Word Alive

     Apparently metalcore still needs high energy “positive” bands. Now that The Color Morale and We Came As Romans have well worn out their welcome as the genre’s core spirit lifters, it seems time for another band to give that sound a shot. Enter Phoenix, Arizona’s The Word Alive. The quintet, currently signed to Fearless Records, have been slowly but surely creeping toward the limelight over their past three releases. Now they are poised to release Real on June 10th, and it is, in a word, unstoppable.

    Real is more an extremely well put together series of songs. With little exception, the amount of self-confidence and cohesion in the tracks is just shy of palpable. This is a solid mass of soaring, melodic, catchy metalcore. At times the record is predictable, particularly in the song structures and some guitar leads, but this is simply a matter of genre choice. The album may occasionally resort to tropes and standard issue ideas, but the execution is just so brilliant that it almost never matters.  

     Sure there are countless bands who incorporate electronics into their sound, and the idea of a breakdown is literally decades old, but no one is doing these elements like The Word Alive. The band clearly sat down and made sure that this album would have a sound all of its own. The innate passion is blatant and the hard work behind the music shines right through.  

     Above all else, The Word Alive obviously wanted Real to be a more personal and emotional record. The uplifting messages in songs like “Lighthouse” and “Never Forget” will definitely find a home in someone who needs to hear such words. The finger pointing of “Play The Victim” may by sourced from the band’s personal experience, it sounds sincere enough anyway. Whether honest or not, the internal message condemning self pity is impossible to ignore.

     The key to this record’s excellence is without a doubt the fact that the band has finally learned how to tap the talent of their members. Vocalist Telle Smith is an uncorked monster of a vocalist on Real, wrenching out blistering high screams and low growls with impressive proficiency (check out the ending of “Broken Circuit”). Twin guitarists Tony Pizzuti and Zack Hansen cook up a firestorm of shred filled writing. The guitar lines twist and turn through dueling riffs, and the duo even crank out a handful of truly awesome solos.

     It would be impossible to talk about this record and ignore newfound drummer Luke Holland. After building fame as Youtube star, Holland was added to TWA’s lineup in 2012. The drum writing thus took a leap forward by several orders of magnitude.  Holland’s incredible and technical writing switches between propelling the album forward and slamming it into its seat.

     Real comes so unbelievably close to having an airtight track list, but then “The Runaway” starts playing. It’s simple minded, stupidly danceable and totally out of place here.  It makes sense for TWA to want to expand their sonic boundaries, but placing “Runaway” in the midst of so many complex and, for lack of a better word, heavy, songs is awkward. The song will probably get the most radio play of any of the tracks, if that is any consolation.

     Whether this particular brand of metal core suits the listener’s fancy or not, the quality writing on Real is undeniable, and shows an immense leap of maturity for The Word Alive. Is Real going to be the record that finally puts TWA on the map? Certainly. It lives up to its name in virtually every way possible, and the group very much deserves to be proud of what they have crafted.


-Max Robison

Purchase “Real”


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  1. Watch The Word Alive Perform “Lighthouse” On CaliberTV | RichardThinks.Org - June 29, 2014

    […] out our official review of The Word Alive’s new album, “Real”, out NOW through Fearless Records. Don’t forget we’re also giving away tickets to any […]

  2. The Word Alive Premiere “Lighthouse” Music Video | RichardThinks.Org - July 9, 2014

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    […] tuned for our interview with Daniel Shapiro of The Word Alive coming soon. Be sure to check out our album review of “Real” which is out now through Fearless Records. For more information on The Word Alive, be sure to visit […]

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  5. PHOTO GALLERY – The Get Real Tour – W. Springfield, VA – 11/23/14 | RichardThinks.Org - December 3, 2014

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