ALBUM REVIEW: Monomania (THE WORD ALIVE)
ALBUM Monomania // ARTIST The Word Alive
Modern alternative rock is alive and well, and the upcoming full-length Monomania from American kings The Word Alive brings the group's decade of existence full circle with some sharp and emotive finesse.
Since their emergence back in 2009, The Word Alive have constantly endeavoured to subvert genre constraints, forging their own brand of alternative music into a realm of seamless sweeping cinematic backdrops, considered melodics and a heaviness that leaves room for some feels. And while the metalcore and post-hardcore labels have followed this American quartet's career for just over a decade, it's with their upcoming full-length Monomania that the group both acknowledge their sonic journey while providing some solid groundwork for a whole new decade ready to unfold.
Kicking off with its title track (and one of its lead singles to boot), Monomania glows in an anthemic furore, with ambient undertones adding a slice of beauty to the shiny, menacing production and lush clean vocals amid some grittier moments. No Way Out follows next, continuing the vivid electronic lashings amid moments of light and shade.
MONOMANIA (THE WORD ALIVE)
Jumpy riffs and splashy drumwork shine on next with the jaunty Searching For Glory, while Another Year In The Shadows goes deeper down the electro rabbit hole, with glitchy tones and pulsing rhythmics bolstering the emphatic vocals of frontman Tyler Smith as he continues to pour his soul out to the universe.
Poppier melodics wind their way throughout Monomania, whether amid thunderous soundscapes (Greatest Almost) or softer moments (Comfort Chaos), while more dramatic fare flashes through at times with glossy and raw force (Numb Love Misery II, Burning Your World Down) as the album dives deep into some significantly strong emotions, as frontman Telle Smith explains:
"Sometimes, we're so desperate to be heard that we get lost attempting to fit in or to stand out. It's fucking hard learning what feels like hard lessons over and over. We fail to take ownership of our thoughts and actions, pulling us further away from facing who we are. You only really overcome that by trusting in yourself, because that's the only way you can break the cycle...When you listen to our new music, I hope you have a better understanding of our entire career...Maybe you can see the whole story and realize that we're not different from you. We've been through it all, but we're always trying to learn, grow, and leave something behind we feel will help people" - Telle Smith, vocals
While the overarching Monomania modus operandi finds home in more modern waters, we are not without the occasional scathing moments as the Word Alive gents boost up the harsher grit at times in a dazzling balancing act against their ambient backdrops, particularly evident on the heavy banger that is Thank You as well as the second half of closing track Death Is Only The End If You.
For a group now in sixth studio album territory, it's no shock that the production levels and end product are executed in precise fashion, particularly with Eric Ron (Panic! At The Disco, Godsmack) on production duties. And while the combo of electronics and post-hardcore moments may, on paper, seem alienating for the casual or hardcore heavy fan, it's in the balance of dense arrangements and blasting emotion on Monomania that The Word Alive truly thrive, showcasing the band's own personal and professional journey while celebrating the power music can harness to ultimately unify the human condition.
THE WORD ALIVE'S BRAND NEW ALBUM MONOMANIA IS OFFICIALLY OUT NEXT FRIDAY FEBRUARY 21 VIA FEARLESS RECORDS AND CAROLINE AUSTRALIA.
BY TIANA SPETER