Life Cycles by The Word Alive (Fearless Records)
Life Cycles is the second full-length album from The Word Alive, and it’s a gigantic leap above anything they have ever recorded. There is a a definitive metallic sound involved this time around, with the breakdowns heavier than ever. And then there’s the sweeping melodic parts, displaying a sense of profound maturity and ambition. The 13 songs found within Life Cycles are powerful and intriguing, showing a band at the very height of their creativity. Capturing their devastating live performances while adding studio magic into the proceedings, Life Cycles by The Word Alive hits a grand slam into the big leagues.
The vocal performance of Tyler “Telle” Smith is nothing short of mesmerizing, whether he’s screaming with a ferocious intensity or singing clean vocals with a steadfast passion. Smith is that rare performer who can weave a daring sense of dynamics into his voice, and his artistry on Life Cycles is top notch. Zack Hansen excels on lead guitar, his tasty metal licks launching the tracks into a whole new dimension. Tony Pizzuti on rhythm guitar and Daniel Shapiro on bass contribute mightily to the atmospheric wall of sound. Session drummer Matt Horn drives everything home with an all-out vengeance, really placing the pedal to the metal. Hansen and Pizzuti also unleash highly imaginative programming, adding yet another aural sensation to the proceedings.
Every song found within Life Cycles is a glorious standout. Here are some of the absolute highlights to be found within…
You know you are in for a relentless surprise when Telle screams “Show no mercy,” at the very beginning of opening cut Dragon Spell. The entire first track alone exudes a carnival of sound that will tantalize the senses. Entirety is another stunner, a spiraling cut that stands out tremendously. Bar Fight is down and dirty, with its explosive reprieves guaranteed to make you want to dive headfirst into the nearest mosh pit of destruction.
“I’d rather die for what I believe than live a life without meaning,” vocalist Telle says triumphantly in the thrilling title cut Life Cycles. Expect this one to be a cause for celebration when performed live, especially when the audience sings along to the inspiring lyrics.
Hidden Lakes manages to be both haunting and heavy as hell, and is a track well worth wading through. Then Ambitionary dazzles the senses with its trance-like keyboard beginning exploding into sonic overdrive.
Be sure to stick it out to they grand finale, as the poignant final track Astral Plane closes out Life Cycles with a vibrant sense of empowerment and introspection. This one will linger within your head long after the disc spins to its conclusion.
Life Cycles was produced with skill and flair by Joey Sturgis, whose other notable credits include working with bands such as Asking Alexandria, The Devil Wears Prada, and Miss May I. This is definitely the case where producer and band were perfected matched up, creating an enduring endeavor that is sure to inspire many a music connoisseur.
Since the recording, Luke Holland has joined The Word Alive as their full time drummer. It will certainly be exciting to hear these songs live! In the meantime, check into Life Cycles and prepared to be dazzled by this remarkable achievement.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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