The Word Alive - Life Cycles
With the release of sophomore album Alive Or Just Breathing, Killswitch Engage proved that metal and hardcore could be impressively fused, creating a new wave of metal that would come to be known as “metalcore”. This was a triumphant beginning for a genre that has since seen unprecedented levels of both popularity and loathing. The genre has become so popular it has invited the likes of schoolboys Bring Me The Horizon on board, an invitation which has inevitably turned the genre into somewhat of a fad, loathed by those whose love their music for none other than the musical quality. Fringes, vests, and tattoo sleeves aside, metalcore, like any genre, still has its top players: The Devil Wears Prada for example. With producer Joey Sturgis at the wheel (The Devil Wears Prada, Of Mice & Men), have The Word Alive put a firm stamp on the genre with their follow up to debut album Deceiver?
The first notable observation about Life Cycles is its almost overambitious effort to not be camouflaged by the competition. Like Bleeding Through, the Arizona quintet make extensive use of synth to a degree that it overstays its welcome and is prone to appearing at the wrong moment; the synth in opener ‘Dragon Spell’ is simply disorientating, mismatched, and distracting. Even so, their synth sound is unmistakably unique and, without it, this album is otherwise simple metalcore through and through, staying on much the same tracks as their debut. If the synth stuff sounds intriguing, give it a go - but otherwise, this brings little new to the pit.