After being familiar with The Word Alive for so long, it’s feels strange to say that they have finally come out with a debut album. Empire EP was anything but lacking, and the band made a point that there were great things in the works as they easily found themselves touring alongside well-known bands on big festivals. Deceiver shows some improvement and maturity, as one should expect. There are well written slow parts that many probably didn’t expect to hear much of, and “Battle Royal” still packs its punch, though it has been tweaked to perfection through minor changes. It’s hard to find parts of this album where harmonies and layered screams aren’t present, and I think it goes to show that there was a lot of time, thought, and effort put into the writing of the album.
I feel this band is a bit underrated. Elements of their music are comparable to fellow label-mates, Blessthefall, but of the two, The Word Alive has the heavier, more technical parts. The screaming is so good that the band would not suffer without clean vocals – not implying that I would like to see Tyler Smith out of the picture, in the least. I find the lyrics of the album to be subpar, but the musicianship more than makes up for it. There is very sound, complex drumming, and great lead and rhythm guitar parts that mesh well. The electronics of the album also add a nice touch.
My favorite song from the release is the track, “2012.” It starts out heavy and dissonant, to the sound of, “You’ll get what you deserve for fucking with me.” The layered screams in this part and throughout the rest of the song really stand out. One of the more interesting electronic parts is present within the first breakdown, and the pitch bend is pretty intense. Some subtle strings can be found within the track, and an emotionally conveyed chorus accompanied by a fitting guitar riff shows their talents well. The phased screams into the last breakdown could not be any better.
“Consider it Mutual” is by far the most diverse track on the album. When it first started, I was tempted to skip it, looking for a faster, heavier song. However, the band has kept listeners like myself in mind apparently, as an impressively smooth transition brings things back up to speed. The keys parts within the song are not overwhelming, the guitarists stay busy, and harmonized vocals continue to impress. I really like how the song slows again to distant drumming, runs into some panic chords, and has an abrupt ending that most wouldn’t see coming.
To sum things up, I hope this album helps the band’s popularity a bit as they are definitely deserving of it. They have an ability to manipulate tempos, a distinctive sound, and completely surprised me with the quality of their slower parts on the album. To be honest, there really wasn’t much not to like. Anyone who would consider themselves fans of Empire will be very pleased.