Tonight Alive – Underworld (Album Review)

Tonight AliveUnderworld
Released: January 12th 2017

Lineup:

Jenna McDougall – Vocals
Jake Hardy – Guitar
Cameron Adler – Bass
Matt Best – Drums

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It’s been 3 years since Tonight Alive released their last record Limitless. While it was a hit with many, some fans weren’t so convinced. As someone who has been a fan of Tonight Alive since 2008 and seeing them go from using synthesisers in every song, to giving us their heavier album The Other Side, it was so nice to see them do something other than pop punk, despite it being what they do best.

Fans have been waiting and waiting for new material since the Limitless album cycle ended (which Australian fans didn’t even get to see live, thanks guys) and now we finally have it. Underworld is exactly what they needed to release. It’s alternative, it’s powerful, it’s Tonight Alive. The first few bars of the opening song ‘Book of Love’ had me a bit worried that this record would be similar to Limitless, but fast forward 10 seconds and I was pleasantly surprised. This track has a real groovy feel, and the beat in the verses in contrast to the heavy chorus is spot on. I can see this being a single with a kickass video.

 

Following on is the first single from the album ‘Temple’, the introduction to the album. This came out at the perfect time and it’s relatable as hell. Everyone has been losing it over this and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a 10/10 banger. From there we hit ‘Disappear’ which features Lynn Gunn of PVRIS. The hype to hear this has been highly anticipated and they delivered it so well together. While it’s not packing a heavier punch like other tracks on the album do, it offers something different. Frontwoman Jenna McDougall and Lynn’s voices work so nicely with each other and I love some good guest vox. Moving through the album we have tracks like ‘The Other’, a fast banger, ‘In My Dreams’, a softer offering, and ‘For You’, one of the sweetest love songs I’ve heard in a long time. The way this song is written and performed is just so damn nice. The fans of their heavier stuff probably won’t rate it that highly, because its just so soft and nice and to be honest, quite pop driven but it’s just SO DAMN NICE.

‘Crack My Heart’ is next up, the second single, another bloody banger. When I first watched this video I thought they had gotten Enchantress from Suicide Squad to choreograph Jenna’s moves. Jokes aside, this song left me speechless with it’s huge chorus when I heard it for the first time. Good job fam, you managed to shut me up for once 👏 ‘Just For Now’ comes straight after and you guessed it, it’s another banger. It’s incredibly catchy, with a great rhythm and beautifully executed vocals. Talking comparisons for a second, it reminds me a little bit of ‘Don’t Wish’ from The Other Side; which as TA fans would know is a crowd favourite. I can see this being the ‘Don’t Wish’ of Underworld‘Burning On’ is another great track with big vocals and a big chorus. Following on from that is ‘Waiting For The End’, a song I’m not particularly a huge fan of personally but I’m sure others will love it. A very Limitless sounding song called ‘Last Light’ is up next, with ‘Looking For Heaven’, a beautiful track with just a piano and one voice accompanying it beginning to round out the album. It’s one of the best new songs by Tonight Alive but they’ve saved the best for the end.

 

Lastly, my favourite song on the entire album. ‘My Underworld’ is an incredible ballad where Jenna speaks about the darker side, her underworld. The addition of Corey Taylor’s vocals turns this track from great to incredible. I love a good ballad, and I love a good duet and this track is the perfect mixture. When I first heard that Corey Taylor is featured on the album, I was expecting something heavy and gritty but what was delivered was even better than that. Their voices work so well together and I’m so glad this is what they produced.

All in all, this album is exactly what I feel Tonight Alive needed to release. I can’t really fault it if I’m being honest. Some will say I’m just being biased, but it’s honestly just a damn good record. It’s diverse, very well written and well produced. This record has something for everyone… But it’s quite bittersweet. It is the last release former guitarist Whakaio Taahi is featured on and you can hear him all over it. After 9 years with the band, they parted ways last October and let me tell you fans were shocked to say the least.

 

It’s hard to say what the future of Tonight Alive holds without him, but if this album is anything to go by, I think we can expect big things. Whakaio, if you’re reading this, Thank you (for everything) and Goodnight.

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Tonight AliveUnderworld tracklisting

  1. Book of Love
  2. Temple
  3. Disappear (feat. Lynn Gunn)
  4. The Other
  5. In My Dreams
  6. For You
  7. Crack My Heart
  8. Just for Now
  9. Burning On
  10. Waiting For the End
  11. Last Light
  12. Looking For Heaven
  13. My Underworld (feat. Corey Taylor)

Rating: 9/10 – (it would be a 10/10 but Whak dogged it.)
Underworld is out Friday Jan 12th via UNFD. Pre-Order Here
Review by Renae Egan

Revisit Jenna McDougall co-hosting and discussing Whak‘s departure on Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall here

2017 Gen Use by Neal Walters

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