The Word Alive – MONOMANIA (Album Review)

The Word Alive – Monomania
Released: February 21st, 2020

Line-up

Telle Smith // Vocals
Tony Pizzuti // Guitar/Vocals
Zack Hansen // Guitar/Vocals
Matt Horn // Drums

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Born in Arizona in 2008, The Word Alive are one of the front runners on the metalcore scene at the moment. MONOMANIA is the band’s 6th studio album, and vocalist Telle Smith has said that it’s their most emotional record yet. Of the title track, Smith says ‘I wanted to capture the emotional roller coaster we go through as we continually kill our true selves battling the ‘madness’ we feel as we struggle with who we are’. MONOMANIA is The Word Alive’s first album with producer Erik Ron, who’s worked with names like Panic! At The Disco and Godsmack, after doing their previous two albums, Dark Matter in 2016, and Violent Noise in 2018 with Matt Good. Having been following their career since 2016, it’s awesome to see how much they’ve grown both musically and lyrically and I truly believe that MONOMANIA is their best record yet!

The album kicks off with the title track ‘MONOMANIA’, and as soon as the vocals kick in you know that you’re in for an emotional rollercoaster throughout the track and album. There’s lyrics that everyone is going to relate to in this one, especially ‘Killing ourselves to cope’ which is repeated several times throughout. If you have ever suffered from a loss, a mental health issue, or run yourself into the ground from working too hard you’re going to relate. It’s not all about hitting you in the feels however, as there is a signature The Word Alive breakdown in the track which has some fantastic guitar work from Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti, and some great drums from Matt Horn. Track two ‘No Way Out’ is definitely my favourite track on the album, as well as possibly my favourite TWA track of all time. I’m giving in to all my darkest doubts, like there was no way out’ is the driving lyric of the chorus, and one of the most relatable lyrics I think I’ve ever heard. The accompanying music video is also a beautiful piece of cinematography and there’s a really cool juxtaposition between the video and the lyrics. The Word Alive have this uncanny ability to draw you into their music, and to hit you right where you need to be hit emotionally. The fourth single released from MONOMANIA prior to the album dropping is track three ‘Searching For Glory’. My favourite part of this track is Matt Horn’s drumming, the guy is cool as fuck and just knows what parts need to go where. His drumming is also tight, precise and is a fantastic backbone for this track.

‘Another Year in the Shadows’ is track four and I have a heap of appreciation for Telle Smith on this track. His vocals go from screaming, to clean, to light and soft and he’s improved so much throughout the band’s career. This is a great track to just get lost in and musically it’s definitely one of the strongest on the record. Track five is ‘Greatest Almost’ and it’s one of the faster tracks on the album musically, and the way the lyrics sit on top of it is damn near perfect. At times it feels like Telle is rapping, but that doesn’t take anything about from the content. ‘Thank You’ is track six and marks the halfway point of MONOMANIA and has my favourite opening on the album, it’s a bit electronic, and a bit of synth and just sounds cool. You’re moving as soon as that riff hits your ears and it also repeats throughout and just gets you going.

Numb Love (Misery II)’ is track seven, and as you guessed from the title is part two to ‘Misery’, the standalone track The Word Alive released between Violent Noise and ‘Burning Your World Down’. There’s an epic guitar solo about halfway through this track which is a fantastic showcase of just how talented Zack Hansen is at his instrument. Next up is ‘KF’, which is the longest track on the record. The opening of this one makes me think of Marilyn Manson’s cover of ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), but only sonically and only for the first seven or so seconds. I would have loved to have seen this one released as a single as it has a little bit of everything in it. There’s your typical drums and bass, as well as some thrashy guitars, but also a little bit of electronic and synthetic beats throughout. ‘Burning Your World Down’ is track nine and was the first single dropped from this record. It was released on October 31st, 2019, before MONOMANIA was even announced and fits perfectly on the record. It comes in at a close second to ‘No Way Out’ for my favourite songs on the album. ‘Something in you had to break, God knows that you need to change, you’ve haunted all my dreams’ and ‘I’m burning your world down piece by piece’ are my two favourite lyrics on the track and they just really help to put certain emotions into words.

Comfort Chaos’ is track ten and the drums really open this track up and make it sound massive in my opinion, and their really my favourite part about the track. Hell yeah, Matt Horn, you smashed it! There are also points on the track where the vocals don’t even sound like Telle, but they are which is really cool. I also really enjoyed the incorporation of an acoustic guitar in the second half of the track. Second to last is track eleven, ‘I’m Sorry You’re Sorry Now’. The only ‘bad’ thing about this track is that it’s one of the shortest songs on the record at just under 3:20, and I just wanted to hear more of it. Favourite parts of this track is the guitar solo, hats off to you Tony Pizzuti, and the choral sounding vocals in the second half. Another solid track. Last, but definitely not least is track twelve, ‘Death Is Only The End If You Assume The Story Is About You’. It’s the perfect track to book end the record and really rounds it out nicely. Telle gets to flex his fantastic screaming muscle on this track and as much as I enjoy listening to him sing, his screams are on another level entirely. He does some of his best screamed vocals on this record that I’ve ever heard him do across The Word Alive’s entire discography.

MONOMANIA is a front running contender for Album Of The Year for me. Telle has really dug deep lyrically and bared his soul and there’s just something about him showing that vulnerability that’s easily relatable. The Word Alive have always stayed true to themselves and musically it definitely shows here, a lot of solid performances on this album from Zack, Tony & Matt!

TWA

The Word Alive – Monomania tracklisting:

1. MONOMANIA
2. NO WAY OUT
3. SEARCHING FOR GLORY
4. ANOTHER YEAR IN THE SHADOWS
5. GREATEST ALMOST
6. THANK YOU
7. NUMB LOVE (MISERY II)
8. KF
9. BURNING YOUR WORLD DOWN
10. COMFORT CHAOS
11. I’M SORRY YOU’RE SORRY NOW
12. DEATH IS ONLY THE END IF YOU

Rating: 9.5/10
Monomania is out Friday February 21
st via Fearless Records/Caroline Australia. Pre-order here.
Review by Kelsey Trevan. @kelsey_139

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