Opening with The Word Alive is Dead, this new album begins with some repetitive slightly distorted lyrics of “it’s not the end, tell a friend, soon the show will begin” and immediately I know this is going to be their opening for live shows (and if it’s not, they’re missing a trick).
It’s a haunting track and a great opener as it has you wondering what you’re going to expect next before building in intensity and talking about being born again.
They don’t hold back on Hard Reset with an in your face piece of metalcore perfection. Perfectly going between intense scream and soaring melodic vocals. There are some great breakdowns throughout which combat the melodic chorus.
Strange Love’s instrumentation in the verses reminds me a bit of Like A Storm and the chorus is huge. It’s an early favourite for my favourite on the record and we’re only three tracks in.
One of Us is the first track on the record to have a guest star, with Bad Omens joining the fray. The vocals complement each other well and it’s a definite highlight, switching things up to a pop rock style with the hooks.
Next up for guest features is Loveless on Hate Me. This track switches things up and is more of an electronic rock masterpiece.
Slow Burn switches the style up again, with a slower, more atmospheric track. The drums are very prominent in the track and despite a more basic instrumentation, it stands out well, allowing for the lyrics to shine through and builds in intensity and complexity, into a nice guitar solo before returning to a basic guitar line.
Fade Away features Escape The Fate and is the heaviest track on the record so far. It has a really good breakdown and it’s great to see two bands I really admire joining forces.
The next guest is Philip Strand from Normandie who is one of my favourite vocalists. He really adds something special to A New Empty and works well alongside Telle for stunning dual vocals.
I relate a lot to the lyrics in Static Rain, which talk about feeling weak and being lost without a specific person.
Nocturnal Future’s lyrics are extremely interesting and delivered very well. The track talks about the state of the world and the mental anguishes many people face.
Closing track War With You speaks about knowing someone is struggling mentally but isn’t saying anything. It features From First To Last. It’s a well-rounded track and a good one to close the album.
There’s one thing about The Word Alive and that is that they don’t surprise me. Everything they’ve put out, I’ve absolutely loved and Hard Reset is no exception. With soaring choruses, at-times brutal verses and a combination of angelic clean vocals and guttural screams, it’s as close to perfection as you can get. And that’s without going into too much detail on the breakdowns, intricate drums, synths and cool guitar solos.
There are a number of guest stars on the album and they fit in well with each track.
Vocalist Telle Smith previously said of the album: “We took the things we’ve done best and molded them together to create a solidified version of the band. We tried to push ourselves and the boundaries of our genre within the songwriting: from the vocals to the music. Moving forward, you can say, ‘I know who The Word Alive is’.” And he is completely right. This is definitely the best version of The Word Alive (so far).