It’s almost astounding the vast number of obstacles an individual can face in their lifetime. At times it almost feels as if they’re endless, as if each and every day challenges you with a new personal demon to face. The sheer weight of all of these mental and emotional hindrances can truly bring someone to the brink of a breakdown, If not a complete breakdown. Sometimes the only way out is to find your own personal mean of a cathartic outlet. A means in which to find that emotional balance once again and centre yourself to find some sort of contentment. That is exactly what Tyler ‘Telle’ Smith and The Word Alive have done on their latest album, Violent Noise. An emotional roller-coaster lyrically, the album takes you through the mindset of a man who had hit rock bottom, and his intense ride back to feeling himself. The album almost acts as a journal to Telle’s life over the past years but is presented in such a way that any listener going through similar trials and tribulations can take solace in knowing they’re not alone. Sonically the album takes the direction of Dark Matter, with dashes of Real. and other past heavy hitters for good measure. This is undoubtedly The Word Alive’s most personal and creative album to date.
“Why Am I Like This” is a perfect example of The Word Alive’s overall new sound direction. Musically it borders on alternative rock. A melodic and accessible song, it could be what one refers to as ‘radio friendly’. But upon further listening to the lyrical subject matter, this is anything but the case. The song speaks to Telle’s dependence on finding the next high, no matter what that really entailed. Wanting to live this life, along with hoping those that are around you will encourage these life choices, so you can feel (wrong or right) that you’ve made the right decisions. A sentiment that many would be lying if they said they hadn’t experienced themselves, this song can be the emotional outlet you’ve been hoping for, rather than looking for that next devil may care moment.
“Stare At The Sun” perfectly melds The Word Alive’s sound of new and old. It’s toe-tapping, rhythmic drumming throughout, and technical guitar riffs show the listening world that the group have not opted for that ‘dad-rock’ simplicity that so many metalcore-gone-rock bands have been playing of late. Telle as per usual finds the perfect way in which to pair his vocals with the instruments, amplifying the overall sound of the track. Where this song truly shines for those heavy lovin’ listeners will be when Danny Worsnop steps up to the mic during the second verse to belt out some bloody high screams. During the bridge Telle and Worsnop almost seem to have an epic battle of the screams, leading into a duet of the final chorus. To find two singers voices which on the grand scheme of things are so vastly different yet match so harmoniously ever again will be a feat not many could accomplish. It’s assumed with almost complete certainty that this song was chosen on purpose to feature such a vocal juggernaut such as Danny Worsnop. Kudos, The Word Alive.
“Human” is a song that truly shines on Violent Noise. Although overall it is not entirely new ground for the band, it feels as if it has some of the strongest passion both lyrically and musically behind it. The verses are played in soft and somber tones, as if to drive the message of the track a little further home. Splashy drums over an ambient sample, and guitars played as if only to accentuate the prior, with Telle smoothly crooning his story through your speakers. Without stating the obvious, the song speaks to being exactly what its title implies; human. We all make mistakes, fumble and folly in our lives, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. You must push and strive to be better. To do better. And no matter what that is always possible. The song features Phoenix, Arizona rapper, Sincerely Collins whose smooth yet deliberate delivery act as the perfect method to help emphasize the tracks subject matter. The song has a great message, is an absolute jam to rock along with, and is sure to be stand out for many.
“Run Away” has to be one of the more positive messages expressed on Violent Noise. The lyrics almost feel as if they were a life lesson, or at the very least some advice that Telle wishes to share with anyone willing to listen. Touching on similar subject matter as “Human”, but a little more directed at others rather than a personal reflection. Make your mistakes, take risks, but never stop learning from them. Take what you’ve learnt and become the better you and do everything in your power to never repeat any of your past transgressions but push to be and do more. Musically the song has an extremely upbeat feel, which is more than welcome considering that usually on albums like this the overall sound can weigh heavy on the dreary or morose. The songs quickened pace almost instills a sense of ambition to take this new lesson and use it to its full advantage in way you can.
One of the greatest things about Violent Noise is that it feels as if the band truly and painstakingly plotted out the track list order. Songs were strategically placed for perfect flow, as well as acting as a counterpoint to the song before. Case in point, “Run Away” leading into “Lonely”. Sonically the song couldn’t be any more the opposite of what came before. Sullen and gloomy, the tracks overall delivery matches perfectly with its title. Each and every note. Each and every style of delivery in which Telle sings his words are to truly emphasize the feeling of its title. The chorus is accentuated with a haunting sample which only helps to further convey the overall theme of feeling alone. The bridge though attacks your speaker with a fervor and ferocity of one who’s sense of utter fear and sadness has been driven to the edge. Slamming guitars and drums paired with Telle violently screaming give the core fans the musical blood they’ve been waiting for.
Telle had spoken a bit on the overall concept of the album stating (to paraphrase); ‘the most distracting noise in life is the on that comes from your head, we all battle with self-doubt, insecurities, and trust. This record is about the balance…you always have control’. In reality this is a fairly simple, yet profound way of looking at all the little intricacies that can make up our daily emotional and mental outlook on all that we experience. How many react to what they face could be completely opposite from a multitude of others, and what you choose to do with that is truly the defining moment in what will happen in the future. You will have days where all seems as if it couldn’t be any better, yet there will be the days when it seems all hope is lost. In any of these given situations it is absolutely up to you how you wish to progress or regress from the current happenings. With Violent Noise, The Word Alive have shown the world that you’re never alone, and there is always a way to decide which path you wish to or should take. This album is an anthem to those wondering which path to take.