REVIEW: Shallow Truths – Alive Again [2020]

Artist: Shallow Truths

Album: Alive Again

            2020 has shown us a lot of things about ourselves and about the world we live in. It’s shown us death, frustration and loss. It has shown us that the people we hold dear—those same people we would give anything for and do anything to protect—might not think of us similarly. It has brought out simultaneously the worst in people and the best in people, such that while some run towards danger and peril, others scurry away, willfully deeming the wellbeing of their loved ones as expendable. This same dynamic—the dynamic that exists between the good natured and evil hearted among us—exists in the breakout full-length by Michigan metalcore act Shallow Truths, titled Alive Again. Striking a bold balance between brazen, straight-forward aggression and elegantly crafted (yet ridiculously catchy) pop-dusted choruses, Alive Again is a glimmer of positivity and joy puncturing the murky coat of gloom and despair that seems otherwise pervasive throughout 2020’s opening months. More than that, it is overwhelmingly one of the finest additions to good ol’, heavy-soft, build-up-breakdown metalcore that the genre has experienced this year, or even in recent years—making it a must-hear for fans of the genre.

            Alive Again is a brilliant blend of emotion, energy and aggression that, from start to finish, keeps the listener engaged. Spanning an impressive forty-five minutes (give or take a minute), the debut full-length release by Shallow Truths takes elements from modern metalcore and late 2000’s post-hardcore to make something that feels comfortable and nostalgic without being boring and lack-luster. Throughout the barn-burning introductory track “Grave” and “On Our Own,” Shallow Truths bombard the listener with explosive percussion and booming, bouncy bass that provides a full-bodied low end for the dancy leads and jarring breakdowns to take turns shining upon. Other songs—especially more sullen cuts like “Make Me Sink” or “Far Too Long” from the back-half of Alive Again—highlight the more melancholic and melodic components of Shallow Truths’ dynamic, giving listeners a late-record reprieve from their more straightforward metalcore fare. As it stands, much of what Shallow Truths do on Alive Again isn’t new—if anything, it’s more of a throwback to the days of Of Mice & Men’s debut full-length, or early years of Miss May I’s sprawling discography. It’d good ol’ metalcore, but done to perfection, elegantly blending catchy, poppy components within a backbone of fun, bouncy leads and bodacious breakdowns that give the listener a nostalgia-dusted joyride through the genre’s figurative teenage years.

            This same familiar-yet-contemporary and polished dynamic exists too within Shallow Truths’ vocal component. Star-studded with guest vocalists yet strong In its own right, Alive Again boasts an ideal blend of raw screaming and smooth singing that—even more than the band’s musicianship—sparks a nostalgic wildfire in the listener’s ears. “Grave” and “115” (both featuring some big-time guest spots) are keen examples of this, as are “Alive Again” and even the melancholic “Sober.” Shallow Truths’ vocal element strikes that brilliant balance between bitter aggression and crooned, clean and catchy components with little to no pitfall—leaving nothing wanting for fans of metalcore, post-hardcore, “risecore” and everything in between.

            It’s been hinted at a couple times, but Alive Again doesn’t reinvent the wheel—nor does it try to. It’s carefree, energetic and fun without sacrificing emotional depth or creativity, all while hitting the listener with that pinch of the late 2000s metalcore that just about everyone loves (even if not everyone admits it). Shallow Truths came out swinging on Alive Again and they have one hell of a record to show for it, ensuring that fans of bread-and-butter heavy music have something to wait out the looming pandemic with.


For Fans Of: Of Mice & Men, Miss May I, Fit For a King, Chiodos

By: Connor Welsh