Artist: The Word Alive
Album: Hard Reset
Label: Thriller Records
For those familiar with the world of post-hardcore, no introduction is needed to The Word Alive. Having been around since 2008 and being a staple of the Vans Warped Tour line-up, they’ve built quite the following in their impressive career. The band has released 7 full-length albums and 2 EPs, the majority of which were on Fearless Records. However, for their seventh studio album, Hard Reset, they have found a new label home in Thriller Records. The label is fairly new but the history behind the creators is not to be overlooked, as it was formed by Fearless Records founder Bob Becker and InVogue Records founder Nicholas Moore.
Hard Reset is the perfect title for this album. It’s an amalgamation of all that was and all that is to come for the Phoenix natives. It is a great example of fan service, as it holds both their heaviest material since 2012’s Life Cycles and continues the commercial success they’ve built, starting with 2018’s Violent Noise. Going against the grain is something that this band has always been known for, though, and that’s where this album greatly differs from both of those. The lead single, “New Reality,” for example is a song that sounds like it was written for airplay on SiriusXM’s Octane. With a soaring chorus, heavy and chunky guitars and alternating screamed/sung verses, this is a perfect example to show listeners what to expect out of Hard Reset, without spoiling the surprises. Speaking of surprises? How about bringing back the band’s ORIGINAL vocalist, Craig Mabbitt, for the track “Fade Away”?! There is a wonderful contrast between each vocalist’s abilities but they mesh so well within this collaboration. Once again, we have a soaring chorus, this time with underlying screamed vocals behind each chorus. Additionally, we have the bridge and the outro to the track with both vocalists unleashing some of their best screams to date. The album’s closer “War With You” features Matt Good of From First to Last. This track serves as a good alternative if you’re looking for something less heavy but still having a great build-to-break ratio. The melodic riffs and heavy drum beats in the chorus will really pull you into a false sense of security before it really kicks in. Electronic breaks build into chugging guitars, high-end screams and an atmospheric section before a key change finishes out the final chorus.
If we want to talk about the instrumentals on this album, though, we need look no further than tracks like “Nocturnal Future”. Complex, faded in riffs and electronics build within Smith’s screams and a mid-tempo drum beat that continues throughout. Additionally, a motion picture score-esque orchestral section will have the listener doing a double take as a spoken word cut from Smith overtakes your ears.
Overall, Hard Reset is filled with some of the bands’ most eye-opening, jaw-dropping material to date. Heavy and aggressive when needed but melodic and emotional to hit you right in the feels, as well. Go pick up your copy today!
“New Reality” (Official Music Video)
“Nocturnal Future” (Official Music Video)