Podcast: Talking Monomania with Tyler “Telle” Smith of The Word Alive

It’s been over 10 years since Phoenix metalcore act The Word Alive dropped their debut album, Deceiver. Since that time, the band has evolved into something completely new, as best captured on their latest release, Monomania. Lead vocalist Tyler “Telle” Smith joins Kiel Hauck to discuss the band’s sixth album and how The Word Alive has continued to push themselves to create something that not only impacts their fans but stands the test of time. Smith also discusses how data now informs touring schedules and setlists and what it feels like to share new songs on stage. Listen in!

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What is your favorite song from Monomania? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

The Word Alive Mutually Part Ways with Bassist Daniel Shapiro

Phoenix metalcore act The Word Alive have mutually parted ways with bassist Daniel Shapiro, ending a seven year relationship. Shapiro joined the band shortly after the release of their debut album, Deceiver, and contributed to Life Cycles, Real., and Dark Matter. You can read a message from the band below:

Dear TWA family,
The Dark Matter cycle has been the greatest ride of our lives. Because of your support, we’ve reached so many goals we never thought would be possible 9 years into our career. We’ve sold thousands of albums, streamed millions more and toured all over the world. All because of you.

As we move into this next chapter of our career, creatively we have come to a decision to continue The Word Alive with Tony, Telle, and Zack. Moving into the creation of our newest album, Daniel and us mutually agreed that this would be the best decision for the band. Daniel is an extremely talented musician that we have called our brother for the last 7 years. We continue to do so and wish him the best in his future endeavors. The Word Alive has always been a family, past present and future members will always support each other.

We’re extremely excited for the new chapter that is yet to come and look forward to sharing all of our plans for the rest of the year. As always, we appreciate your support on and off tour. We will be all over the world soon enough to continue this journey together.

Telle, Tony, and Zack

Additionally, Shapiro shared a few words on his departure from the band:

Over the last 7 years, I was fortunate enough to tour the world with some of my best friends in The Word Alive. As of today, I will be heading off on a new musical adventure and I am excited to share with you where the road will take me.

The guys and I will continue to support each other. I’m grateful for the time I had with this family and will always consider myself a part of this band.

Thank you all for the love and support from all the fans, friends, family and crew!

-Danielson

Last year, drummer Luke Holland departed the band as well and was replaced by Matt Horn. The Word Alive released a new single titled “Misery” earlier this year.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Podcast: Backstage at Vans Warped Tour 2016

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Summer is here – and so is the Vans Warped Tour. On this episode of the official It’s All Dead Podcast, Kiel Hauck catches up with bands backstage at this summer’s tour. Interviews include The Word Alive, State Champs and Against the Current. Get the inside details about the country’s longest running music festival and learn how bands survive on the road – listen in!

Subscribe to our podcast here. What are you favorite bands on this summer’s Warped Tour? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Warped Tour 2016: Make Some Noise

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Warped Tour can be an oppressive affair. Sweltering heat, oversized crowds and a fair amount of uncomfortable controversy all make for a cruel mixture. Yet for all of the obstacles, Warped Tour still offers a platform for up and coming bands and a meeting ground for music fans of all kinds. Now in its 22nd year of existence, the country’s largest traveling music festival is a well-oiled machine.

Per usual, this year’s trek offers up a variety of acts, both new and old, that span across multiple genres. Some bands are using the tour as a chance to say “goodbye,” while others are just making an introduction.

After attending Warped Tour’s recent stop in Indianapolis, we decided to highlight a few of the bands that are shining bright this summer. Whether you’re a fan of pop punk, metalcore, post-hardcore or pop, there’s no shortage of sets you won’t want to miss on this year’s tour. Take a look below!

Mayday Parade

Mayday Parade has come a long way since their days following Warped Tour in a van in 2006, handing out CDs to bystanders in line. The Tallahassee, Florida, outfit is a full-scale rock behemoth that once again finds itself gracing the main stage. With the release of last year’s Black Lines, Mayday Parade has fully transitioned from pop punk heroes to an alt-rock powerhouse. Even with an impressive new collection of songs at their disposal, the band still finds time to play fan favorites like “Black Cat”, “Jersey” and “Jamie All Over”

Mayday Parade

Mayday Parade

Against the Current

After signing with Fueled by Ramen and releasing their smash debut album In Our Bones, pop rockers Against the Current look primed to take over the scene. With the confident Chrissy Constanza behind the mic, the band deliver loads of melody perfect for summer sing-alongs. With a solid debut under their belt and a fan base growing larger by the day, don’t be surprised if Against the Current find themselves on the main stage in the very near future.

Against the Current

Against the Current

Yellowcard

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Sure, it’s devastating to consider Yellowcard’s upcoming disbandment following the release of their self-titled album in September, but at least fans are getting another chance to hear their favorite songs. This summer on Warped, Yellowcard reaches back, playing a variety of fan favorites, including four tracks from their smash album Ocean Avenue. Warped Tour won’t be the same without Yellowcard, but we’re thankful that we get to say goodbye.

Yellowcard

Yellowcard

The Word Alive

Even though Phoenix metalcore act The Word Alive are still a relatively young band, they’re now Warped veterans, spending their fourth summer on the tour. With Dark Matter, the band has evolved from their beginnings, offering a taste of experimental rock and even nu metal sounds. Their setlist is a wild ride, especially with Tyler “Telle” Smith on the mic, working the crowd into a frenzy.

The Word Alive

The Word Alive

Secrets

San Diego’s Secrets have had their fair share of re-birth, now enlisting their third vocalist in Wade Walters to handle screaming duties. Multiple changes behind the mic have done little to slow the band down, though, with last year’s Everything That Got Us Here being the band’s strongest work to date. Walters and clean vocalist and guitarist Richard Rogers are now one of the scene’s best one-two punches, providing fans with plenty of reason to jump around in the pit.

Secrets

Secrets

Sleeping with Sirens

Sleeping with Sirens have not only climbed the Warped ladder through the years, they’ve also covered a lot of sonic ground that has kept the band fresh in the eyes and ears of their fans. Last year’s Madness finds the band experimenting with pop elements in addition to ragers like “We Like it Loud” and “Kick Me”, which elicit excitement from the Warped Tour crowd.

Sleeping with Sirens

Sleeping with Sirens

Emarosa

Moments after the rest of Emarosa takes the stage for their set at Warped, vocalist Bradley Walden shoots into the crowd, performing “Miracle” from inside the pit. It’s the kind of energy that makes this summer tour such a blast for fans, especially when you consider the heart and soul poured into the band’s latest release, 131. Walden and company have taken their game to a whole new level, which is saying a lot for one of the most captivating bands in the post-hardcore scene.

Emarosa

Emarosa

Real Friends

Considering the clamor surrounding their debut, it’s still incredible to see how much Real Friends has upped the ante with their new release, The Home Inside My Head. The band continues to come into their own, now gracing the main stage for this summer’s Warped Tour. Dan Lambton bounds about the stage wailing with passion while the rest of the band drives their set forward, much to the crowd’s delight. Sometimes singing the saddest songs can still be a joyous affair.

Real Friends

Real Friends

I See Stars

It’s possible that Treehouse is the most criminally underrated album of 2016. The latest from electronicore act I See Stars finds Devin Oliver handling full vocal duty for the first time, and his stage presence at Warped is something to behold. The band still brings the house down with hits like “Murder Mitten” and “Filth Friends Unite”, but showcase newfound potential with new tracks like “Mobbin’ Out”. On their third full trek on the summer tour, I See Stars are sounding better than ever.

I See Stars

I See Stars

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

The Word Alive Stream New Song “Made This Way”

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We’re only a few short weeks away from the release of Dark Matter, the fourth full-length album from The Word Alive. The band is now streaming a new song titled “Made This Way” that showcases a continuation of the experimental rock sound that drives their new music. Take a listen to the new song below:

If you like what you hear, you can pre-order Dark Matter on iTunes. The album is set to drop March 18 on Fearless Records.

What are your thoughts on “Made This Way” and the rest of the new tracks from The Word Alive? Share your thoughts in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

The Word Alive Stream New Song “Trapped”

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Phoenix, Arizona metalcore heavyweights The World Alive have returned with a brand new song titled “Trapped”. The song is the lead single from their upcoming album, Dark Matter, set to be released on March 18 via Fearless Records. The first music released by the band since 2014’s Real, “Trapped” adds intriguing theatrical elements to the band’s blend of thrashing metal core. Take a listen below!

Like what you hear? You can preorder Dark Matter here. What are your thoughts on the new album? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Review: The Word Alive – Real

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If it’s become increasingly difficult for you to tell one metalcore release apart from the next, you’re not alone. With the exception of Lost Forever // Lost Together by Architects earlier this year, there hasn’t been many new releases from the genre to crow about in 2014.

I’m not here to argue that Real, the third full length from Phoenix band The Word Alive, is about to change all of that, but the album is akin to a breath a fresh air above the surface. The Word Alive has never been as much about changing the game as they have been playing the game better than others.

The band’s 2010 debut, Deceiver, still stands as an example of what a breakout album should sound like – full of emotion, littered with technical parts that demand repeated listens, and a touch of brash confidence to sell it all.

The fact that their 2012 follow-up, Life Cycles, seemed more like a sophomore slump than a continued elevation towards greatness raised questions about what direction Real would head. Would the band return to the methods of Deceiver’s madness, or delve further towards the heavy radio rock-ish vibe found on parts of Life Cycles.

The answer? A little of both.

On first listen, Real seems to command the speakers in the same way their debut did. Luke Holland unleashes on the drum kit with some crushing fills and pummeling bass kicks that drive the songs forward. His intro on “Broken Circuit” is masterful, as is his ability to command songs like “Glass Castle”.

Holland isn’t the only talented musician in this band, though. Zack Hanson’s guitar work has long been something that sets this band apart. In truth, it feels as though Hanson has much more room to work on Real than he has on the band’s last two albums. Whether he and fellow axe man Tony Pizzuti are offering up the expected breakdown, or letting their hair down a little on tracks like “Never Forget” or “The Runaway”, the duo certainly keep the listener interested.

Vocalist Tyler “Telle” Smith ups his game from Life Cycles, too. His layered screams are still some of the best in the business, and his cleans sound much more authentic this go around. Whether he’s roaring over the top of “Play the Victim” or giving his pop punk chops a go on “The Runaway”, Telle proves himself a multi-talented frontman.

Instead of going full-on Deceiver Part Duex with Real, the band mixes things up with a few curveballs (some work better than others). Tracks like “94th St.” are a delight and a much-appreciated departure from the typical architecture of a Word Alive song. The track’s slow pace creates an eerie backdrop for Telle’s soaring chorus while showcasing the band’s new ability to bury their programming appropriately into the mix instead of letting it stick out like a sore thumb.

Other changes aren’t quite as pleasant. “Lighthouse” serves as an anthemic, fist-pumping arena rock song, but will likely result in more face palms than anything else. “Collapsing” makes an attempt at the epic-closer that is apparently now required of every album in this genre, but fails to do anything to set itself apart, feeling more clumsy than moving.

That’s really the biggest fault of Real – it’s a bit overreaching at times, leaving the band to trip over their own shoelaces in an attempt to do too much. Last year, blessthefall decided to stay in their own wheelhouse with Hollow Bodies, resulting in an album that crushes nearly every song. Call it safe if you want – an honest portrayal of a talented band doing what they do best is more like it.

The Word Alive are more technically talented than almost any other band in the metalcore genre, yet it seems they haven’t quite found their sweet spot for the course of an entire album. For now, this is a small complaint, as Real takes a sizeable step forward from Life Cycles. Here’s hoping the next album knocks it out of the park.

3.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

The Word Alive release “Play the Victim”, announce new album

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Metalcore outfit The Word Alive dropped some big news – They will be releasing their new album REAL on June 10 via Fearless Records. The album will be the band’s third full-length release and is a follow-up to 2012’s Life Cycles. In conjunction with the announcement, the band has released the first single, titled “Play the Victim”. You can watch a lyric video for the song below:

The Word Alive will be playing the Van’s Warped Tour all summer long. Preorders for REAL are coming soon – stay tuned!

Posted by Kiel Hauck