Album review: The Word Alive – Hard Reset

Arizona metalcore outfit The Word Alive navigate uncertain futures and inner doubts on their fresh yet ferocious seventh album, Hard Reset.

Album review: The Word Alive – Hard Reset
Rachel Roberts

Are you ready to live?' asks Telle Smith on Hard Reset’s juxtapositional opener, The Word Alive Is Dead. It may not seem like this title and those lyrics can go hand in hand, but there’s a bigger picture to Hard Reset. This album seems not to mark a new chapter for The Word Alive, but a new book.

It opens with lonely drumming and the soft timbre of delicately tickled cymbals but grows into an eerie beast, with full-pelt throat-ripping screams and chunky guitar. With 13 tracks and five colossal collabs to digest, there’s a lot of material on offer here from the Arizona group.

The second and titular track completely ups the ante with double kick drums and swoons between menacing riffs to melodic and swooping segments, but a clear stand out though is Strange Love. With its climbing expansive guitar work, big breakdowns, and of course a flavoursome ‘Bleugh!’ it speaks perfectly to those who prefer this band's heavier side.

Later, Hate Me, featuring Loveless, provides a cleaner offering, with anthemic pulses and a reverb-drenched comedown towards the end of the track, and closer War With You featuring From First To Last delivers on everything you’d hope for on a finale. With a string section coming in and a build up to an up octave shift, it feels like this one should be playing as the credits roll on some sort of blockbuster.

Hard Reset is a beefy offering. Some tracks feel slightly weaker than others, but even still, there’s no bad songs here either, just ones that don’t feel quite as bold. As it navigates through existentialism and worrying futures, its overall sound comes across as far more defined than some of their older material. This record feels like the mark of a re-birth for The Word Alive.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Bad Omens, We Came As Romans, Polaris

Hard Reset is released on August 25 via Thriller

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