The following track Hard Reset provides some Slipknot styled aggression with down tuned guitar riffs, fist pumping down beats and vicious vocal passages before we get into modern soaring choruses and guitar harmonies. The romantically sadistic track Strange Love, brings us some snarling synth lines that have been ripped and torn from a Mick Gordon (modern Doom) soundtrack with bawl rumbling low tuned guitars mixed with poppy choruses.
New Reality brings in some futuristic themed choruses and some intricately timed vocal effects to add more of a cyperpunk styled approach to the song. The delay driven verse riffs along with poppy bass lines in Hate Me (ft. Loveless) reminisce on the That’s The Spirit era of Bring Me The Horizon, especially with the harsh vocal styles in the choruses.
On the second half of the album the ballad Slow Burn contains late 2000s rock ballad energy with acoustic guitar passages, melodic lead guitar lines mixing with catchy mainstream rock choruses that would remind me of the band Dead by April. Fade Away (ft. Escape The Fate) returns the band back to guitar driven territory with octave effected guitar riffs, clanky bass tones, huge phat drum sounds and brief harsh vocal takes from Craig Mabbit from Escape the Fate.
A New Empty carries on the heaviness with Djenty technical string skipping riffage and funk infused bass lines and Nocturnal Future provides classic metalcore riffs that you would hear from an All That Remains track whilst being lased with modern styled layers such delayed guitars, octave layered melodies and gothic sounding keys including 90’s sounding phased guitars.
From their optimistic opening to their soaring closer, The Word Alive still remind us that they are still one of the underrated metalcore acts of the modern era. The band still know how to go hard with songs like Hard Set, Fade Away and Nocturnal Future whist still adding new interesting layers in songs like the sexy Strange Love, the cyber punk laced New Reality and the industrial grooves of One Of Us.
I found the weakest aspects of the album were guest appearances, I felt like they didn’t really add anything to the tracks due to they parts being so brief. The only that really sounded apparent to me was the Noahs contributions in One Of Us and even then, I felt like the track it self sounded like a deep cut from Bad Omen’s back catalogue. Overall a great solid listen for fans of Bad Omens, Bring Me The Horizon and Dead By April. 8/10
The Distal EP begins, however, with what hip hop producers must hope to find in their stocking on Christmas: Neolithic Nonce and Sigil Pathos contain as their centerpieces simple, effective, piano melodies that only deepen upon reiteration, the later even echoing Wu Tang Clan's 1994 meditation on their more capitalistic aspirations, C.R.E.A.M. The Distal EP goes from full-on future sexy evil with To The Last Recorded Syllable Of Time (though I'm admittedly a sucker for a Macbeth misquote) into the realms of the beautiful, dark, twisted denouement on the B Side of The Terror by The Flaming Lips.
Pleasure Forever explores the seductively lethargic and deceptively upbeat on the remainder of their journey toward the end… of the album. If it's Metal you're after, you might look elsewhere, but if you're not picky about how you get your music fix, The Distal EP is as satisfying as it is unnameably unsettling. 7/10
Owlbear - Chaos To The Realm (Alone Records) [Matt Bladen]
American classic metal band Owlbear are deep in the vein of bands that play Up The Hammers festival. We're talking classic/traditional metal inspired by NWOBHM (Bastard Sons) and the American heavier sound. Owlbear is Jeff Taft formerly of Adamantis (love that band) on guitars, Leona Hayward of Project: Roenwolfe and Skelator on bass, Estee Slaughter on drums and Klaymore's Katy Scary on vocals.