Sound — 6
The Word Alive... I don't know, I liked their "Heartless" cover. That counts for something, I guess. They've been hit or miss on previous releases with me. "Deceiver" was more good than bad, but it never really reached greatness. "Battle Royale" was good, but it was already released on their "Empire" EP. "We Know Who You Are" is, in my opinion, their most impressive track. It's the most diverse, for sure, but it's also the best example of The Word Alive holding themselves back. They have a ton of talent, but never really get into the flow of their songs. "Life Cycles" was more experimental and melodic than "Deceiver" (something I was looking forward to), but it was way too repetitive. Telle's cleans sounded the same on 95% of the album. It just dragged on an on before finally hitting a high spot with the title track, but after that it quickly fell back into the same monotonous process. Technically good, sure, but it lacked energy. "REAL." seemed to be out to fix this problem and... I don't know. It's more diverse than "Life Cycles." So, there's that. Unlike "Life Cycles," most the songs on "REAL." have their own identity, for better or worse. Telle's singing has improved, but still isn't as mature as I'd like it to be. Instrumental-wise it's a very good showing. Luke Holland's drumming steals the show, with impressive guitars to boot. Sound-wise it sounds like a mixture of "Deceiver" and "Life Cycles," which is both good and bad. "Collapsing," the final track on the album, is the prefect example for this album. It's a song that starts somewhere interesting, builds for about a minute, starts to really get going with something, then just reverts back to what it was doing before. It's the same problem The Word Alive has had since their inception and it's all over the place this album. They just keep holding themselves back instead of letting the song take them places. Also doesn't help that they've hired one of the worst producers of this generation to produce the album.
Lyrics — 3
Lyrically, this album is just bad. Some songs get away with it due to the compliance with the music, such as "Lighthouse," but for the most part these are some cringe-worthy lyrics. Like I said above, Telle has improved as a vocalist, but not as a poet. These are just the typical scene-core lyrics. Nothing more to say, honestly. So here's a random sentence because I just got drawled on as I went to post so I need a minimum of 500 characters. Think I have it now. Hern. I didn't. Do a line Telle. Your lyrics are terrible.
Overall Impression — 7
I'm giving the album a 7 overall, which I guess will turn out to be like a 5.3 or some $!%, but whatever. They're a good band and I look forward to their next release (hopefully, this time with someone who actually has a knack for producing metalcore records and not the same person who was responsible for last year's "Feel"), but this is just another prime example of The Word Alive holding themselves back. One plus side is the songs they've played from "REAL." so far have come off great live. Hopefully they expand their horizons a little more on their next release and allow the guitars to really shine and we'll finally get something worthy of paying full price for. And here's hoping some sh-t happens to Telle so he can actually grow some balls and write about something relevant.