Sometimes I truly feel like I’m living the plot of an episode of the Twilight Zone or the plot of the fucking Stepford Wives. The year is 2020 and somehow every second and third generation metalcore act is slowly trying to morph themselves into the ideal pop act like a goddamn octopus trying to fit through a keyhole. Before I go absolutely fucking hurricane about this like the grumpy fuck I am, let me introduce the topic at hand; the brand spanking new record MONOMANIA by The Word Alive out of Phoenix, AZ.
I will slam back the haterade like the cheap all you can drink wine being dished out at your bar mitzvah in a bit. First, a little more of a background: for the most part I’ve silently sat and watched all these once revered names of heavy, but poppy, wave bands slowly dismember themselves in an apparent effort to keep themselves relevant amongst the kids (being their soul fanbase) for the entirety of their fame and glory.
The Word Alive have always been a household name to late 2000s metalcore fans much like that of Memphis May Fire, Asking Alexandria, and, of course patient fucking zero themselves, Bring Me The Horizon. With MONOMANIA we have what I am now dubbing the “That’s The Spirit Plague,” where a band who once did the edgy late stage screamo metalcore hybrid have now gone full fucking Shinedown on us. Many have successfully attempted this, pumping out an effort or two that genuinely sounded unique and most of all addictive. The others are well, pissing me the fuck off
MONOMANIA as a record is well, if not overly produced, relatively catchy, and completely in line with releases of the previously mentioned bands in a sort of uniform fashion. In plain fucking English I can say that people genuinely into this evolution of metalcore (though it’s truly not that same beast I know and love anymore) will absolutely fucking bang this record because it is not bad. Every bell and whistle are well placed, cranked to eleven, and panders to the demographic of those attempting to stay relevant and I more than respect the grind. My only criticism in speaking of the construction of this record, and not the ideology that lead to its creation, is that many tunes feel as if the writing was forced to fit its mold (see exhibit A: in “GREATEST ALMOST”). Tunes like “NO WAY OUT,” “I’M SORRY YOU’RE SORRY NOW,” and even the title track, “MONOMANIA,” have aspects of grove and contagion that make the album a digestible piece and worthy of a listen.
My issue is that the idea of an artist watching the rest of the world fall into this pattern of relevance chasing and saying to themselves “welp, down this hole I go!” and thinking either nobody will notice or care. I care. Sure, there’s plenty of heavy bands out there and every artist is entitled to their piece of the pie, but at what cost to your own artistic integrity do you feed yourself with the efforts of another?
Written by Jason
*edited by Danielle Kenedy