On Deceiver, their full-length debut, the Word Alive prove themselves to be a bit of an enigma. Balancing a by-the-book blend of metalcore and post-hardcore with dazzling guitar work and experimental synthesizer excursions, the band offers something that manages to squeeze moments of musical derring-do into otherwise boilerplate metalcore. With lots of breakdowns, bass drops, and sung/screamed vocals, Deceiver covers a lot of familiar territory. Where the album gets interesting is in the guitar acrobatics of Tony Pizzuti and Zack Hansen, who like to keep things lightning fast and intricate. “Epiphany” finds Pizzuti and Hansen delivering knotty, “Flight of the Bumblebee”-style riffs, offering up the kind of thrilling guitar work that leaves the listener wondering how long they can keep it up until the whole thing comes off the rails. The Word Alive should also be given some credit for their use of keyboards, with songs like “2012” shifting into dubstep territory at the breakdown, with the synth-bass swelling up until it’s almost overpowering. While excursions like this don’t always work, they certainly help to separate the Word Alive from the legions of bands just ironically shoehorning dance-pop synths into their songs. For anyone looking for metalcore with a couple of surprises here and there, Deceiver should offer a little something new.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney