Track By Track: The Word Alive

August 31 2010, 8:00 AM EDT By

Vocalist TYLER “TELLE” SMITH reveals the stories behind each song on THE WORD ALIVE’s debut full-length, Deceiver.

The Hounds Of Anubis
This is a metaphorical song that describes a king trying to rally his followers and believers to destroy anyone who stands in his path.  The verses of the song are directed towards those who stand against him. The chorus is him trying to explain to his followers that he believes in them and hopes they will do the same. The song has sort of an Egyptian feel to it, which is what led to the lyrics being what they are. It's probably the heaviest, most technical song on the album. 

This song is a pretty personal one for me. It deals with how there are so many expectations of me, and that the more successful I try to become, the more there are people who wish to tear me down.  It’s difficult to do what you love and be happy doing it while you have people trying to drag you down. This song talks about how if you let people tear you down, they will. But if you stand strong, it's worth it in the end. This is probably the closest to the feel of our debut EP Empire, but it’s a step forward and the doorway to our new direction. It’s heavy, fast and melodic. It’s a song you'll be singing along to the first time through.

The Wretched
This is a song about being betrayed by your best friend. It has some personal reflection based on some unfortunate choices friends of the band and some of my friends have made during the past year. But the song is not just angry—it's almost as if I was writing it trying to explain to someone that there was no reason to have betrayed me or the band, because I was willing to do whatever it took to be there for them. Our friend Dave Stephens from We Came As Romans was the perfect choice to do guest vocals on this song, and he added in his own flavor to the subject. “The Wretched” is packed with group vocals, heavy verses, choruses that make you want to jump and a breakdown that will rival most.  It’s definitely a drummer’s favorite.

Consider It Mutual
“Consider It Mutual" was one of my favorite songs to write for one big reason: I was able to really get a lot off of my chest and share my side of the story about a song written about me. I've always been the type of person to avoid conflict, but writing is my release. I felt it would be appropriate given the mood of this song to use it as a way to move forward. This song is the least structured on Deceiver, and I wanted to try some different with vocal techniques, so this one really stands out on the album.

This is the shortest song on the album and was recorded in Drop B, the lowest tuning on the record. When I first heard the song, I decided I wanted the mood to be very bleak. The song is named after our friend, C.J., who tours with us. We always joke about him being a serial killer. “2012” is about someone whose life was ruined by someone, but [the victim] came back for revenge and killed [the killer]. It has guest vocals by my good friend Levi Benton from Miss May I and is probably one of the darkest songs on the album.  It's quick, heavy and will probably open up a few pits.

Dream Catcher
"Dream Catcher" is probably my favorite title of all the songs on the album. It really describes what the song is about. I wanted to retain some positivity on our album, and since our band have always been a band of hope, I felt we needed something almost inspirational. This song is about not living your life with a blind eye to reality, but instead opening your eyes to see the truth. It's about seeing that however bad things get, there’s so much beauty in this world. There is so much good. It's not worth living a life being naive. Too many people are afraid of searching for deeper meaning in their lives. Musically, the song is a bit slower than a lot of the others, but it ends with a bang.

Like Father Like Son
"Like Father Like Son" is by far the most personal song I've ever written. It's also one of the heaviest and fastest songs TWA have ever written. I really wanted to write a song about my life growing up with my father. It talks about how despite him not being my biological father, it doesn't matter to me. When I was younger, I was so confused not knowing why my "real" father wasn't around. But as I grew older, I understood that the only father I'd ever known is as real as anyone could ever be. It's definitely one of the band favorites on the album.

Battle Royale
This is the one song from Empire that we decided needed to be on this album. We re-recorded it in Drop C and made some upgrades to some of the vocal parts. We also added some cool electronic stuff to it. We made it feel more like how it progressively changed for our live shows. We wanted to make it feel bigger and that's what we did.

You’re All I See
"You're All I See" is the first all singing song we've ever done before.  I’ve always wanted to do a song like this, and wanted it to be a song that was easy to relate to. Since everyone can understand every word, it was important to speak from the heart but not in a cliché way. It's about overcoming long distance in my relationship. Many people deal with being away from their loved one, whether it’s because of school, work, touring or the military. It's never easy. But many times, it's worth it. The song talks about how you kinda have to realize that you both have to need each other a little bit, and lean on them. It takes balance and a lot of optimism. The song however is not a slow crooning song, it's very upbeat and is one I hope we can eventually play live.

We Know Who You Are
This song is what represents the concept of Deceiver the most.  We wrote this song to be the last song on the album, and it has a very big underlying theme. The main lyrics are, “This time your lies won't get you far, we know who you are.” It's about seeing through someone and seeing them for who they really are. A lot of times people mask their lies with this pretty picture. Yet reality is they’re so ugly on the inside. Especially in our industry, image is a big part of everything.  Sometimes people choose to portray themselves as something so far from who they really are. This song is about that. Musically, it’s the most dynamic and complex song on the album. We added symphonic parts, a lot of electronic ambience as well as group vocals in several parts of the song. It ends the record perfectly. alt