The Word Alive
The Word Alive
Background Information
Origin Phoenix, Arizona
Genre Metalcore
Years active 2008-present
Label(s) Fearless
Associated Acts Scars of Tomorrow
MyChildren MyBride
In Fear and Faith
Greeley Estates
Eyes Set to Kill, Escape the Fate
Inked in Blood
Calling of Syrens
Clouds Take Shape
Tony Pizzuti
Tyler Smith
Zack Hansen
Dusty Riach
Justin Salinas
Daniel Shapiro
Former Members
Nick Urlacher
Tony Aguilera
Craig Mabbitt

The Word Alive is an American metalcore band from Phoenix, Arizona. Formed in 2008, their debut EP Empire was released via Fearless Records on July 21, 2009, which reached position 15 on the Top Heatseekers meeting a great amount of positive acclaim. The following year, the group released their debut full-length album, Deceiver on August 31, 2010, which reached 97 on the Billboard 200 and 15 on Independent Albums. The Word Alive has gained renown praise for their innovative style of modern metalcore; blending thrash, groove, alternative and ambient elements into their overall delivery.


Formation (2008–2009)Edit

The Word Alive was founded in 2008 by Craig Mabbitt (lead vocals) with Zack Hansen (lead guitar) and Tony Pizzuti (rhythm guitar) who were former members of the bands Calling of Syrens[1] and Clouds Take Shape.[2] As a side-project of Mabbitt during his part in Escape the Fate, the remaining required members he recruited to start The Word Alive were chosen to be Nick Urlacher (bass), Dusty Riach (keyboard) and Tony Aguilera (drums). The group recorded songs with the intention of releasing them as an EP, despite that it never surfaced. Later on, the band forced Mabbitt to leave due to their dissatisfaction with Escape the Fate's schedules, which required Mabbitt to work as a full-time member.[3]

The day after, Mabbitt posted a blog to his fans via his Myspace account explaining that leaving the band was not his decision and that "[The Word Alive] pretty much replaced me while I was on the road due to the fact that they wanted to tour and couldn't until I was available, I started that band with those guys and I'm very hurt at how they replaced me while I was's bullshit." On December 3, the band officially announced that Tyler Smith, who was formerly one of the vocalists for In Fear and Faith and bassist for Greeley Estates, joined The Word Alive as their new frontman.[4]

Feeling somewhat stagnant in their progression beforehand, the addition of Smith catapulted the band’s ambitions to the forefront. With this initiation, their goals and aspirations were much more a reality, and they set to work on what would become their record label debut, Empire.[5]

Empire (2009–2010)Edit

During March 2009, the band were taken in with a contract by a new label,[6] later on during the 26th of that month the group officially confirmed that the label they were then signed to was Fearless Records.[7] Smith stated "We hope to just keep touring, touring, touring... we couldn't be happier or more appreciative to be on tour right now, I think despite having some of the worst luck in the early beginnings of being a touring band yet never missing a show, we always have a positive attitude and that will make us a stronger band."[8] The band set out to create an EP to be released through the label wherein it was titled Empire and was recorded with producer Andrew Wade in Ocala, Florida. It was released on July 21, 2009 where it reached #15 on the Billboard Heatseeker chart.[9]

In regards to the creation of the EP, Smith stated that The Word Alive all "feed off of each other really well, we take a little bit of everything we like and put it together to try and give the listener at least something to grasp onto when they hear a song for the first time. We consider ourselves a metal band who enjoy singing a lot. As much as we love being brutal, we love being referred to as ‘epic’ and ‘beautiful’. It works for us.”[10] After the release of their EP, the band went on multiple tours with bands such as Alesana, A Skylit Drive and Silverstein.[11] The Word Alive headlined with We Came as Romans on the Dreams & Empires tour during the summer of 2009; from late July to mid-August. In October 2009, the band went on tour with Silverstein, Madina Lake and I See Stars. Shorty after that tour they played on the You'd Be Way Cuter in a Coffin Tour with Alesana on The Emptiness Tour which took place during early 2010. The Word Alive's single "Battle Royale" from Empire was hugely successful, leading the song to be featured in the popular Tap Tap series as well as it being featured as downloadable content in the Rock Band series of music games.[12] The track is also featured on the 2010 Vans Warped Tour Compilation and later went onto being credited as the group's signature song.[13]

During February the band reached an agreement to leave founding drummer, Tony Aguilera out of the group.[14] Both parties (Aguilera and the rest of the band) shared their concerns and reasoning for the matter publicly. It was overall described that the band wanted to pursue a different percussionist of alternate talent than the founding member. Aguilera was replaced with Justin Salinas, whom previously was a part of the bands Scars of Tomorrow and Catherine as well as serving as a past live drummer for MyChildren MyBride.[15]

On March 23, 2010, a live music video for the song "The Only Rule Is That There Are No Rules" was released and includes Aguilera in its filming, making it the last release of media by the band to feature him. The video premiered on AOL's Noisecreep with a highly positive acclaim:

"Metal-hardcore act the Word Alive have finally unveiled the video for 'The Only Rule Is That There Are No Rules.' 'We couldn't be happier,' vocalist [Tyler Smith] told Noisecreep on the finished look of the band's first video. For the heavy driven track from the sextet's Empire EP, the obvious choice was to bring eyes and ears to their live show -- which has been getting the band quick success for only being a little over a year old.

"Our live performance has become a staple of that growth," commented Smith. Rather than having the song play over a performance at the Glasshouse in Pomona, Calif., a full effect approach was taken. 'Our director had the idea of filming the set and intertwining live audio to spice up the clip.'"[16]

Deceiver (2010–present)Edit

In April 2010, The Word Alive entered the studio in Ocala, Florida with Andrew Wade to record their debut full-length album, Deceiver. Frontman Tyler "Telle" Smith noted that "We wanted to step it up in every aspect of our songs compared to Empire. When we're heavy, it's heavier. When we do things big, they are huge! When we slow it down, it's something beautiful."[17] After the recording process of the album was finished, the band accepted to be featured as one of the many performing acts at the Bamboozle Music Festival in New Jersey on May 1, 2010[18] and following Bamboozle, The Word Alive participated in a headlining tour with Stray from the Path for two weeks, which was also in May.[19] By June, Deceiver was fully mastered and engineered. On June 23, 2010 the band premiered their first single from the album, "Epiphany" as streaming media online.[20] The following day, Fearless Records released their 2010 Summer Sampler which also featured the track "Epiphany".[21] A week later, the album's album art and track listing was released.[22] Guitarist, Zack Hansen explained upon this premiere that "We all felt like that was going to be the best choice considering how comfortable the recording process is with Andrew. The tracking was a lot of fun and everyone had a good time. We got the opportunity to stay in a house while we recorded and surprisingly we didn't party as much as I thought we would haha." Hansen later followed along explaining that his favorite track on the record is "The Hounds of Anubis", which was written by him and Pizzuti and stated that he "wrote this song with an 'Egyptian feel' to it and I think we got our point across." Smith described that its lyrics describe the times of when The Word Alive overcame their hardships that they face with the help and support from their fans.[23] "The Hounds of Anubis" was released as the album's second single on July 26, 2010. It premiered on the official Revolver website.[24]

The Word Alive performed on Warped Tour 2010 along with Alesana, Artist vs. Poet, Sparks the Rescue and Motionless in White,[25] it has also been confirmed that they will as well be participating the 2011 Warped Tour in its entirety.[26] The band were a part of The Anti-Hero Tour where the group performed alongside Bleeding Through, After the Burial, Stray from the Path and Dead & Divine. The tour ran from September to October.[27] Upon Deceiver's release on August 31,[28] it charted at #97 on the Billboard 200.[29] The band is featured in the compilation album Punk Goes Pop 3, covering the Kanye West song "Heartless". The song was produced by Matt Grabe[30] and was released on November 2, 2010.[31] In 2011, the band also recorded a cover version of the Ozzy Osbourne song "Over the Mountain".[32] Both the "Heartless" and "Over the Mountain" covers by the band are the last recorded songs to feature bassist and founding member, Nicholas Urlacher before his departure from the group on December 27, 2010.[33] Daniel Shapiro of Sharks Never Sleep served as a touring member for The Word Alive shortly after Urlacher's leaving.[34] Before the beginning of the summer of 2011, it was decided on him becoming a permanent member of the band.

Band membersEdit

Current members
  • Zack Hansen — lead guitar, backing vocals (since 2008)
  • Tony Pizzuti — rhythm guitar, backing vocals (since 2008)
  • Dusty Riach — keyboards, synthesizers (since 2008)
  • Tyler "Telle" Smith — lead vocals (since 2008)
  • Justin Salinas — drums (since 2010)
  • Daniel Shapiro — bass guitar (since 2011)
Former members
  • Nick Urlacher — bass guitar (2008–2010)
  • Tony Aguilera — drums (2008–2010)
  • Craig Mabbitt — lead vocals (2008)


Studio albums
Release date Title Label Peak chart position[35]
Billboard 200 Rock Albums Independent Albums Hard Rock Albums
August 31, 2010 Deceiver Fearless 97 37 15 14
Extended plays


  1. Calling of Syrens at PureVolume
  2. Myspace » Clouds Take Shape
  3. Band statement
  4. Tyler "Telle" new lead singer announcement
  5. Fearless Records Press Release
  7. The Word Alive Sign to Fearless Records
  8. The Word Alive Fearless Records official website
  9. "Empire" debut EP
  10. Events NBC13
  11. AV Club
  14. The Word Alive kicks out drummer Lambgoat
  15. The Word Alive Announces New Drummer Under the Gun
  16. The Word Alive - The Only Rule Is That There Are No Rules Video Noisecreep
  17. The Word Alive - Lambgoat
  18. The Bamboozle Festival 2010 lineup AOL Radio
  19. AbsolutePunk
  20. The Word Alive Streaming New Track Online The PRP
  21. Facedown Records Launches Summer Sampler HMN Magazine
  23. Blogs Myspace
  24. Exclusive The Word Alive Premier - The Hounds of Anubis Revolver
  25. The Word Alive at Warped Tour
  26. Vans Warped Tour 2011 - First Bands Announced
  27. Tour Update — The Word Alive HMN Magazine
  28. The Word Alive reveals 'Deceiver' track listing in metal news MetalUnderground
  29. Deceiver - The Word Alive Billboard
  30. [1]
  31. The Word Alive Records Kanye West Cover Song For Compilation Album - in Metal News MetalUnderground
  32. Punk Goes X songs from 2011 iTunes
  33. FAREWELL From Bassist Nick Urlacher & Audition Information
  34. Bassist Nick Urlacher Leaves The Word Alive — "Arizona metalcore act The Word Alive have announced that bassist Nick Urlacher has decided to leave the band." Rock Edition
  35. Deceiver - The Word Alive |
  36. The Word Alive debut #15 on Billboard Heatseekers!

External linksEdit

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