Band: Tonight Alive
Area: Sydney, Australia.
Date of release: 12/01/18
Genre: Melodic Alternative Heavy Pop
Reviewer: Michael Dixon
Record Label: Hopeless Records / UNFD
Mixer: David Petrovic
Masterer: David Petrovic
For Fans Of: Paramore, Killing Heidi, PVRIS, Reliqa
Next Gig: SILVERSTEIN & TONIGHT ALIVE, The Get Free US Tour, January-March 2018.
“Took a lot for me to realise, to open up and understand why. Why everybody looks at me like, I’m not what I ought to be. I feel it all, the rise of the fall pulling me under. With the last breath I breathe, I swear I’ll scream until my lungs burn. I am The Other.” -The Other
“Underworld” is the fourth studio album to be released by Sydney-based Alternative Pop-Rockers Tonight Alive. It’s easily their most mainstream release but it’s also their most personal and experimental. The band recently played at this year’s UNIFY – A HEAVY MUSIC GATHERING at Tarwin Lower, Victoria where they officially launched the album and held an exclusive intimate performance with fans at The Bush Bar to celebrate the occasion.
Comparisons to female-fronted bands such as Paramore and Killing Heidi will be pretty much inevitable when it comes to Tonight Alive but they continue to forge ahead and bring their own unique edge to the table. Vocalist Jenna McDougall is both humble and inspirational in giving a voice to those who suffer from mental illness, have self-esteem and identity issues, are stuck in toxic relationships and feel suppressed/isolated by society. Her vocals remind me a lot of singer-songwriters such as Imogen Heap and Ella Hooper.
Her lyrical content covers a wide range of topics include taking a chance on a potential romantic relationship "Book of Love", the frustration of wanting clear answers behind your mental illness "Temple", the desire to escape the stress and pressure of reality "Disappear", being about to embrace your individuality and ignore harsh judgements "The Others", feeling comfortable in your own skin and accepted by somebody else "Crack My Heart", being able to believe in yourself and not give up "Burning On" and reflecting on someone who had a big impact on your life "Last Light".
Musically, the band have really pushed themselves in a different direction compared to their previous material with lots of intricate buzzing electronics, vocoded vocal treatments, explosive guitar riffs and fast-paced catchy melodic sections throughout the album. There are moments were the band does tread into middle of the road territory, with very simplistic song structures and lyrics in the vein of pop singers like Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson "For You, Just For Now, Waiting For The End". But for there are far too many highlights for these few clunkers to weigh the whole album down.
The album ends on a high note with the title track “My Underworld”, a duet with Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour. It’s a gorgeous slow-building ballad with both vocalists giving very powerful performances. Overall, this is a terrific album which could have been a little stronger simply by cutting out a few of the filler tracks but it still works regardless.
Standout Tracks: Book of Love, Temple, Disappear, The Other, In My Dreams, Burning On.
Would You Go And See Them (WYGAST) 5/5
Personal Enjoyment: 8.5/10