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Formed in 2008, the Word Alive are a metalcore band based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Originally founded by singer Craig Mabbitt and guitarists Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti, the band served as a side project for Mabbitt, who joined Escape the Fate around the same time. Filling out their membership with bassist Nick Urlacher, drummer Tony Aguilera, and keyboardist Dusty Riach, the band began to develop a sound, though their progress was stunted by Mabbitt's rigorous touring schedule, causing the band to bring in vocalist Tyler Smith to replace him. With Smith in place, things began to move quickly for the Word Alive, who signed on with Fearless Records, which would release their Empire EP in 2009. After hitting the road, the Word Alive released their full-length debut, Deceiver, in 2010, a year that would also see them parting ways with Aguilera and Urlacher, who were replaced by bassist Daniel Shapiro and drummer Justin Salinas (though his time with the band would be short-lived, with drummer Luke Holland stepping in to replace him just two years later when Salinas grew tired of life on the road). A second album, the darker and heavier Life Cycles, followed in 2012. The Word Alive continued to mature their sound, returning in 2014 with Real, an album that found the band developing a more nuanced and atmospheric take on the genre.