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The best League of Legends Worlds song gets a new, “authentic” redo

Rise is the best League of Legends Worlds song ever made, and its original artists, The Word Alive, have remastered it with a metal spin.

The best League of Legends Worlds song gets a new, “authentic” redo: A man wearing shining glasses wearing a blue hood frowns into the camera

Let me open this article by putting my cards on the table: Rise is the best League of Legends Worlds song, and if you disagree, sorry, you’re just wrong. It’s powerful and anthemic, slick and exciting; it’s the very embodiment of what LoL esports is. It has 354 million views on YouTube, 306 million listeners on Spotify – do I need to say any more? But what if it were different? What would happen if The Word Alive had put their own metalcore spin on it? Well, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

If you’re a sucker for League of Legends music like I am, you may have woken up on February 23 and spotted ‘Rise (Redux)’ on your new music feed. ‘What’s that?’ you ask yourself before you go ahead and click it. ‘Oh, it’s Rise, but it’s not Rise.’

While frontman Tyler ‘Telle’ Smith’s vocals are instantly recognizable, the track is immediately much ‘rockier’ than its 2008 counterpart. There are a few lyrical switch-ups and some good ol’ screaming: it’s a very different beast from the electronica we’ve become accustomed to in much of the MOBA’s music. But, as someone whose favorite artists include the likes of Sleep Token and Celldweller, I am very much here for it – my neighbors, however, probably aren’t, but that’s a them problem.

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Following the track’s release, I caught up with Smith, who took a half-hour out of the group’s busy European tour schedule to chat with me. We enthuse about Rise, about how we both have those games where we just feed, and feed, and feed, and about that one time he played Viego on Pentakill III: Lost Chapter. Yet, when I mention The Word Alive’s Riot Games debut, he can’t help but smile. It’s clear Rise, and the ripple effect it has had, means a lot to him.

“Being a part of Rise in 2018 changed our lives and opened up a whole new fan base from the gaming side of the industry,” he says. “We were kind of ahead of the curve. A lot of bands that are our peers were like ‘what is this League of Legends stuff? What is Riot Games? What is Worlds?’ So to be a part of that early on, and also be a part of conjoining esports with music, is such a huge thing.

“When I got the call to do the five-year Worlds this past November, we were already talking about doing this [version], and we were like ‘this is going to be perfect.’ Our original goal was to have it done and put out by the end of the year, but there was just too much going on and we didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle of everything. We felt like it was better to start the year as a kind of gift and a thank you to all of the fans and players.

“I’m really excited, I hope people love the song. For five years they’ve been listening to the version they know and love, and I hope they can add this one into their daily playlist.”

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Rise, however, is iconic, and it remains the band’s most popular track on both YouTube and Spotify. I ask Smith if he’s ever worried, that this looms in the background like a somewhat inescapable Mordekaiser-shaped shadow. He shakes his head.

“Our success is that we’ve been a band for 15 years and we tour the world doing what we love. Obviously Rise is the biggest song we’ve been a part of, but at the same time, that just goes to show you that the work that we do as a band has put us in the position to have that opportunity. I wouldn’t say it’s a shadow, or this looming success we’ll never top, because it’s our success.”

“Our version isn’t necessarily to be like ‘let’s top the original,’ because I don’t think that’s possible. This time around, we spent a bit more time and dialed things in more so that it felt a little more authentic to The Word Alive.”

A group of men sitting on a sofa against a black and white ceiling

And Rise (Redux) is very much a The Word Alive song. It leans into the heavier feel of Hard Reset (which I’m listening to as I write this), and cuts out the electronica for a rawer, in some ways more powerful feel. It works perfectly in tandem with the original, and stands strong enough to be something more than ‘just a League of Legends cover.’ Everything The Word Alive touches turns to gold, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next

And yes, I did ask if they were working with Riot again, to which Scott replies “I hope to be always cooking something up with them that’s fun for the fans.” It’s not a yes, but it’s also not a no.