Thursday 3rd August 2017
2. Analysis Paralysis
3. Dark Waltz
4. White Rabbit
Awake At Last are a band that I always get excited about. They first contacted me in 2015 following the release of their King of the World EP and I really enjoyed their sound. It’s always great to hear about bands and artists from the other side of the pond so I had to interview Awake At Last to find out more. Since our initial chat things have been moving forward really well for the band; they contacted me again in 2016 to let me know they’d just wrapped up their next EP following a successful Indigogo campaign, and here we are now less than a year later and we can get our ears around their latest offering Life/Death/Rebirth.
Initially when I first listened to the album it reminded me straight away why I really enjoy this band. So much energy has gone in to the release and there’s a clear progression from their previous material which has been well built upon. I remember when Never Be A Memory was released, their first single in a couple of years since the King of the World EP and at the time it was apparent how much Awake At Last were evolving.
Speaking with guitarist Imran Xhelili last year ahead of the release he explained that “We’ve definitely pushed ourselves more musically – the guitars are definitely doing a lot more as are the drums, bass and vocal melodies. There’s a lot more energy on the new EP and we’re all confident in the change of direction the progression of our sound, since we would never want to release the same CD twice. We all came together a lot more on the song writing as a full band and were able to blend our influences into this new direction of Awake At Last.”
Opening track Purgatorium provides a great opportunity for lead singer Vincent Torres to showcase the range and quality of his well-established vocals. The chilling opening is theatrical, with a gradual build-up and a soft sound inviting you in, and then when the progressiveness kicks in all hell breaks loose and you’re thrown straight in to a journey of an EP that tells a story of redemption. Analysis Paralysis has a dark intro with mighty guitar work and a tasty riff, and opens the way for realisation that you’re in for a much heavier release, and lyrically it’s very poignant too.
It can be really difficult trying to stand out in such a competitive industry, but to me Awake At Last have always gone beyond their ambitions to make the band work, and it’s clear they’re not scared to push in to a genre that others have yet to dare tread. Dark Waltz and White Rabbit are forcefully vigorous tracks and fill the release with a display that shows they’re not scared to move out of their comfort zone. I especially enjoy the expression in the lyrics for White Rabbit, with Vincent declaring that “I’m not heartless I just use my heart less” it’s commanding, powerful and relatable.
Constellations is a howling track, and possibly one of my favourites on the EP. The way in which the drums and guitars work together creates an absolute storm, and how they work the different paces the track goes through is intricate. I was once told by a friend that drummers don’t get enough attention in bands and this has always stuck with me, so I have to make sure I point out how the drumming really stands out and accelerates in this track. Keeping up the pace, Reflections brings the grunge and is a lot edgier, but after professing that “we care to much or we don’t care enough, I’m sick of the concept of falling in love” it takes us on a steadier step towards the end of the EP.
Life/Death/Rebirth is a solid release that’s tightly polished and one that Awake At Last should be proud of. They continue to go from strength to strength and it would be great to see a full album next, or even have these guys signed. They work hard, tour hard, and do everything they can to make the band work and get their name out there; it’s time these guys were snapped up to a label! So if you’re in the neighbourhood looking for something new to grace your speakers, give Awake At Last a spin, you won’t be dissapointed.