Sound Awake review by Karnivool

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  • Released: Jun 5, 2009
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (88 votes)
Karnivool: Sound Awake
3

Sound — 10
Re-enlisting Themata's producer Forrester Savell, the album was recorded at Perth's Blackbird and Kingdom Studios over several months, and later mixed at Melbourne's famous Sing Sing Studios. Admittedly, a departure from Themata, Sound Awake is a sprawling opus, a 72 minute musical journey that starts with the leviathan-sized bass growl of opener Simple Boy ("the bass sounds like a circular saw being dragged through an elephant's graveyard" - Jon Stockman).

Lyrics — 9
Ian Kenny is definitely one of Australia's finest vocalists. New Day is where he excels with his vocals being the primary focus of the song, moving from soft angelic verses to the choral heights that only he and a lone few others can soar. New Day is the perfect example of how far Karnivool has come in the last four years, blending both atmosphere and anthemic choruses together, something which wasn't quite done to perfection on Themata.

Overall Impression — 10
Change is easily the best song Karnivool has written, it seamlessly flows through its many different movements. With what is sure to make waves all over the world, Sound Awake has thrust Karnivool right to the top of the Australian rock pile, completely eclipsing other heavyweights The Butterfly Effect and Cog's latest efforts. While it doesn't contain as many big choruses or huge riffs as Themata, Sound Awake shows their coming of age from a band with potential to one that has what it takes to go very, very far.

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Martindecorum
    UMbra is brilliant, THe medicine wears off is like a interlude something fun to sing as well but dead man and change are pure brilliant especially the chorus of deadman and the emotional verse well done karnivool, bit step in another direction, live these songs will be huge
    Dr Funkenstein
    Vinushka wrote: Third album, you're forgetting Persona.
    I don't mean to be pedantic but persona was an EP. Great album. Themata still appeals to me more though.
    Feaksy
    Vinushka wrote: Third album, you're forgetting Persona.
    Persona was an EP so it doesn't count as an album
    Stretch_Wilson
    omg change isn't that great a song guys yeah it is good but it just doesn't do it for me the album is definitly great, i am agreeing there but for me it isn't a very mosh friendly album like themata was and that is sad for me
    Asthia
    Great album, but I can't stand Umbra or The Medicine Wears Off... There wasn't a single song I skip on Themata, but I have to skip those. Apart from that, in love with it and learning the songs on my 7 string.
    travislausch
    It's a great album, but there are some moments on it that are just kind of *whoosh* and they're gone, forgotten. What these guys lack in catchiness or memorability, they do make up for with atmosphere and talent.
    xXGumberculesXx
    Asthia wrote: Great album, but I can't stand Umbra or The Medicine Wears Off... There wasn't a single song I skip on Themata, but I have to skip those. Apart from that, in love with it and learning the songs on my 7 string.
    xXGumberculesXx
    xXGumberculesXx wrote: I agree with Asthia, album is really complete accept for the songs Umbra and The Medicine Wears Off. These two songs hold no substance; lacking the structural and musical significance of that of others song on Sound Awake. Maybe that's why they were put in the middle of the album! I don't know. However in light of these two down falls, Sound Awake is a great album. The album doesn't strike you as much as Themata, with each singular song significance; but how Sound Awake captivates you! The album seems seamless in its transitions from riff to riff; song to song. I am thoroughly impressed and nothing more can be said in regards. 9/10
    xXGumberculesXx
    Asthia wrote: Great album, but I can't stand Umbra or The Medicine Wears Off... There wasn't a single song I skip on Themata, but I have to skip those. Apart from that, in love with it and learning the songs on my 7 string.
    hSn
    This album is fantastic, only shame is that all my 90 dollars which i had to pay for this album(import from Aus to USA to Norway + taxes) didn't go directly to the band, because they would deserve that.
    G-Bone
    From the moment I first listened to Sound Awake, I knew there would be people disappointed that it wasn't another Thamata. Personally, regardless of the fact it is on a whole new plain from Thamata, it is quality through and through. I know if I hadn't heard Thamata first, I would still have loved this new album to death and been a fan of the band. The production of this album doesn't come any better and every member shines. I can't wait to hear it live! While I can understand Thamata fans voicing their gripes, Sound Awake contains too many positive aspects to claim it is a lesser album. Being so different, you just can't even compare the two albums.
    Martindecorum
    Feaksy wrote: In my opinion I don't think that Sound Awake was ever meant to be the kind of album that was going to be as ear friendly as Themata. It's more like something that's meant to be appreciated for it's complexity and uniqueness rather than one's 'I listen to it every day' kind of album. I think that Karnivool took a pretty bold step with Sound Awake but I have no doubts that the feedback from the fans is going to be 95% thumbs up. Good luck Vool
    exactly 100% correct and well said
    metal_licka
    Sound Awake is a step forward for Karnivool. Where Themata was a huge blast for them as a first full length album, and really set the scene for how Karnivool would effect audiences in coming years, Sound Awake experiments far more with sound, and the production is flawless. Hell, I should write a review on this album, I knew it back to front within a week of having it. I don't see a single song as being a "weak-point" on the album as a whole. Change and Deadman are brilliant, All I Know will be amazing live, I can feel it. I'm seeing them THIS FRIDAY and I don't think I've ever anticipated a show more. And I've seen some very massive bands. All-in-all, this is my album of the year already, as I knew it would be.
    Feaksy
    In my opinion I don't think that Sound Awake was ever meant to be the kind of album that was going to be as ear friendly as Themata. It's more like something that's meant to be appreciated for it's complexity and uniqueness rather than one's 'I listen to it every day' kind of album. I think that Karnivool took a pretty bold step with Sound Awake but I have no doubts that the feedback from the fans is going to be 95% thumbs up. Good luck Vool
    SidewaysMatty
    Its good to see that a lot people actually like the new direction Karnivool are taking, but I personally way prefer Themata over this. Not saying this is a bad album. There are some songs I really like, New Day and Change especially, but overall I just couldn't get into it as much as I did Themata, which would be in my top 5 favorite albums ever. Not just because I prefer "mosh-friendly" music, but even the odd moments on Themata that weren't mosh I could get into more than most of Sound Awake. If Karnivool keep taking this direction, I can see myself turning into a "I only like their old stuff" fan.
    Martindecorum
    Karmapolice911 wrote: I'm only a couple songs in and I can tell they've gotten much more mature since Themata. I still haven't heard any kind of crazy prog rhythm that can match Fear of the Sky yet though.
    they will come, plus some a very well disguised with flowing transitions
    AXE187
    Couldn't believe this was even the same band. This is worlds better than thematta
    Karmapolice911
    I'm only a couple songs in and I can tell they've gotten much more mature since Themata. I still haven't heard any kind of crazy prog rhythm that can match Fear of the Sky yet though.
    new_age_reject
    These guys are great and this album is no exception. There is only one track that I skip whilst listening through and it's not as mosh friendly as Themata but none the less, amazing second album.
    Martindecorum
    its not a mosh friendly album no, buts its more creative with mosh elements , creativity is what seems to be dwindling in the music industry these days, to many sheep to count music wise