REVIEW: Karnivool – "Sound Awake"

"Sound Awake" retains the atmospheric environment that debut "Themata" created, and develops it to the next, more consistent level. With the songs ranging from a mere 1 minute and 49 seconds to the 12 minute long penultimate track, "Sound Awake" has often been described using the ever so clichéd word "epic". Despite the popular term now being used so loosely, "Sound Awake" is clearly deserving of it in a more serious sense.

Off-beat and syncopated rhythms display a clear level of technical integrity, both in the drumming and guitar lines, and Ian Kenny’s magnificent vocals interspersed between these two often varying patterns seems to somehow fit in perfectly. The seemingly experimental nature seen within a vast majority of the pieces (for example, opener "Simple Boy" makes use of a xylophone) separates the album from something another progressive rock band could or would do.

Kenny’s simply amazing voice and lyrics go hand in hand, as he manages to make simple lines like "It’s a new day" soar. Four simple words become four infectious words that sound so clear and free.

"Sound Awake" consistently impresses, throughout it’s entire 72 minutes. Long tracks like "New Day" don’t bore at all, as many bands who aspire to such song lengths often do, and in fact leave you wanting more. Many believe "Sound Awake" inferior to predecessor "Themata", claiming that the debut’s tracks are instantly addictive and awesome. Whilst to a certain extent they do have a point, the defining feature of "Sound Awake" is that it grows as an album. With each listen, it becomes more interesting and enjoyable, which is an attribute of music that should be cherished, encouraged, and most of all enjoyed! The ability to create music that people discover something new with in every listen is a great ability indeed. To be able to go back to an album and enjoy it even more than the last time you listened to it is brilliant. This is exactly what makes "Sound Awake" so good. Thundering guitars, off-beat drumming, technical riffs, beautiful vocal lines, and an experimental edge all merge together to create something very special.

Score: 10/10

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