KARNIVOOL - Released on February 16, 2010, on Sony Music Entertainment, Sound Awake has already achieved Gold Certification in Australia, (Karnivool’s home country). Following their impressive and progressively hard & heavy album debut Themata from 2005, Karnivool has shown their fans and the music world they are not about to be stamped out by any sophomore jinx. If life is about taking chances, then Karnivool has inadvertently self inflicted themselves as being risk takers in the vast world of Heavy Music. A Progressive and Alternative sound can be a make or break proposition, when a band wants to embark on the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Universe. Karnivool has not only embarked with their Themata release from 2005, they have now forged their very own identity and placement, among the Progressive and Alternative Heavy Music battalion with Sound Awake.
Sound Awake opens up with Simple Boy, immediately setting the table for what Karnivool is serving one’s ears. Layered with exquisite guitars, the breakdowns are smart and intensely interesting. Throw in the buzzing sound of a bee and Simple Boy is just the beginning of this Heavy Progressive mind buffet. Ian Kenny on lead vocals resonates, hitting some high pitches that are Arena quality. Set Fire To The Hive showcases vocal and sound effects to heighten the modernism that this song permeates. Karnivool never loses sight of their musical heaviness on Set Fire To The Hive, while delivering an upper cut to the chin with their multi-layered progressive attack.
The Medicine Wears Off times out at 1:50, quite contrary to any Old School Progressive standards. Just bear in mind, this is not about sticking to convention with Sound Awake, a strong musical characteristic that Karnivool bestows is diversity and The Medicine Wears Off mellows down the pace with this semi-surreal song. Illumine can and rightfully should be a standout song on this album. The consistent up-tempo combined with it’s overall melodic vibe, makes Illumine a song that’s incredibly memorable. To label Illumine a hit is non-essential, this song is a star amongst many on Sound Awake.
Deadman is one of two songs on Sound Awake that has a running time of over ten minutes. This is what Progressive Rock is about, the song. If one is looking for the mind journey experience with Karnivool, thou shall not be disappointed with Deadman. Lyrically complete as it is musically precise, Deadman leads with it’s formidable and Alternative vocal presence courtesy of Ian Kenny, which fuses so well with the abstract sound and feel of it’s hard edged music. The abrupt climax to Deadman only exemplifies the artistic style that Karnivool has established for themselves as a band. Listening to Deadman makes me truly realize that Karnivool is all about music and all about the song.
To mention Deadman and not acknowledge the other ten minute-plus epic would be a travesty. Change is a song that develops itself into an array of musical doors that keep opening around me, inviting me in and weaving it’s Progressive signatures, in a manner that is embracingly captivating to my senses. It is very easy to wander off into a kaleidoscope of musical thoughts while listening to Change, an all natural affect that I am more than willing to experience again and again. In it’s totality, Sound Awake is a Progressive Kaleidoscope of songs, just waiting to be heard by anyone who loves music… period.
The musicians of Karnivool are obviously incredibly astute, with an awareness for capturing the nuances of their instruments in their most enhanced state, coupled with the almost sense of urgency to articulate the music as if it is fine art. Has Karnivool broken any new ground in this ever changing landscape of Progressive Rock genres? I can confidently say yes, with their uniqueness being highlighted by their musical and vocal diversity. Karnivool is not a band concentrating on making the hit single. Instead, Karnivool obviously has succeeded at making a complete album of richly written songs, which only reflects on their being a highly talented band that shall continue to rise. Please excuse me now… Sound Awake beckons me to listen once again.
Drew Goddard - guitar
Ian Kenny – vocals
Jon Stockman – bass
Mark Hosking – guitar
Steve Judd – drums
Track Listing For Sound Awake:
Set Fire To The Hive
All I Know
The Medicine Wears Off
The Caudal Lure
* Check out the music video for Set Fire To The Hive:
* For more info on KARNIVOOL, just click on the links below!