Karnivool
Sound Awake


4.5
superb

Review

by Pistol Pete USER (32 Reviews)
April 6th, 2011 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't want this to end, I don't want this to end.

I listened to this album originally because it blew my mind that a hard rock band could still top charts on Sputnikmusic. I thought you guys were all over that rock scene. But this isn’t a generic hard rock band and I got a dose of why it isn’t on my first listen. It was more different than anything I could’ve imagined...that grungy opening riff of “Simple Boy” that leads into Ian Kenny’s serene voice? Are you kidding me? I had to let that album sit after the first listen. I liked “Goliath” and “Set Fire to the Hives”, but I guess I wasn’t ready for the whole package yet. I mean when you look at how long the damn tracks are before you listen, it’s pretty discouraging.

Then it happened one by one...

I got addicted to “New Day”, an 8-minute song that should turn me off by its length but somehow the dreamy atmosphere and progression of the song kept me coming back again. This is not the “hard rock” I had assumed I was going to get addicted to. The build-up to the final two and a half minutes of the song literally forces you to stay with the song, knowing you will be rewarded for your patience.

Then “Simple Boy” and “Umbra” invaded my mind. “Simple Boy” is easily the strongest track on the album with such a powerful entrance: “I’m high above the world, why should I feel pain?” The song makes itself memorable not by following the “Themata” strategy, but by settling down with guitars that seem more reflective and gentle after the eerie solo rather than punchy riffs. “Umbra” uses the crunchy sound of the guitars to relax listeners and pull them into the song before crying “Wake me with a bottle ‘cross the head”.

The rest of the album unfolded itself rather easily after that; my biggest surprise being how strong the song “Deadman” is, despite its unfair length of 12 minutes. It sounds at first like something out of a Daft Punk album, which I understand is a weird way to describe Karnivool. It has an almost electronic sounding beat at the beginning (although I know it’s obviously guitars still). It’s all fantastic at luring you in and that’s the idea of the whole strategy in “Sound Awake”. “All I Know” has maybe the best build-up and breakdown of the entire album and my favourite line: “This is the sound of your reason to wake. Have we forgotten now? We can’t relate.”

Maybe the most exciting part of the album is the final 2 minutes of “Deadman” where the band includes the final portion of “Change (Part 1)” that ended the last album and transitions it into the final track (Part 2). It’s not at all what you expect, when you leave the chaotic sounds of hustling and bustling that Part 1 finishes with, you’re greeted by a tribal percussion that moves into lurching guitars and Kenny’s unbelievable intro of “Hello, Hollow, Halo”. I came to the conclusion though after I heard “Themata” that I absolutely hate Part 1. The ending cut-off of that song is without a doubt the biggest buzzkill in modern musical history. If I would have been a fan back in 2005-06 when that came out, I wouldn’t have stood for that. Think of how long Karnivool fans had to wait to hear how Change (Part 1) turned out...four years!!! Still, I don’t think any fans prior to “Sound Awake” could have expect what Part 2 would bring, and I think most would find it absolutely breathtaking and rewarding as the drums trail off at the end.

The Australian rock music scene is steadily becoming one of the most consistently amazing and revolutionary cultures of music in this day and age. Bands like Dead Letter Circus and Kenny’s other band Birds of Tokyo are offering new musical sounds and themes I never thought possible. My lesson: trust Sputnikmusic listeners when they rate something 4.2/5...they know what they’re talking about. And Ian Kenny, you’re my hero.

Recommended Songs:
Simple Boy
Goliath
New Day
Set Fire to the Hive
Deadman



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user ratings (1125)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    Wide awake and still asleep......

    LocustGrove (5)
    An outstanding release by a very underrated band....

    YoYoMancuso (4.5)
    From the xylophone tinkering that opens "Simple Boy" to the final charging drumbeat of "Ch...

    spirals0810 (5)
    Karnivool's second full-length offering is an altogether uplifting, emotional adventure th...

  • Jacob R. STAFF (4)
    Karnivool has once again proven success with the latest installment of their musical catal...

    James OBrien (4.5)
    As an introduction to Karnivool, this album has won me over with its hard, dense rhythms a...

    zuzek (4)
    Genius comes in all forms, sometimes with a blemish or two....

    Billy (4.5)
    Epic, in every sense of the word. 'Sound Awake' cements Karnivool at the top of the Austra...


Comments:Add a Comment 
PistolPete
April 6th 2011


3629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have to say Themata is not as bad as I say, most of that album is classic, just the ending pissed me right off.

Digging: O'Brother - Garden Window

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2011


7098 Comments


20 reviews today, were getting through them, good review pos.

PistolPete
April 6th 2011


3629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, had to make my 10th review something unreal.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2011


7098 Comments


do you think this is pretty accessable?

PistolPete
April 6th 2011


3629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nah, it takes way too long to grow on you. Most ppl aren't patient enough for how progressive they are.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2011


7098 Comments


Cool, i need to put more reviews up...

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought this was pretty accessible. I liked this on first listen.

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

kangaroopoo
April 6th 2011


3175 Comments


Review describes your discovery and passion for the album really well.

Scoot
April 6th 2011


17818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Band was sooooooo good live.

cb123
April 6th 2011


2031 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

nice review man, album is flawless and brilliant

Vooligan
April 6th 2011


3541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing band. Nice review, dude.

climactic
April 6th 2011


19403 Comments


i am currently FINALLY getting this

WhiteNoise
April 6th 2011


3215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Band was sooooooo good live."

Really? I was really dissapointed. Cool band though.

Phideaux
April 7th 2011


1654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Band rules. The first half of Themata is fucking incredible. This album is better overall.

botb
April 7th 2011


9721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you were disappointed with them live? are you kidding? they are so perfect live.

so close to a 5 for me tbh.

Puzzles
April 7th 2011


3065 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good to see another review of this. It's in my top 10 of all time, for sure. Although, to be honest, your wording and grammar could use some work.

lucazade22
April 7th 2011


532 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Caudal Lure is awesome!

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2011


7098 Comments


What's your next review?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2011


10286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Nice review! For constructive criticism, you might want to drop the Daft Punk allusion with "Deadman"... Is that just because is has a more electronic feel? A lot of music has that...
Just trying to help, though. I agree with your review. But about Change, Pt. 1... I've been a fan for years, and I loved the cliffhanger that is Part 1, because it made me so excited for the next album. It also kept them on track, ensuring that they weren't going to burn out after only one album.

coleba
April 7th 2011


788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Deadman is song of the forever.



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