Karnivool
Sound Awake


4.5
superb

Review

by YoYoMancuso USER (44 Reviews)
April 26th, 2012 | 51 replies | 3,135 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: From the xylophone tinkering that opens "Simple Boy" to the final charging drumbeat of "Change", Sound Awake is a full, pleasing album that can make anyone smile from the mainstream hip-hop lover to the hardcore hipster.

5 of 12 thought this review was well written

Karnivool started off as almost a nu-metal band on their 2005 album Themata-which was worthy another 5 rating itself. The key to this band's success (not commercially, but critically) is because to two essential components to their music. 1. The rhythm section is out of this world. Drummer Steve Judd and the bassist whose name escapes me work great together on tracks such as "Goliath" or "Umbra" not to mention Judd's stunning opening on "The Caudal Lure" or the awesome bassline on "Set Fire To The Hive". One of the funnier moments on this album comes when Steve Judd samples the drum beat of Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks" during the opening track, "Simple Boy". You'd expect this to suck majorly, but it actually fits pretty well. Guitarist Drew Goddard carries some of the weaker tracks with his signature riffing and use of distortion ("All i Know", "Illumine", "Deadman").

The second and more impressive of the two is the band's ability to mesh so many different types of music together. Themata and Sound Awake are nearly polar opposites-which would lead you to believe that one is a colossal failure while the other is amazing. Wrong, they have nearly the exact same rating on Sputnik (this album has a 4.1, and Themata has a solid 4). The most notable example of this is the short interlude "The Medicine Wears Off" which starts off as a slow, moving ballad propelled by vocalist Ian Kenny's tremendous tenor sound and a lulling lead and bass line. About a minute in, Steve Judd explodes the track into a hard-rock anthem for about 30 seconds before some ambiance leads into "The Caudal Lure". Pure bliss.


Ian Kenny is one of my favorite vocalists, in a close race with Maynard James Keenan, Serj Tankian and Geddy Lee. He has the ability to make any section sound epic, such as the bridge to "Goliath" or his crowning achievement so far, his vocal part on "New Day". It's 8 minutes long, but it's easily the best track on here. The song switches tempos in a perfect transition with no one breaking a sweat, as Kenny sings in his near-perfect high pitch tone with nearly no instrumental breaks. Goddard has some amazing dynamic range, as he can make any riff at any volume sound flawless. Some guitarists can only rely on their amps and pedals and only play at full volume *coughCobaincough*. However, listen to the openings of "Umbra" and "Goliath". They highly contrast one another, "Umbra" being almost a power ballad and "Goliath" being a heavy metal head-banger. However, each opening riff sounds like complete perfection. And I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. The final 2 extended tracks, "Deadman" and "Change" are so unbelievable I can't even put them into words. Deadman is the better of the two, but Change reminds me a lot of classic George Harrison Indian-influenced Beatles tracks-if you combined them with Led Zeppelin or Porcupine Tree.

There are really only 2 tracks that aren't incredible on this album, and it's because they're too simple (and Simple Boy is not one of them). These tracks are "illumine" and "Set Fire to the Hive". They both seems like regular heavy metal tracks-too much distorted guitars, inaudible bass, basic drum beats and some of Kenny's more annoying vocals. They're good-they just don't measure up with the rest of the album.

Overall Sound Awake was in my opinion the best album of 2009 and one of the best of the decade, and I highly recommend you check it out as well as Themata, their debut.


Recommended Tracks:
Goliath
New Day
Umbra
The Caudal Lure
Deadman

Avoidable Tracks:
Set Fire To The Hive
Illumine



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user ratings (1111)
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....

    Pistol Pete (4.5)
    I don't want this to end, I don't want this to end....

    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 
macadoolahicky
April 26th 2012



1835 Comments


I'll never see this as over a 4. They definitely tried too hard on a lot of this. That guys voice, though... love it.

"There are really only 2 tracks that aren't incredible on this album, and it's because they're too simple"

Terrible argument right there. How on earth does a track being simple make it bad?

YoYoMancuso
April 26th 2012



11022 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Because the fact that the songs are simple make them not fit with the rest of the album, whereas the novelty and unique sounds of the other songs make them good. This album is meant to be listened to as a whole, and I feel these two songs sort of cause a halt in the album's progression.

KILL
April 26th 2012



71454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

will never understand why this is rated so high omg

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

macadoolahicky
April 26th 2012



1835 Comments


Well see, a lot of progressive albums are supposed to be listened to as a whole, but when you listen to it in one sitting you are going to grow tired of the sound if you have prog after prog after prog. The music needs some variety every now and then.

EDIT: Me neither, KILL. Might end up lowering my rating.

YoYoMancuso
April 26th 2012



11022 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i guess, but my musical taste is pretty diverse. I have a playlist with a White Stripes album followed by Nas's 'Illmatic'. I rarely listen to prog, though some of my favorite groups a prog-metal. Like Karnivool.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2012



4410 Comments


I enjoy reading your work because i can really see you evolving with each review. You even experimenting with different styles.
This is a pretty good review, though it has a few wording and grammer typos.
like this line for example:
The key to this band's success (not commercially, but critically) is because to two essential components to their music.

Other than that, it's another informative review. I dont particularly know this band, but i got a good sense of who they are and
their music. have a pos!
keep it up.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

YoYoMancuso
April 26th 2012



11022 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha I didn't really spell check, I was in a rush. But thanks for the pos, love that you're reading these!

Vooligan
April 26th 2012



3541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Set Fire to the Hive too simple? It's a pretty complex track...
Inaudible bass? Bass is all you can hear at the start of Set Fire. Drumming is definitely not basic...

macadoolahicky
April 26th 2012



1835 Comments


Also, if you have complaints about the album, odds are you shouldn't be reviewing it as a 5

Apollo
April 26th 2012



10290 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not a 5

someguest
April 26th 2012



20393 Comments


not even a 4

Apollo
April 26th 2012



10290 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

probably not to be honest, this didn't have any staying power

someguest
April 26th 2012



20393 Comments


first four and last two tracks are good though

Apollo
April 26th 2012



10290 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

adjusted to a proper rating

I like the album before this one a lot but I have a soft spot for some nu metal

macadoolahicky
April 26th 2012



1835 Comments


Themata owns

Scoot
April 26th 2012



17731 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sup good rating

YoYoMancuso
April 26th 2012



11022 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Themata's really good, "Scarabs" is definitely in my top 5 Karnivool tracks, the title track was pretty epic as well.

UnnamedOcean
April 26th 2012



3965 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"2 tracks you don't find interesting=4-4.5"

I think sometimes an album's flaws can be obsolete if the rest is good enough.

SCREAMorphine
April 27th 2012



1752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually like Set Fire To The Hive as well aha.

But good/better review, have a pos man. :]

Yazz_Flute
April 27th 2012



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You couldn't just look up the bassist's name?

Review is shaky.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions



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