Review Summary: Don't let the band's incredibly unwieldy name deter you, for Awakening is an amazingly solid EP.
Although they aren't exactly newcomers to the hard rock scene, In Every Breath does give off the impression of being a wee bit fresher than most of their newer and more recent contemporaries. Unfortunately, lineup changes have a nasty habit of robbing a band of all its momentum, and having lost their guitar and bass player after the release of their debut album Distrust
, In Every Breath was forced to spend a full three years scratching around the underbelly of their local rock music circuit. But with Awakening
- the quartet's first compendium of new material since 2008 - the San Diego band has signaled that it is ready to make a second attempt at scaling the heights of mainstream success - retooled line-up and all.
sees the band's pair of fresh acquisitions attempting to use their debut studio recording to showcase their skills to the world at large. In addition, they have also been tasked with achieving a second, decidedly less enviable objective - that of reinvigorating the band's long-dormant fans. This is a daunting mission for any musician, let alone a pair of fresh recruits. Yet throughout the EP there is a perceptible sense of bravado about it all; a touch of espirit de corps
and an apparent willingness to go out on a limb. This unshackling of the band's ambitions produces some stunning results: the EP's first single "Temptress", for instance, is a particularly impressive arrangement, with new guitarist Justin Greenhouse's roiling groundswell of electric riffs serving as a veritable bed for vocalist Brandon Conetta's effective delivery.
New bassist Joe Ray also proves to be a potent addition to the band's arsenal; never content with simply repeating his guitarist's parts, his cleverly-spaced rumbles manage to add a gritty edge to the Awakening
's overall sound. Most remarkably however, his gameplay is able to slip in neatly alongside drummer Joe Pine's double bass kicks, with the pair's synergy oftentimes creating a rhythm section that is very difficult to ignore. On this release, the two Joes' magnum opus is undoubtedly their interplay on "Back To Symmetry", where their heavily-delivered licks single-handedly make the number an unnervingly addictive piece listen. But even further down the EP, In Every Breath's penchant for busting out interestingly arranged pieces also becomes apparent; closing number "30 Below", for example, sees the band run the gamut of atmospheric interpretations, seemingly trying to compress as much as possible within six minutes of run-time. The song's overall concept is brazen and devoid of any pop sensibility, to say the least, yet it might just be the best that the release has to offer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a band of their stature, In Every Breath's Awakening
EP suffers a little from underproduction, which may hinder the band's ability to expand its fanbase as quickly as it would like. But while this brief release is no grand artistic statement in itself, it does suggest that a sophomore album from this hard rock outfit would be a worthwhile proposition - and that may be where this EP's real victory lies.