Karnivool
Sound Awake


5.0
classic

Review

by Nick Mongiardo USER (135 Reviews)
August 4th, 2013 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wide awake and still asleep...

It’s always up for debate whether or not four years is too long of a wait. Especially for such a young band like Karnivool. Themata was released to considerable acclaim in 2005 and what a record to begin your career with. After developing a solid fan base and receiving all of this acclaim they seemed to fall off the radar. Four years is quite a long time to not hear from a band let alone such a young band like Karnivool and they could have easily been forgotten. In 2009, they exploded onto the scene again with an overwhelming amount of maturity and passion for a band that is only into their sophomore album. It’s safe to say they caught everyone’s attention as well as even more critical acclaim. Boasting a more progressive sound, great musicianship, and Ian’s simple yet emotional vocals, it only furthered the argument that four years in fact can be worth the wait.

As soon as you hear the quietly swelling synthesizers and Xylophone in the beginning of “Simple Boy,” you immediately suspect we are in for something much different than Themata. The powerful bass guitar comes in as well as Ian’s emotional vocals. “Simple Boy” sets the stage for the entire album in terms of sound and lyrical content. You get the sense that the song is introducing a character that is tormented and longing for some sort of escape as Ian hypnotically exclaims:

“Simple boy, stay here
Simple boy, don't wander
Simple boy, you're safe here
Simple boy, simple boy”

“Sound Awake” has never been confirmed a concept album, but it definitely tells a story of a very tormented soul. “Simple Boy” discovers that he can in fact escape from his torment in “Goliath.” The song’s time signature is incredibly unique as well as the skillful guitar playing. Ian and Steve really shine on the vocals and drums in this one. We then move into “New Day” as the story continues. It is the highlight of the album because it conveys an overwhelming amount of positive emotions. The amount of textures placed into this song is astounding. Soaring guitars, impressive drumming, and Tool influenced bass accompanies Ian’s vocals about finally finding the way down the right path. It’s a wonder to behold…

However, the boy’s positive attitude doesn’t continue throughout the entire album. “Set Fire To The Hive” angrily preaches about the hypocrisy of religion and politics. It almost sounds like it could feel right at home on Themata. Being one of the heaviest songs on the album, it certainly delivers in the angst and it is driven by impressive lyrics, heavy bass, and unique sounds. Finding the way for the boy continues throughout the album from the very emotional “Umbra” right up until the incredibly epic twelve minutes number “Deadman.”

It all ends with the song that definitely pleased fans of Themata. It is essentially part two of “Change.” Epic without a doubt, Karnivool did not disappoint with this closer. It thrills, its guitar conveys an overwhelming amount of emotion, and the lyrics provide vast amounts of closure. The simple boy has found his path. The album is definitely a journey that you embark on with the boy and you eventually begin to take his problems associate with your own life. Finding a path that suites you in certainly not an easy one, but Karnivool certainly found theirs in this epic record.



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user ratings (1574)
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Julianna Reed EMERITUS (4)
    Karnivool has once again proven success with the latest installment of their musical catal...

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

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

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

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

    PistolPete (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...

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



Comments:Add a Comment 
Havey
August 4th 2013


11098 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

oh

tempest--
August 4th 2013


20634 Comments


yea

Drummerboy123
August 4th 2013


3115 Comments


Damn that 2 hurts my soul.

Mongi123
August 4th 2013


21445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Havey Not sorry man haha it's what I get from this album. What don't you like about it?

Cipieron
August 4th 2013


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

5 album is a 5



have a pos

LilLioness
August 4th 2013


2994 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I am pretty sure Baseline has this 1'd.

Mongi123
August 4th 2013


21445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep. Album has no redeeming qualities.

LilLioness
August 4th 2013


2994 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well she just has harsh opinions. XD

Mongi123
August 4th 2013


21445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A Karnivool review is a call to action for baseline haha

Mongi123
August 4th 2013


21445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A Karnivool review is a call to action for baseline haha

NightmareCinema16
August 4th 2013


2016 Comments


All the Karnivool madness AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

LilLioness
August 4th 2013


2994 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Simple Boy" holds special meaning for me as the lyrics can easily fit the theme of an unaccepting parent trying to force their LGBTQ kid to abide by their mores or they will kick them out of the house. This album has a lot of themes on it.



I still prefer Themata for its more immediate nature, though.

Mongi123
August 4th 2013


21445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yea Simple Boy is a powerful song in more ways than one. And Themata is def more accessible yea

LilLioness
August 4th 2013


2994 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dat new album. Def didn't dig it. I have been having a bad time the past two years. My fave bands all have been doing stuff that leaves me feeling cold.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 4th 2013


46557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Yeah Asymmetry is definitely the weakest of the three for me, although there were still brilliant songs on there. I always preferred Themata to SA, and not just because it's more immediate; I always felt it was rawer and had more groove and genuine emotion than SA. Just me I guess.



Really good review though.

LilLioness
August 4th 2013


2994 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, somebody involved in the production of Themata definitely knew what they were doing.

Mongi123
August 4th 2013


21445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Themata had more hooks and catchy choruses I agree. But personally I don't need anything catchy in a

song for me to love it. Take Simple Boy, it's not catchy at all, but I love it regardless. Everyone's

different though. And thanks dude.

KerfuffleinaHussle
August 4th 2013


1033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mmm, I feel this album may be a tad overrated.



I'd say this is technically better (Simple Boy, Deadman and Change; holy crap) than Themata but I find myself listening to Themata a lot more than I do this, so which I prefer...I don't know.

tempest--
August 4th 2013


20634 Comments


Simple Boy is catchy wtf

Mongi123
August 4th 2013


21445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmmm not to me but maybe that was a bad example. The synthesizers in the middle certainly are but the song as a whole I don't believe so.



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