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Karnivool - Sound Awake CD (album) cover

SOUND AWAKE

Karnivool

 

Heavy Prog

4.13 | 221 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Destined for the charts

In Sound Awake, KARNIVOOL play highly energetic, progressive, heavy alternative rock that can be incredibly catchy at the same time. With a clear American stamp in their music, the band is probably Australia's highest hope for something really great coming out of the modern alternative scene.

This is my first experience with the band and my interest in them kept rising while listening to this album over and over again. The first few listens made me think that this might be another Tool clone but with a more commercial approach. Indeed, as the album kicks off in a very punchy, dynamic manner with Simple Boy and Goliath, the sound of The Mars Volta and Tool's first albums appears strongly in a number of passages. Although Karnivool do not borrow the style of TMV, there are moments where their sound resembles strongly to them; the way the singer performs his vocal duties is one of the reasons.

Alternative rock/metal is the base of Karnivool's music, but they have taken this to the next level, adding lots of progressive elements but maintaining a "radio-friendly" atmosphere (New Day). However, the influences of the band go back to the beginnings of the so-called "grunge" movement and this is evident in their first single, Set Fire to the Hive which pays tribute to Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger days. It is only in the middle section of the album where a few nu-metal influences appear (e.g. mellower moments of Limp Bizkit), rendering this a less interesting part.

The exceptional rhythm section of the band shines in sophisticated and adventurous tracks like The Caudal Lure, where the style of Enchant comes in mind and confirms the "heavy-prog" tag given in PA. The odd-time signatures selected by the band are inspired and are executed perfectly throughout the album. Strangely, the two closing tracks are the longest compositions and that works nicely for the conclusion of the album, as there is great variety of experimentation, melodies and tempos to make these interesting enough. It also gives the chance to Ian Kenny to deliver some of his best vocal performance and reveal the affection for Alice in Chains.

Overall, Sound Awake is among the surprises of 2009 and could be well positioned to take its place among the best albums released in that year. Although Karnivool's originality can be questioned, they seem to bring a fresh sound to the scene of alternative heavy prog rock/metal. The great rhythm section and the filtration of influences from the "grunge" scene have produced a very dynamic album. Any fan of Tool, TMV and the "extended" alternative rock scene of the last 20 years is most likely to enjoy this awakening experience...

aapatsos | 4/5 |

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