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Karnivool - Sound Awake CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.07 | 273 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Karnivool expanded on their debut "Themata" with this 2009 release by exploring some more complex songwriting and time signatures. The result is a very solid release with some moments of pure magic.

Right from the start we're treated to something a bit different. The opening track "Simple Boy" kicks off with a xylophone. Then we're hit squarely between the eyes with Jon Stockman's huge bass sound. Distorted and heavy, Stockman achieves a killer tone on this album and is central to the success of many of the tracks.

"Goliath" once again features a pulsating bass line with Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking delivering delay-heavy guitar and brutal power chords to create an intriguing sonic texture.

Vocalist Ian Kenny comes to the fore in "New Day" as the 8 minute epic unfolds. For much of the first half of the song, Kenny is prominent with some nice melodic guitar providing accompaniment. As "New Day" progresses the intensity ramps up before slowing again for the song's outro. In my experience this one has certainly been a crowd favourite live.

"Set Fire to the Hive" is a chaotic metal song. Steve Judd's percussion drives this beast and Kenny indulges in some vocal distortion as Karnivool reaches some of its heaviest moments on the album. One gets the impression the boys had fun tracking this in the studio.

Out of this chaos emerges a gorgeous melody in "Umbra". The layering of guitars is superb and creates a great atmosphere. Unfortunately this isn't sustained throughout the song - the vocal melody is not brilliant and the chorus is somewhat forgettable.

Things are instantly rectified on "All I Know". This is the song that really brought me into the fold as a Karnivool fan. It's amazing from start to finish. Stockman drives the song with an incredibly catchy bassline and the guitars sprinkle the appropriate textures on top. Ian Kenny is at his best with the vocals, and the lyrics are simply out of this world. The question of "Why are we here?" is asked as eloquently as one could ever hope to hear. These are existential musings at their finest.

The second half of the album is inconsistent, but of special mention are "Deadman" and 'Change Part 2". Both of these are definitely worth a look for prog fans in particular. They are 10 minute plus journeys across varying moods and styles. The final track incorporates the didgeridoo and some other instruments, a nice touch from an Australian band.

Overall Karnivool have shown more songwriting maturity with this release and some nice original touches. Combine that with some great rock moments and there's the makings of an album that's worth more than a few spins.

bonestorm | 4/5 |


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