Strong sophomore effort,
This review is from: Forever More (Audio CD)
Awake's 2007 debut `Illumination' was a solid debut, if a little too Evergrey in places (but then it was produced by Tom Englund) so its with interest we see where the band is now at 4 years later with album #2 `Forever More'.
First thing we notice is a change in band personnel with a new guitar tag team of brothers Andy and Steven Coles and then some great cover art, and upon first listen the Evergrey edge of the debut has mostly been replaced with a more original sound and one that is still to our liking; but one that still retains the elements that made the debut enjoyable.
Heavier and more direct than many of their Lion Music label brethren such as Sun Caged, Seventh Wonder etc, Awake are all about big heavy riffs, with atmospheric keyboard parts and dark vocals. The band is also more intent on working a song as opposed to flawing us with their technical brilliance. Most tracks are concise clocking in around the 4 to 5 minute mark with short solo passages but are arguably more enjoyable for this trait.
After a brief instrumental opener "Into The Storm", the 1-2 punch of "Out Of Control" and "Release Me" are powerful dynamic numbers with some scorching guitar riffs and excellent kick drum work from Alex Townsend not to mention solid vocals from Simon Shedwell. The more mid tempo water of "Drifting Away" is dark and oppressive and rather tasty all round and this vein is continued for "Taken". The piano darkness of "Closing The Doors" is gothic in nature before "Bleed From You" displays a keen commercial edge and moves at a swift pace and is a highlight.
From here on in with get more of the same as before really, but the quality level is on a par with the rest of the album with later highlights coming in "Hold On", the multi-faceted "One Wish" and the closing title track which is home to a killer chorus and some more tasty riffery, a nice way to go out.
With "Forever More" Awake have cleared the difficult second album hurdle with no problems. More coherent and powerful than the debut in all departments this is a progressive tinted metal band the UK can be proud of and should see the band score a wider fan base. One to check out.
Review as featured at virtuosityone.com