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Karnivool - Sound Awake

Reviewer :
drr00t Format: Album
Release date: 2010-02-16 Year: 2010
Label: Cymatic Records / Sony Music
Genre: Alternative Metal
Producer: Forrester Savell
Artist discography


Masterpiece - that´s the only word that can accurately describe Karnivool´s second album "Sound Awake". The follow-up to their debut full-length release "Themata" not only matches their previous effort, but also surpasses it in many ways.

This album is EPIC. It sends listeners on a 72 minute journey through various musical landscapes from sonic atmospheric arrangements to pure riffage heaven. Each and every band member shines, but special mention must be given to drummer Steve Judd, and bassist Jon Stockman whose performances border on virtuoso. Producer and mixer Forrester Savell has done a superb job yet again on this record. Each member is clear in the mix, and the various landscapes of sound are captured impeccably.

This album is filled with various time signatures. But don´t let this put you off if you’re not a musician by trade as these are pulled off flawlessly and the time and key changes are integrated beautifully. The instrumentation on this album is nothing short of complex, but the band still stays true to its melodies and fit the two together seamlessly.

Now this wouldn´t be a well balanced review if I didn´t mention a few negatives, but the only negative I have is one that will probably turn into a positive with time. Confused? Allow me to explain - Sound Awake takes a number of listens to before its true greatness is fully unveiled. It doesn´t have a great number of hooks that grab you at first listen, so this could be seen as a negative. But with each listen this album grows stronger and stronger and you start hearing things you didn´t notice previously. So with time this negative turns into a positive as it breeds longevity. I´m on my tenth listen and still enjoying different elements on each listen!
I don´t need to go through and analyse each song individually because they are all strong.

The three highlights(*) for me are New Day, All I Know, and Illumine... oh and Deadman, Change, and The Caudal Lure. Picking a set few highlights from such a thorough album really is that difficult!

I haven´t given an album 5 stars before, but this album is as close to perfect as you are ever going to get, so giving it anything other than 5 stars would be an injustice.
A massive 5 out of 5.

Tracklisting 1. Simple Boy
2. Goliath
3. New Day
4. Set Fire To The Hive
5. Umbra
6. All I Know
7. The Medicine Wears Off
8. The Caudal Lure
9. Illumine
10. Deadman
11. Change
12. Roquefort (with Empire Horns)


Melodic Net Comments 

A true classic, one album that deserves to be called an epic masterpiece. Words are not enough and kudos to Forrester Savell the master behing the mind blowing new Australian rock scene

I think Karnivool is trying to get their own sound with this album,but time signatures,bass parts and the parts of vocals are very much like tool.Overall the band has a very good sound and some songs are very addictive(especially simple boy and goliath).I do agree the whole album "Sound Awake" is not the greatest.Maybe the follow up will be :)

Definitely the best album I've ever heard! It has everything that I look for in music: epic segments, intricate musicianship, and fiddly drums and time signatures that always keep me thinking. Soo good!

I can't help but think of them as an Australian Tool; the odd times and the progressive feel. Even the lead singers, Ian Kenny and Maynard have their similarities (both have a main progressive band and a more 'radio friendly' side project). I just find Karnivool and this album Sound Awake have provided me with something new and original to listen too after flogging the 3, 4 Tool albums to death. I am not saying they sound anything like each other I'm just saying they have common elements that I personally love to listen to. Sound Awake did take me a day or to to fully feel and understand what they were playing. Songs like Simple Boy, Goliath and Set the Hive on Fire just rock. Great sound, strong and powerful. The songs in between like Umbra to Illumine were very thought provoking, I just had to listen to them that one more time and again and again… And then there is the last two. Deadman and Change. These are just pure gems. The flow of them is mesmorising. Genius in their composition. The only thing I didn't like about the album was that I felt that New Day seemed a bit out of place in the flow of the album. I personally felt it could have sat well around the end of the album near Illumine and Deadman. But that's just a thought and now that I've listened to it soo much it doesn't really matter. New Day is of course one of the gems of the album. It may be a different step from Themata but it is a step forward and a positive one at that.

The lead singer looks like shaggy from scooby doo. There must be something in the water in perth..all the peeps there are fugly.

watch your language guys! language!

Alan, who are you the moderator of this board? If not go fu#ck yourself.

"-Vool fanbois are psychos. Even if Karnivool released shit on a stick they would call it a masterpiece. Pretentious wankers like Tool fans. " You are a f**king idiot. You are not allowed to speak again.

The album starts fantastic and continues very strong 40 minutes into the album but why the length of 72 minutes? I kinda lose interest in the last 3 songs......

Vool fanbois are psychos. Even if Karnivool released shit on a stick they would call it a masterpiece. Pretentious wankers like Tool fans.

Uninspired Benny? I don't know at what point you fell and hit your head. But the whole album is nothing short of flawless. I've yet to hear any band this year write anything close to what Karnivool has achieved with Sound Awake. And I'm sorry. But MUSE couldn't touch this calibur of instrumentality. You have any idea how much talent and patience it takes to play what Karnivool is with this new album? I really do not think you understand what goes into creating this kind of music. Maybe take a little time to study up before you call something COMPLETELY astounding in measure, uninspired.

Benny Hill
Pretty good album but definitely not the year's best. After all we're only in the middle of 2009-heaps of albums that I am anticipating much more like Muse. The fanbois on this board need to relax, its just an album. The first half of the album is good, but the second half sounds uninspired.

The best album of 2009! Sound Awake will not be easily topped. Perfection in the form of a musical masterpiece. For the people that have given this album two stars or less. You ALL really need to clean out your ears, and take some time to establish a REAL appreciation, and understanding for music. You're, putting bluntly, god damn idiots. But thanks for acting like you know what you're talking about. ASTOUNDING WORK KARNIVOOL!

If this band, and this album was a woman ... it would be by far, the best relationship, a man could ever have. End of review. End of story. Finnito!

Alright ... straight up. There are music connoissuers and there are music listeners ... but how much 'listening' are the music listeners actually doing? For the most part in the above reviews, I think the feedback has been relatively accurate ... BUT, there have been (and always will be) people out there who don't have the 'ability' to appropriately appreciate and articulate music for what it is. You either pick up on the masterful intricacies or you don't. It comes down to the persons emotional and intellectual depth and capability. Karnivool's 'Sound Awake' is as most well-respected music reviewers have described, an absolute EPIC MASTERPIECE. In every sense of the statement. From start to finish, the album takes you on a wondrous musical journey through atmospheres and worlds we can only wish we were a part of ... and good 'ol Karnivool manage effortlessly to take us there. There's NO DOUBT that Tool have been an influence here, but if the listener pays enough attention, and knows their music from 1960 - 2009, they will discover that Pink Floyd and Sir David Gilmour (on his own) have played an influential part in the makings of this 'already' legendary piece of musical genius. Aside from this, the band themselves have established their own sound in their own right, and have proven that uniqueness and standoutness (yes I've created a word to suit my own argument) is something they have been capable of doing in a progressive and musically mature and intelligent way. Without question, songs like 'Simple Boy', 'Golliath', 'New Day', 'Umbra', 'Deadman', and 'Change' are nothing short of blissful musical mastery. 'Change' though, is most certainly 'THE' stand-out. It does at times, particularly in the initial stages, have a Tool 'Lateralus' 'The Grudge' feel to it with its tribal style drum rythems, but with Mr. Kenny's vocal attack, and his band of brothers instrumental unity collectively working together so rarely heard in any musical forum ... only the true music appreciator grasp it and give it the justice it truly deserves. EPIC, MASTERFUL, GENIUS, FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH ... Karnivool - Sound Awake.

Ape to the Gr-ape-vine
Shame their longer songs are kind of repetitious (Deadman) and too free flowing without any structure *Change). They should learn from the masters though...the shorter songs are ok.

Not a bad album..

Hi I'm from America and I also agree that Dan is a fucking idiot. Karnivool is the most talented and creative band in the entire rock/metal/prog genre to come around an a long long time. Themata was brilliant and Sound Awake has gone to a whole different level. I've listened to the album probably 20 or 30 times through and there are no signs of it leaving my CD player. I can't wait for them to tour the US so I can see them live in person, rather than on YouTube.

Aright album I guess but the album is hard to take even after multiple listens. Prog-rock happens to be my favorite genre if you could call it that, but some of the melodies and songs just don't sound right. It feels as if Karnivool just accepted these songs, worked on them and just let them be. The album feels very rigid and doubt there are very interesting time signatures/changes but it feels like an empty void.

Very good album, nice progressive influences. Takes several listens to fulyl understand the music. This is not mainstream and replaces worthless catchyness with musical depth.

awesome album,well worth the wait,great review.writing this band off as tool wannabes is selling them well short,cause they have some of the best music to come out of this country in a long,long time.tool are brilliant,karnivool are brilliant,and dan from america is a fuckwit who wouldnt know good music if it bit him on his ignorant,close minded,stupid yankee arse!fuck you buddy,come to a karnivool show and say that....btw,karnivool best live band ive seen since,i dunno,prob tool lateralus tour...

Not sure how Dan can say that they want to sound like Tool. Just because a band shows good instrumentation and variety in their music doesn't mean they are Tool wannabees. Creativity is an art and should be applauded. Karnivool has a far better sense of melody in my opinion.

Hi I'm from Australia and i think Dan from America is a twat.

Hi I'm from America and I think they're pretty average and they want to sound like Tool though.

Agreed, probably the best albums I've listened to in recent memory. The arrangements are simply epic!

Agreed. An amazing piece of work and yes, the review accurately says it - the more you listen, the more you find to like, if not love, about the whole thing.

listen on spotify