Karnivool - Sound Awake


Jun 1 2009, 4h39

From Perth, Australia, Karnivool have at last put together their much anticipated sophomore album titled Sound Awake. Renowned for their high energy live shows and all-round musicianship, their latest effort sees them take a decisive step in the direction of . In a similar vein to fellow countrymen Cog's recent album Sharing Space, Karnivool have experimented with extended compositions, including two tracks which clock in at over 10 minutes to close the album. However to compare Sound Awake to Sharing Space sells it somewhat short, as this is an album which sets the bar yet higher for metal. The production is razor sharp and every moment has clearly been paid the utmost attention to achieve a cohesive flow from start to finish.

It is officially out on June 5th, but it's currently streaming in full on their myspace for anyone who's curious. Existing fans of their debut album Themata will appreciate this, but it's also a good starting point for anyone unacquainted with their tunes. Sound Awake is a strong effort that will hold its own without qualification on the international stage.


Track Listing
1. Simple Boy (5:47)
2. Goliath (4:26)
3. New Day (8:20)
4. Set Fire to the Hive (4:28)
5. Umbra (7:50)
6. All I Know (4:53)
7. The Medicine Wears Off (1:49)
8. The Caudal Lure (6:16)
9. Illumine (5:12)
10. Deadman (12:04)
11. Change (10:47)



    Agreed. I can't decide whether it will top Themata, although I haven't heard Change Part 2 yet. I'm so tempted to download the whole album but I think I can wait another 4 days. Comparison to Sharing Space was interesting, I wouldn't have compared them pre Sound Awake, but I think now they have advanced and progressed with their sound.

    Jun 1 2009, 6h08
  • Anarchy15

    It's definitely more progressive and in the vein of those bands you know Drew wanted to sounds more like (Meshuggah). Nobody can say 'oh this is so much better/worse than Themata yet, at least give it a few listens on CD quality before jumping to that conclusion. To be honest, it can't really be compared anyway. It's a different sound to Themata as you said, progressive metal and not 'alternative metal' that Themata was. Being pedantic could pay off bigtime I think!

    Jun 1 2009, 12h40
  • Elgyn2

    Yep, it should sound a lot richer on CD. The myspace bitrate I'm listening to (96) tends to sound "flat". I'll be buying it on friday for sure. I'm not going to make a final call on the Sound Awake -- Themata debate yet (at least not for a few weeks / months) because I fully agree that they've each got their own style and that they've sidestepped genres. For my personal taste this is perfect. This is exactly the album I was hoping it would. I appreciate that people expecting Themata part ii will be disappointed but early signs tell me this will be an album well worth getting to know. As writers I think they've matured and developed a sense of pace that was evident in it's infancy on Themata. There are more mellow breakdowns like what you hear in Lifelike ("so run with me if you must follow..."), such as at the start & end of Umbra, or the end of New Day. On the flipside, songs like Simple Boy and All I Know retain the thunderous riffage of Themata. The major test over time will be whether Sound Awake has the longevity of its predecessor. I've listened to very few albums as many times as Themata and I still love it. It'll take something special to top that but I think the fact that there's a debate at all is a good indication that this album was worth the wait.

    Jun 1 2009, 22h49
  • Anarchy15

    I completely agree with you there. The sound's certainly developed and I'm in the same boat when you talk about personal preference. You know it almost sounds as if Themata is simple when you compare it to some of the breakdowns like you said. I'm glad there is at least some people out there who can keep a level head and not turn into fanboys who've already made up their mind long ago. Themata would be my most played album too, but I'm not basing my love for Sound Awake on that.

    Jun 2 2009, 2h58
  • Rowan5215

    I really think that Themata is better. You talked about a "cohesive flow from start to finish" for Sound Awake, but really, unlike on Themata, there are some flaws. One such flaw is the transition from "New Day" to "Set Fire To The Hive". The last minute or so of "New Day" consists entirely of a slow, steady drumbeat. This abruptly stops and is replaced by the heavy riff of Set Fire To The Hive wiith almost no pause. It really doesn't fit. Another flaw is, as a lot of people keep saying, the transition from the end of "Deadman" to "Change (Part 2)". It had a lot of expectations on it's shoulders, not only as the closer to the album, but as the second part of "Change". After four long years, I think that 'Vool fans' expectations for "Change (Part 2)" had grown very high, and I don't think it delivers. "Change (Part 1) is just starting to get heavier and faster after three minutes of ambience and this is replaced by a quick, fast drumbeat. It doesn't fit at all. Sure, it's a great song all in all, but not Karnivool-worthy. While Themata retains the "cohesive flow" you were talking about without fail. I'm positive Themata will remain higher in my charts. Actually, Themata even seems better now there's an album to compare it to. Hopefully for Karnivool's third album, however far away it may be, Ian stops using that fucking mixer that ruined Set Fire To The Hive.

    Jun 8 2009, 1h20
  • Elgyn2

    Firstly I fully agree about Change, the transition is not only a let down after years of waiting, but seems almost intentionally unexpected in the overall flow of the album. We are expecting an explosion and what we get is a stripped back tribal drum beat. The song is good but probably not the best on the album. Personally, I always felt that Themata had a great start but a poor finish, and I rarely listened past L1FEL1KE. I have at one time or another enjoyed all songs there after but I feel they make themata less consistent in its awesomeness. I don't feel those "quiet spots" in Sound Awake, though they may just take some time to emerge. I should add I'm generally not easily bored by less "metal" tracks such as those at the end of Themata, I just don't think they're that good.

    Jun 10 2009, 8h26
  • WattoTheJazzman

    I agree about Change. I was pumped with expectation of a 10-minute metal marathon based on that lead-up, then I groaned for almost the entire length of Change with unreleased energy. (It's difficult to tell on the internet, so I'll reveal this is a slight exaggeration.) Although it's not a bad song, something better could have been done with that. I think we can agree Sound Awake is a far more complex album. The songs aren't as concise, structure is much harder to detect and it rarely matches its predecessor in "catchiness". It's early days still, and I suppose I'll eventually be able to recall parts of the last few tracks, but at the moment my mind goes blank when I try. However there is some merit to Sound Awake - there is a more expansive feel, like each song is a part of something bigger, and definitely the "artistic" value has eclipsed the "pop" value. Still a very powerful release, and still a very good album regardless. Elgyn2 is right - its longevity will be its true test. Can we continue listening to Sound Awake while we wait for the 'Vool to make the next one, as we did with Themata?

    Jun 14 2009, 7h19
  • Elgyn2

    I think due to the added complexity of the longer songs on Sound Awake they'll take longer to become familiar with, but I can already say that Deadman is a classic from start to finish (with the possible exclusion of the intro to Change). It's going to kill it live and I wouldn't be surprised if they try it out as a closing track in the future. The "Still I remind myself, how I define myself" part will be epic.

    Jun 16 2009, 0h08
  • Anarchy15

    last night at the Myspace show they played 14, yes FOURTEEN songs. All but Illumine/The Caudal Lure from SA and Roquefort/Themata/Shutterspeed from Themata. And they 'encored' with Change into Change part 2, including a brilliant acoustic finish by Kenny in all his vocal goodness! Let me just say, I knew 95% of the words to the new songs, I don't think anybody else around me did, so the mosh was extremely lacklustre, but Deadman was a masterpiece live. I can't wait for the tour, hopefully the people there will know the words and the 'breakdown' parts and will not just stand there looking dumbfounded. These new tracks bring a whole new element to their live show and I am extremely excited!

    Jun 16 2009, 8h55
  • Elgyn2

    That is awesome. Where was the show? Illumine and The Caudal Lure are two of my faves from Sound Awake but that's still a killer set!

    Jun 16 2009, 12h43
  • Anarchy15

    At the Astor Theatre in Perth, it's an alright venue, they had pretty good sound there even from up the back so I was told. I wanted to see those two songs as well haha, but maybe on the tour they might play them, they're so enigmatic but.

    Jun 17 2009, 3h17
  • WattoTheJazzman

    Man, I wish I lived in Perth at times like this. Caudal Lure is one of my favourites, along with Goliath, Simple Boy, Change, Deadman, New Day, Illumine..... do I need to go on? No but seriously Caudal Lure is one of my favourites - especially love the bit with the gong or crash cymbal or whatever it is, shame on me not to know.

    Jun 17 2009, 7h24
  • Dookiac

    I agree with Rowan, to be honest, Sound Awake had quite a few disappointments intermittent within it. The mixer in Set Fire to the Hive was terrible when I first heard the song, and I still hold the same opinion. Change was not what I was expecting, I didn't like the fact that the song made Change (Part 1) seem totally fucking irrelevant. In relation to the whole flow idea of both albums, SA was definitely a more steadily flowing album (aside from Set Fire and Deadman/Change), but at least in Themata the songs were distinct and individual... right now, in SA I find it hard to identify separate tracks because as people have already stated, they sound like they're a part of something bigger. Themata's tracks all told their own story, whereas SA's sound like they're only telling a part of one, which annoys me because it makes me try to play connect the dots with every single lyric on the record. All in all, Sound Awake is an excellent and outstanding record, but it doesn't hold the same brilliance that Themata did when I first gave it a listen at 3 AM in the morning in 2006.

    Jul 13 2009, 0h58
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