Album Review: A Wanted Awakening – Catharsis
Origin: Lowell, Massachusetts
Release year: 2012
With my work pressures slowly decreasing, I can slowly but steadily start to think about writing again. I did a double dose yesterday, so why not repeat that for today?
This one’s been spamming my inbox for a while; must have had like 400 e-mails announcing the coming of this album. Ignored ‘em all for months: no time. However, I did really enjoy A Wanted Awakening’s previous effort, an EP called Rebirth that I reviewed well over a year ago. It had some initial flaws and was later remastered quite successfully. Now they’ve got a full-length up, Catharsis, released about a month ago.
The ten songs on the album span up almost fifty minutes, but it’s not all new material. It’s been a while and my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I seem to recognize at least four songs from Rebirth, maybe more. Of course it’s all redone and improved, so value was definitely added. Catharsis starts with Final Ascent: Exiled and ends with Final Ascent: Exodus. I’m sure the band intended to make a point with that, in addition to just expressing that Catharsis is an album rather than a collection of songs, but I have to admit it completely eludes me. That’s not to say the album doesn’t feel like a unity.
The unique selling point of Rebirth was the use of a whole range of different vocalists, each with its very own character. That remains and continues to form the glue that sticks everything together to form an album. I’m able to distinguish at least four different vocals, ranging from long-stretched cleans to deep, sometimes muffled, growls, with some variations of acid screaming in between. The result is pretty damn cool; a chaotic assault of voices, well-fitted to the Deathcore riffing!
Musically, Catharsis isn’t immediately special. The mix of riffs and lead guitars is sometimes melodic sometimes dark as hell and well executed, but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. The band’s power is in the combination made with the energy rising from those vocals. The Massacre to Come, for example, features a pile of angry, fast riffing which combines well with an assault of acid, almost Black Metal screams and cages death growls. The cleans are scarcely employed on this one, but provide brief windows of light for contrast.
The Perseus Veil is once again among the stronger tracks on offer. It supplies a wild frenzy of riffs and leads, but features a lovely melodic chorus as a change of pass. We’re dealing with Deathcore here, so the mandatory slowdown breakdown is also present, though not quite as prominent as seems to be the trend nowadays. It’s followed by clean, Jazzy guitars toddling along for more contrast.
Catharis forms a collection of good songs and has the vocal frenzy to distinguish the band from other bands in the genre. This works well, but I also have to note that after spinning about two thirds of the album, it all starts to become a bit default, i.e. the album loses its shiny newness. It’s therefore a good thing that the band stuck Spiders in towards the end, a song that sets out with a hugely different atmosphere; slower, clean and more mystical. Quickly turns though, to a thick dark storm at sea, but nonetheless containing a flamingly sung melodic chorus. Probably the best song on the record!
A Wanted Awakening proves to me that Deathcore can still be original. They’ve taken great steps since Rebirth and the whole things sounds a lot more professional; no more out-of-key vocal harmonies anymore, while at the same time they seem to have gone easier on the autotune – the cleans sound way more natural. There is however, still ground to be gained. The first thing there would be to give the bass a more prominent role in the mix as it’s currently almost completely absent.
Let’s not be picky though, Catharsis is a killer record and a breath of fresh air in Deathcore! You can get your digital hands on it through Bandcamp!
My Grade: 8.5/10
Buy this when:
- you care for a lovely contrasting mix of darkness, anger and melody
- you’d have yourself some of that lovely chaotic mix of vocals