EP Review: A Wanted Awakening – Rebirth
Artist: A Wanted Awakening (US)
Album: Rebirth (EP, 2011)
Genre: Progressive Melodic Death / ‘Core
A Wanted Awakening is a five-headed Florida-born Massachusetts-based band that formed in 2002, originally as Atlas Dying. It seems to me that they’ve been battling about for the past nine years in the local scenes. There have been the typical line-up changes, but also a couple of relocations of the full band (or the left-overs after the departure of half the group). They don’t seem to be giving up though and are looking to make it bigger. In fact, they’ve got their sights set really high, as they want to “push Metal back to the forefront of the music industry”.
Highly ambitious, and probably a step too far. After all, do we really want Metal to become the standard in music and have every little shitfuck talk about it like he knows it? It’s bad enough as it is with people like me writing about it like it matters, don’t you think?
Anyfuck, bassist Jason York sent me a message the other day. His Progressive-Metal-and-Metalcore-fusing band A Wanted Awakening released a brand new EP just two weeks ago and they want The Baboon’s opinion on the bugger. Hell yeah, we’ll comply!
That the share of setbacks and group changes the band has known haven’t put them off and in fact have made them more determined than ever is quite clear from this latest EP’s title: Rebirth. That implies fresh start. Still smelly and bloody and also slightly squeezed and deformed due to “the big push”, but showing promise.
With their reformed line-up, the band have now got in house: Rick Hardy (vocals and the only remaining founding member), John Tree (guitars and vocals), Derek St. Martin (guitars), Jason York (bass, I already said that, but also vocals) and Evan Carney (drums). That’s right, that’s three dudes that have their vocal chords at the music’s disposal and it shows. Not one vocal-dude and a couple of “wooooohoooo-waaaahaaargh-singing” background singers, but an intense interplay of lyrics and vocal flavors.
There are deep growls, agonizing screams a la Black Metal, tormented cleans, open cleans (of three distinct colors) and a bunch of other variations. And it all goes in a big fuckin’ blender before it’s aired. I like the concept and the high measure of implementation, no half work here, despite that at times it still sounds a bit too chaotic and uncontrolled.
What’s more though, is that not all of the three clean voices are equally adept at staying in key. In fact, there’s at least one of the guys that’s pretty fuckin’ far out of tune and the result ain’t pretty ([Editor's Note: read the Editor's Note about this down below!]). It’s worst in a segment of a song called The Massacre to Come, when a bunch of clean vocals are layered on top of each other with calm guitar work. The result is wrenching, all in the bad way. Despite that the occurrence of this is limited (luckily), it’s still quite a big fuckin’ flaw and one that must definitely be fixed if the band is ever to achieve its ambitious goals.
On the other hand, musically this stuff definitely has its interesting moments. Rationally, the bulk of the techniques employed by the band is pretty standard for Metalcore / Deathcore. However, it doesn’t feel like plain ol’ ‘core, but has subtle elements of Progressive Death stirred through. It’s not present in all of their songs, but it’s definitely there. The one that shows it the most in my opinion is their track called Spiders, which consequently is also the best (by far in fact) song on the disc. We’ve got it lined up for you below. What’s more about this one is that it’s a song where those off vocals aren’t heard.
Another kick-ass song is the one called The Perseus Veil, with grooving rockin’ parts, plain violent parts and calm melodic melodies alternating. The mix of vocals is particularly cool on this song, with the summit of vocal coolness being the barking growls in the long fuckin’ bridge section. Once again minimal occurrence of off-vocals. Because of those barking vox I couldn’t help but to add it to the article as well.
So, you could consider AWA a bunch of local heroes, but it’s also clear from the ambition they express that they’re looking hard to climb higher. They’ve got a couple of things in store that could really get them there, but first there’s the issue with the vocals that needs to be solved. Though the occurrence is limited, it’s a serious fault and it nullifies the otherwise very proper musical originality. Where I would have lovingly scored this EP a snazzy 8 otherwise, I can’t but slap a minor 6 on it now.
[Editor's Note: It's August now and I recently got a message from Jason York again. Turns out this review was input for the band to redo their mixing and mastering and he wants to know how we feel about it now. Read all about our new opinion here. The result is that we now don't value this a 6 on 10 anymore, and not even an 8 on 10 either. Instead, we've slapped a big smelly 9 on it. Really, it turned out amazing!
Oh, and by the way, those vids above have been updated at the band's request. They are now the new versions of the songs and won't contain any off note whatsoever! ]
Buy this when:
- you want to, as you can also download it for free here
- you don’t mind a couple of segments with vocals that are way off
- you’re curious for the otherwise very original and cool blend of vocal variations