June 17, 2019 Awake At Last – The Change (Album Review)
A band who believe in positivity and spirituality, strength in unity, and being the change that we wish to see in this world, Awake At Last deliver their aptly-titled, full-length debut, The Change, on Friday, June 21st, 2019, thanks to Outerloop Records.
Dover, Delaware’s Awake At Last, formed in 2014, have shared stages with the likes of Ice Nine Kills, The Plot In You, Palisades, and more, all while touring behind two EPs—2014’s King of the World and 2017’s Life/Death/Rebirth. However, last year was a game-changer for the young band. With a stint on the final, cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour, an appearance at the iMatter Festival alongside the likes of Underoath and August Burns Red, as well as a spot opening for Asking Alexandria, they certainly had a 2018 to remember.
Now entering their fifth year of existence, Awake At Last—Vocalist Vincent Torres, Guitarists Eric Blackway and Imran Xhelili, Bassist/Vocalist Tyler Greene, and Drummer Jon Finney—continue to push themselves to new heights, which is apparent on their debut full-length offering, The Change. Serving as a direct sequel to Life/Death/Rebirth, the 12-song album was produced by Kile Odell of Failure Anthem and Josh Landry.
The Change kicks off to the minute and a half intro, “Rebirth.” With a bold, cinematic feel, the band introduce their debut with pizzazz and then move immediately into the proper first track, “Welcome To Life.” A multi-layered, melodic journey, the song sees the band digging deep, while reminding listeners that nothing is what it seems in this crazy world. Flaws are beautiful, failure is an education, and Awake At Last are here to guide you on this adventure with their rose-colored outlook!
Next, they amp up the funky electronics inside their wall of sound for “More Than Animals.” An exploration of taking back control and escaping the cages of our minds, at the heart of the track is an inner battle of mental health. This leads to one of the album’s clear stand-out tracks, “Dead Generation.” Here Torres gets gritty, vocally speaking, offering a calculated glance at the current generation who have the power to change the world—if only they wise up and speak up.
Harden your heart! Driving guitars lead the charge into rocker “Unobtainable,” a confession that romance is Russian roulette and an unsustainable love just won’t cut it. Meanwhile, initially, “Let Go” is a ballad-esque sway that builds into rocking choruses with some wonderfully-authored synth-mospherics that truly complement the band.
Another standout, “My Enemy” is one of the heaviest, bass-slamming tracks on the collection, a jaunt that delves into the sludge of life, searching for meaning in the darkness. Somewhat similarly, Torres unleashes on the deliciously bass heavy, toe-tapper “Bigger Picture,” as he attempts to find his place in the grand scheme. Here, those cinematic elements that first appeared at the album’s intro come back to play, showing that Awake At Last have a facet to their personality that’s perfectly-suited to the more theatrical.
Electronic orchestration opens the album’s namesake and obvious single, “The Change.” A perfect representation of the album as a whole, the track invites listeners to be the change that they wish to see in the world. Featuring guest vocals from Ice Nine Kills’ Spencer Charnas, who plays off Torres perfectly, creating a powerfully infectious, uplifting rocker that flawlessly displays the best of Awake At Last.
The Change, the album, then rounds out with the catchy, soaring “Paralyzed,” while the talents of Blackway and Xhelil shine on “Still Breathing.” Ultimately they end with the celebration of strength in unity that is “Fallen Stars.” All said and done, this is a solid debut that contains some true highs, plenty of inspiring lyrics, and quite a few impactful moments. Though the singles are fairly obvious, the young quintet manage to deliver a debut that is an excellent promise of good things to come in their bright future.
An exploration of universal themes, a search to locate our place in the mayhem of life, The Change is an album that proves that Awake At Last are, as just mentioned above, a band to watch. Throughout the collection they continuously inspire listeners to wake up, smell the roses, and to face life’s challenges—be they inner battles or speaking our voices to make a change in the world—and they implore each of us to do all of this with an empowering smile on our faces. With solid musicianship, catchy songs, and this hyper-awareness to modern strife, Awake At Last are making a change, one track at a time. Consider yourself woke! Cryptic Rock give Awake At Last’s The Change 3.5 of 5 stars.