Over the years, I have heard the name AWAKE BY DESIGN and the thing I knew was they didn’t live far away from me. This is the first time I have sat down and listened to them properly. After hearing the strong sounds from their upcoming Self-Titled Album, I will be keeping a closer eye out for them in the future.
It opens with The Coming Tide, which was the first single they released to promote the album and I would describe this opening as swooping. Given the song title, it’s great that the music arrangements match this title. According to lead vocalist Adrian Powell, the lyrics touch upon continually overcoming life’s most challenging barriers. The music arrangements do extremely well to match the song topic and lyrical content. It’s an interesting song to open the album with, it’s enough to pique my curiosity to check out the rest of the album. Given to the complex yet memorable music, bands like KAMELOT and EVERGREY come to mind.
Whilst listening to this record alongside their previous material, I noticed their production is a lot tighter this time round. Karl Groom was the producer behind the decks for this album, he has also worked alongside bands such as DRAGONFORCE and POWERQUEST so you can tell the band are being pointed in the right direction. The sweeping melodies continue throughout the album and like pieces of art, they can be interpreted differently. You are treated to distinctive vocal work, excellent guitar work, solid base lines and brilliant drum patterns. Below are some track that were highlights for me.
This Avalanche is an interesting melody. It first starts of with rapid rhythms that then transitions into a sweeping melody. The symphonic elements do extremely well to match the icy surroundings of an avalanche, I can picture icy peaks and caves when listening to this. An avalanche is a natural example of how something so small can cause such a massive impact. Gathering from the lyrics such as “This time I came so close, to one of life’s little turning points still I was nowhere near” and “these walls are closing in, they are bigger then they were before” this song title can apply to day-to-day life too.
Calling You Home is the latest single that was released and judging from the powerful melody, it’s easy to see why. This song looks into feeling along and being worried about not being there for a loved one. This is a worry I have most days so this track was extremely relatable. There is less going on in this track music wise and I think this works for the song. Adrian’s vocal work really shines here, you can hear the vulnerability in his voice as sings those passionate lyrics such as “I’m here by your side and I am calling you home in the dark of light”.
The Unspoken Truth is a stunning ballad that hade me stop in my tracks. It’s just a piano and voice, for the majority of the song, which is perfect for this song. There is a grand climax in this song when the guitars crank up and the drums kick. The dramatic melody on the piano stands out here, it illustrates brilliantly what can happen if we speak at the wrong time.
It ends on the track Empire that gives us one last blast of the band before coming to a close. In terms of this record, it’s a good album. It shows us AWAKE BY DESIGN have great talent and potential to go further. With a bit more nurturing and developing in their sound, there will be no stopping them.
Words: Lotty Whittingham
Awake By Design will be released Friday 14th August.
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