Let’s face it: much of the rock genre has lost its luster. Be it an obsession with money, fame, power or a simple case of vanity… a decline in music with substance has been seen in the past decade. Radio stations have dwindled down to playing the same 10 songs, over and over, until they’re so drilled in your head that you can’t help but hate them. However, if you look hard enough, you’ll discover that there are still quite a few bands out there who know what it means to create meaningful, powerful and passionate music. Among them sits Delaware’s Awake At Last, who create unique music that just can’t be pigeon-holed. Suffice it to say that there’s a good mixture of pop, rock, alternative and post-hardcore… sounds odd, right? Well, the result is a sound that can’t be properly duplicated, making them stand out. Their newest album, Life/Death/Rebirth, tells a story of an individual whose choices will result in seven different outcomes. Vocalist, Vincent Torres, proclaims in the opening track “Purgatorium:”
Brothers and sisters, gather around, and witness the rise and fall of a man. There’s seven possible outcomes, seven fragmented souls, seven and seven reasons to watch the story unfold!
The aforementioned track opens with a distant and foreboding music box, building into drums and a playful taunt from Torres: “Brothers and sisters, gather around/Martyrs and murderers, don’t make a sound/Cause darkness comes here every day/And that’s when the monsters come out to play!” As Jon Finney’s drumming builds in the distant background, suddenly the track explodes and is transformed into the first act of a dark story. Distorted guitars begin chugging along, a heavy rhythm section ensues and Torres becomes the narrator, looking in on a man whose life has ended. “Is he dead?/He could be dead as could be!/Heaven or hell, we’ll have to wait and see/Choices made on this glorious day/Will decide your fate so let’s play!” The chorus shows a strong, higher register of Torres vocals, which range from singing to angst-ridden yelling. As the track ends, the listener will find themselves wanting to know more… and thus, the story continues.
An eerie, urgent atmosphere is created through the clever mixture of electronic elements and keyboard parts with “Analysis Paralysis.” While the majority of the track features chugging, heavy guitar parts, the chorus is what the listener will find themselves really captivated by. Through the use of heavily-distorted, crunchy rhythm guitar parts (courtesy of Imran Xhelili) the track takes a dramatic turn when Torres is narrating the experience of being paralyzed.
“Constellations” is a good example of how well Awake At Last can blend genres together. While the guitars speak to a heavier, more post-hardcore crowd, the vocals have more of a pop/rock vibe to them and it makes for an interesting listen.
Life/Death/Rebirth is a deep look into the possibilities of what can come next, once this life is over. More than anything, though, it reminds us that our actions have consequences. It also reminds us that, once we pass on, the legacy we leave behind is all that is left of us. Material possessions can’t be taken with us, hurtful words and actions can’t be taken back and any relationships we form (good or bad) will reflect on what is remembered of us. An explosive, theatrical take on a tough subject, Awake At Last will find a way to unlock a dark part of your mind. Pick up Life/Death/Rebirth now and experience this epic tale for yourself!