Courtesy: Outerloop Records
Hard rock band Awake At Last has made a name for itself throughout the course of its life for presenting songs that promote positivity, spirituality and self-confidence. That trend, which the band has held over the course of two EPs, continues on the band’s full-length debut album The Change. The 12-song record presents those themes in various ways throughout the course of its 39-minute run time, complete with musical arrangements that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. From one song to the next, the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes that make up its body ensure listeners’ continued engagement. The album’s lead single ‘Dead Generation’ is just one of the songs that supports that statement. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Bigger Picture,’ which comes later in the album’s run continues to support that statement in a similar fashion. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Fallen Stars,’ the album’s closer is yet another of the album’s entries that exhibits the band’s continued themes of positivity and self-confidence. It serves just as much as ‘Dead Generation’ and ‘Bigger Picture’ to maintain listeners’ engagement. When these songs are considered along with the nine songs that make up the remainder of the record, the whole of The Change becomes a work that may well “change” the course of Awake At Last’s career to the positive.
Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong new effort from the Delaware-based hard rock outfit. It is a nearly 40-minute presentation whose themes of positivity, self-confidence and spirituality are certain to keep listeners engaged while at the same time, offering those same audiences plenty of musical entertainment and lyrical inspiration. One of the songs featured in the record’s 12-song body that serves to support those statements comes early in the record’s run in the form of ‘Dead Generation.’ The album’s lead single, it presents a musical arrangement that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Three Days Grace, Shinedown and to a lesser extent, Set It Off. That combination of influences makes the song’s musical arrangement a strong foundation for the song’s presentation. That foundation is strengthened through the social commentary presented in the song’s lyrical content.
The song’s lyrical content presents a theme of…well…making a change. It approaches the subject in this case, by forcing listeners to contemplate whether the current generation that has inherited the planet is in fact as bad off as it has been made to seem. Front man Vincent Torres delivers that message, singing in the song’s lead verse, “With every moment/We’re drifting into defeat/We keep on living a lie/Like it’s what we need/When conversation is avoided to keep the peace/The silence pulling us under will never cease.” He is saying here, that people need to stand up and speak up, rather than be passive and just let things happen. That is because if we continue to remain silent, nothing will get better in the world, rather it will do the opposite and get worse. This statement is heightened through the song’s chorus in which Torres and his band mates – Eric Blackway (guitar), Imran Xhelili (guitar) and John Finney (drums) – sing, “We beg the world to change/But fail to face it/Are we alive or a dead generation?” He is saying, we keep calling for change, but are we doing anything to back up our calls to action? As if that is not proof enough, Torres goes on in the song’s second verse, to sing, “Trapped in a moment/Perpetual hell/This life’s a coffin and we are the nails/Cut out the answers and disarm the scars/We always take, take, take/And forget who we are.” Again, here is a statement of looking at the bigger picture. We are the cause, not the effect, is essentially what Torres is saying here. We are the “nails,” the cause. We always take, take, take/And forget who we are. It’s all about us. We need to act for the bigger picture. Torres speaks in metaphors here, but it is relatively clear what he is saying. Keeping that in mind, along with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement, this first statement from the band this time out shows without doubt that noted positivity for which the band has come to be known during its life. Given it is hardly the first time that any musical act has ever presented a call to action so to speak, but it still works even in this case. In the process, it helps to establish the band’s identity and that of the album. It is just one of the album’s most standout additions. Speaking of bigger pictures, the song ‘Bigger Picture’ is another of those key additions to the record.
‘Bigger Picture’ comes late in the album’s 39-minute run time. It stands out quite starkly from its counterparts included in the album, through its musical arrangement. This song’s arrangement boasts a sound more akin to Set It Off and Fall Out Boy than the previously noted bands. What is nice is that even with those influences, the song still maintains its own identity separate from those bands’ works. That goes a long way toward making the song stand out. The song’s lyrical content, which focuses on the importance of unity and seeing the forest for the trees, adds to the foundation formed through the song’s arrangement.
The message in question is delivered as Torres sings in the song’s lead verse, “Spent some time inside my mind/And found a way to re-align/My thoughts betray me, but it’s all in my head/Life is just a tapestry and I’m just a thread.” Now this line in and of itself directly sends that message. The song’s subject looked inside, and realized he/she needed to think differently because he/she was just one part of a much bigger whole. The message continues as Torres sings, “People used to tell me ‘cause I doubted myself/Spent so much time tryin’ to be someone else/I know it’s not about me, but it’s plain to see/We’re losing ourselves to these selfish machines/Get into our bodies and out of our screens/If we’re all part of something bigger/Then I know who I am/If we’re all fragments of a picture/Then why can’t we see we’re all the same/Ignite the flame…You’re the same as you and I.” Again, here we have a message that we need to see we are all part of something much bigger and we need to think of one another instead of ourselves. Once again, this is not the first time that any band or act has ever presented such a message, but it is another message that can not be expressed enough. Rather, it is a message that sadly, must continued to be presented to a public that needs constant reminders of this issue. Keeping this in mind, this uplifting message couples with the song’s equally engaging musical arrangement to make the whole another song that shows how The Change in whole can potentially change the course of Awake At Last’s career. It is not the last of the songs that serves to support that statement, either. The song’s powerhouse finale, ‘ Fallen Stars’ is yet another way in which the album exhibits its strength.
‘Fallen Stars’ changes things up from Awake At Last in terms of its musical arrangement once again, this time moving from the emo-core sound of Fall Out Boy and Set It Off to a more aggro-rock style sound that takes listeners back to the late 90s, right down to the screaming climaxes of the verses. That sound alone serves to help the song stand out, but is just one part of what makes the song so notable. The song’s lyrical theme once again is that continued uplifting positive theme that reminds listeners to not give up even in life’s most difficult moments.
Torres reminds listeners to note give up in the song’s chorus, singing, “Sometimes we hurt/Sometimes we break/But it’s times like these/We learn to create/Everyone fails/It’s part of the plan/We have to fall/To get up again.” This is a powerful statement that is certain to inspire plenty of listeners. It is just one of the statements that will inspire listeners. He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve seen the vision/As lightning cracks the sky/I’m gonna chase this dream/But something worth having will never come easy/So I’ll take the long road/Even if I pave it on my own/’Cause when the sky falls down/the sky is quiet with the silence/We stand together united by fallen stars/We’re stronger together.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Burning image/On the canvas of our lives/We’re gonna change this scene/It’s something worth having, so it won’t be easy/But they’ll remember/How the artists took a stand/As we live and breathe/The world is quiet with our silence.” In the song’s finale, he adds, “We stand together united by fallen stars/So let the darkness divide us/Remember who we are/Brave the weather/We’re stronger together/Everything comes crashing down around us/Like a phoenix we’re reborn from the ashes.” Once again, here is that message of perseverance and positivity coupled with the continued theme of unity, much as is presented in so many of the album’s other songs. It is just another way in which the album’s lyrical content continues the themes presented in the band’s currently available two EPs. Those themes are continued throughout the rest of the album’s entries, too, in even more diverse fashion. That diversity in the delivery of the band’s positive messages and the power in the album’s musical arrangements makes the album in whole a positive debut for Awake At Last; a debut that could create a positive change for the band itself.
Awake At Last’s debut full-length studio recording The Change is a strong offering from the up-and-coming hard rock outfit. As has been noted in this review, the positive lyrical themes presented in the band’s currently available EPs are continued throughout this record in various ways. The musical arrangements that accompany those positive messages do just as much to make the album a success. When they are coupled together and considered from the album’s opening to its end, the album in whole proves to be a record that could change the course of Awake At Last’s life in a good way. It is scheduled for release June 21 through Outerloop Records. More information on the album is available online now along with all of Awake At Last’s latest news and more at:
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