Heavy Metal is normally an angry, raucous medium. It’s filled with leathered devils and demons, it’s rife with dark images and ideas. Even the fun-filled 80s were overshadowed by drugs, booze, and heartache. So it’s kind of nice that some of the “new metal” bands bring some lightness and positivity to the genre. That is squarely where Awake At Last lands. With their debut full-length album “The Change”, Awake At Last gives us lyrics that are spiritual and positive while also supplying a driving beat and slick guitar riffs.
The band, led by frontman Vincent Torres, who’s vocals fit the sound of the band to a tee, take us on a rock and roll journey that brings a much-needed message to a cynical generation. The rest of the band is made up of guitarists Imran Xhelili and Eric Blackway, bassist/vocalist Tyler Greene and drummer Jon Finney. On the surface, The Change sounds a lot like the other newer heavy metal bands offerings. But, there is more to this band. With songs like their first single “Dead Generation”, Awake At Last take a very self-reflective look at today’s youth. From the first song on the album “Welcome To Life”, with its good chorus and singing guitars to “Let Go” with its lyrical sound and synthesizers to the last track “Fallen Stars”, the band encourage us to be good to each other and ourselves while also providing a great diverse rock sound.
Borrowing, but without stealing from other newer bands (think Creed, Alter Bridge, or Asking Alexandria), Awake gives us a variety of sounds. “More Than Animals” has a very Creed type sound, where “My Enemy” has a Korn type riff. But, as always, at the crux of everything is always a positive message. The title track “The Change”, “Bigger Picture”, and “Still Breathing” all have a great sound and tremendous hooks. “Paralyzed” starts with a creepy harpsichord type sound that is then interwoven within the rest of the song. For me, the standout track though is “Unobtainable”. An earworm if I’ve ever heard one, it has a great guitar sound and riff, a stadium rock hook, and as always, that “love yourself” positivity.
Where Awake At Last lands in the jumbled and crowded metal hierarchy is yet to be seen and is ultimately up to them. But this debut effort is a strong album and gives us a message that we all may need to hear more of. They belong in the conversation with the aforementioned bands. I can’t wait to see how they grow.