Music Review: Karnivool – Sound Awake

Got a goodie package in the mail awhile back & one of the gifts inside was the latest CD from Prog rockers Karnivool out of Perth, Australia. WOW, what a welcome feast for my eardrums!

Technically detailed, it features a multi-layered sound that I would personally describe as a mixture of Tool placed alongside the international flare of Cirque Du Soleil. One part hard rock, another part Alternative, yet often with an ambient New Age feel – I can honestly say I haven’t heard anything quite like it. Songs tend to be unpredictable, swelling, melodic and intricate – as if the band members challenged themselves to make music that was both textured and complicated. Instrumental tracks are varied with unusual sequences serving as clever explorations into tribal rhythm, pop sensibility and Enya-esque echoes.

Vocalist Ian Kenny has an absolutely amazing versatility, from softly articulated whispers to powerfully sustained wails, his unique tone lends carefully drawn sensitivity to each tune. Lead guitarist Andrew ‘Drew’ Goddard creates passages that defy easy explanation, hauntingly original & comprised of rhythmic variations that conjure images of a craftsman’s touch.

First single “Set Fire To The Hive” is a bit more driving than some of the accompanying tracks on the disc and features an interesting ‘buzzing’ guitar passage that was surprising in it’s deftness & delivery. Other songs such as ‘All I know’ and ‘Goliath’ are memorable & intriguing, like a palette of vibrant colors to be sampled but to me, the out and out favorite of the CD is the lengthier ‘New Day’. Perhaps the clearest example of this band’s potential, it’s a rising soundscape that starts out acoustically before gradually transforming into something almost orchestral before building again into a stirring sing-along.

I urge anyone who appreciates musicianship and originality to seek out the homepage or take a listen on Myspace as you will not be disappointed. But don’t blame me if the CD finds a permanent place in your car stereo.

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