For Fans Of
Upon first listen I didn’t know what to make of the new effort from All Shall Perish. Although there are still sections that mirror the break neck speeds of the band’s previous recordings, the Oakland based five-piece have (for the most part) traded in the speed of their earlier material in favour of a more down-tempo approach, one that aims to bash the listener over the head with repeated bouts of poly-rhythmic chugging rather than blast beats.
Opening salvo “When Life Meant More” shows a marked improvement in the guitar work of Chris Storey and Ben Orum, which isn’t to say that the All Shall Perish six-string duo were ever anything less than stellar, it’s just that the leads on Awaken The Dreamers rivals some of the fret-board wizardry that we’ve come to expect from bands like Beneath The Massacre, and although this particular tune does employ some foot to the floor drum patterns it’s the more sporadic beats and fills that managed to catch my attention.
As heavy as the breakdowns get, it is the melodic chord progressions of “Black Gold Reign” that really stand out… well, that and the ball grabbing (heavily reminiscent of the eighties) vocals and sweeping guitar solos, while “Never… Again” delves further into the mid-paced territory that All Shall Perish has made their way into. The clean guitar work of “The Ones We Left Behind” shows that Chris and Ben are as comfortable at the lighter end of the musical spectrum, while the album’s title track again shows traces of classic metal interwoven within ASP’s plodding sound.
Clean vocals are the order of the day in “Memories Of A Glass Sanctuary”, Herman (or Eddie, whichever you prefer) showing that he has a soft croon to match his devastating growl, the latter getting a real workout on the punishing “Stabbing To Purge Dissimilation”, all of which seems to pale in comparison to the heavy grooves and erratic tempo changes of “Gagged, Bound, Shelved And Forgotten” and “Until The End”. “From So Far Away” is a two and a half minute clinic that will have guitar nerds begging for more, the ethereal sounds of “Misery’s Introduction” making way for the record’s finale, and I can assure you that “Songs For The Damned” more than lives up to its name.
Awaken The Dreamers might not grab you as quickly as The Price Of Existence (or Hate.Malice.Revenge), however I urge you to give this record time to grow, as it’s quickly becoming one of my picks for metal album of the year.
- When Life Meant More
- Black Gold Reign
- Never… Again
- The Ones We Left Behind
- Awaken The Dreamers
- Memories Of A Glass Sanctuary
- Stabbing To Purge Dissimilation
- Gagged, Bound, Shelved And Forgotten
- Until The End
- From So Far Away
- Misery’s Introduction
- Songs For The Damned