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Awaken the Dreamers is an earnest attempt to smother the chugging fundamentals of its medium into something so heavily glazed with ideas that it would impossible for me to dislike it; even if I face the nagging realization that, stripped bare of its melodies or 'toppings', I'd be left with one boring pizza pie of slogging palm-muted grooves that add absolutely nothing of value to the deathcore spectrum. That goddamn awful logo unfortunately remains on the cover, almost like a reminder of the ghetto brickwork 90s mosh mentality All Shall Perish seems to consciously or unconsciously champion despite its more musical leanings, but otherwise I'd have to say I enjoyed the artwork more than their other efforts, with its (literally) six-gunning Statue of Liberty and the symmetric clouds of jet fighters that flank it. If only the middle of the picture was vomited upon by this generic relic of a logo, we'd be in business at last...
Musically, though, All Shall Perish and I are just about to seal the deal, our right hands skin on skin without yet giving a firm shake. The effort put into this record is laudable, despite its faults, which almost all center on the continued overuse of warlike Earth Crisis chugging rhythms that structurally go nowhere interesting. It wouldn't be difficult for musicians of this caliber to find a solution...for instance, kicking the bland chords or adding some dissonance second and third notes to the palm mutes, you'd instantly get something deeper than the deathcore (and previously metalcore) breakdown status quo. Fortunately, the guitarists compensate with a bewildering amount of higher string exercises that range from modern Swedish melodeath sequences, or tapping patterns that often remind me of 8-bit video game classics if they were being arpeggiated by crack whore shredders, or just flashy scale-work that just seems to fit over the banal foundation well enough that you, as the listener, can consign the rhythm guitars to another piece of the percussion kit. Which I think was the Californians' intent, to continue pushing themselves without alienating the fistfighting anthems that spurred on its original audience.
There are slick, jazzy breaks, and segues where All Shall Perish seem to flirt with metal inspirations of a more progressive nature, but to be honest these often feel like they're just abrupt transitions in which they're attempting to throw a surprise left hook at you when they really need a more impactful uppercut. Don't get me wrong: it's a joy that they see fit to expand themselves without losing that violent core, but occasionally these metalcore/deathcore groups seem as if they've just put together their tracks piecemeal, and even on this solid album you could probably switch off a lot of the riffs and breaks between different songs and come up with a similar result. It's more modular than built of strong individual songs, and so there aren't a lot that I found enjoying in full...I simply could pick out a lot of smaller passages within them that were pretty cool, and yes many of those were melodies or leads. The bass playing continues to count here, with loads of groovy fills in tunes like the title cut that keep the music multi-faceted without detracting from the busyness of the guitars. Matt Kukyendall's last studio performance with the band is likewise fit: flawless footwork, no shortage of fills and a clean capacity to match the jazzier tempo shifts that populate the experience.
As for Hermida's performance, it's pretty much on par with the sophomore album, only he brings in some cleaner emotional vocals that remain fortunately subdued rather than reaching for that radio accessibility so many of these bands shot themselves in the arse for. I was quite shocked to hear Cam Pipes of 3 Inches of Blood add some screaming harmonies to "Black Gold Reign". I am nowhere near a fan of that band, who I find to be corny, ironic and not the least bit funny...but even I have to admit that in this context, it creates a more compelling texture against the expected chugging of the rhythm guitar, and I almost wished that they would have used him more throughout. That said, Hermida himself continues to show some promise as he continues to evolve towards that status of 'distinct deathcore frontman' (which sadly it seems he will be cultivating further in another band). The lyrics are admittedly the bland, personal stuff you'd expect out of 90% of 90s hardcore, nu-metal and so forth, eliciting zero curiosity and painfully little standout imagery that you couldn't find on even the least interesting Converge record, but the delivery is at least genuine.
I really enjoyed the 'experimentation' like the lush ambient/acoustic guitar pieces "Misery's Introduction", "The Ones We Left Behind", or "Memories of a Glass Sanctuary" (with vocals!), which flow surprisingly well into their more brutal neighbors, but I don't think in the end I came away from Awaken the Dreamers with the impression that it was a truly memorable outing...just a damn polished one that plainly exhibits a mutual musical advancement among the membership and a willingness to embrace external ideas without shafting those that have stuck with them since the beginning. Aesthetically I prefer the more clinical/brutal death metal exhibition that Job for a Cowboy utilized on some of their full-lengths, as a poster child for positive growth in this field, but as much as anyone might want to write off All Shall Perish as another 'me too' band that was signed to a large label based on the emergent deathcore trend, records like The Price of Existence and Awaken the Dreams proved that these gentlemen were absolutely not duds. Relegated at large to the 'second string' of the niche, perhaps, but I'd attribute that more to them lacking the emo-hipster-youth attuned art direction and rock star attractiveness that several of their peers flaunted to reap the admiration of the girls and bois in the audience. Musically, these Californians are on point, and even better than some of the shitty, overhyped acts in their medium.
When bands tend to combine sub genre's the outcome is usually good and has some impact. All Shall Perish has done this with Deathcore and Melodic Death Metal and they have created a masterpiece of a third album. 'Awaken the Dreamers' is a fantastic release that I personally enjoy as the band still stick to their Deathcore sound but have taken a more melodic approach.
The songs are usually a mixture of both of the sub genre's, with song's such as 'When Life Meant More' and 'Awaken the Dreamers' combining the two to create powerful music. However, some songs will stick to the more melodic side such as 'Memories of a Glass Sanctuary and 'From So Far Away' while others will keep to the crushing brutality of the Deathcore part of the band with songs such as 'Stabbing to Purge Dissimulation' and 'Gagged, Bound, Shelved and Forgotten', which gives the album a nice mixture of tracks to keep it both fresh and entertaining.
The riffs that are in some songs are mind blowing and the solo's are works of art, which shows Chris Storey's talent as a guitarist, especially in the title track 'Awaken the Dreamers' which is a personal favourite. Each riff has been crafted carefully to give them much more of an impact and it's worked nicely in my opinion.
Giving more praise to the song 'Awaken the Dreamers', the bass licks are ridiculously technical and catchy. The bass on most the album is never in the background as well and will tend to stand out now and then, which as a bassist I really approve of as most modern metal bassists will stay in the background and next to no contribution.
Hernan Hermida as a vocalist is amazing, especially with his mixture of growls and cleans, with one 'tribute' to Rob Halford in 'Black Gold Reign' with a Priest-esque high pitch scream. Lyrics are also very powerful and makes you sit down and actually analyse them and think about them, which is another bonus.
Drumming is ridiculous, with a very heavy use of triplets and some technical drumming. Blast beats aren't too common and only appear on a couple of tracks but when they do, they are excellent and help make that track more enjoyable.
Overall, All Shall Perish have created something that is an assault to both the eardrums and the mind with this beautifully crafted work of art that is 'Awaken the Dreamers'. There will never be an album like this again and has put All Shall Perish in the same category with the other modern Death Metal bands such as Arsis that are the most powerful in the genre.
+'When Life Meant More'
+'Awaken the Dreamers'
+'Memories of a Glass Sanctuary'
+'Stabbing to Purge Dissimulation'
+'Gagged, Bound, Shelved and Forgotten'
+'From So Far Away'
+'Songs for the Damned'
The third full-length record from All Shall Perish has impressed me greatly. For starters, I can't say this record is held back by filler tracks like The Price of Existence. Awaken the Dreamers takes everything about All Shall Perish and ups the ante, furthering their noise and forming it into something definitive, natural, and above all, meaningful. The lyrical themes touch upon betrayal and the impact of death, which really hits home when presented in this form.
The vocals still retain their interesting fusion styles, but this time around, they add in another one: Halford. That's right; it's very prominent in the second track "Black Gold Reign", which, besides being awesome, is a very meaningful song. I really dig the vocal styles, s well as the increased technicality in the guitar sounds. The drums sound more refined than ever - a logical progression - but show little other change from their last record. In some ways, this is a good thing: the drumwork was very good in their last album, and I have no complaints with the drums of Dreamer.
The record also includes three instrumentals, which help to set the mood for a morose night. The first one, "For the Ones We Left Behind", has a definitive '50s postmortem mourning feel to it, and it lends well to the title track, which is masterfully crafted itself. Possibly my biggest surprise was the presence of clean vocals in the title track and the follow-up song, "Memories of a Glass Sanctuary". The best part about All Shall Perish is the experimentation factor. It helps set this band aside from the rest of death metal, and they really deserve props, because they pull it off very well. Nothing in this album feels particularly forced - even the slow, solemn works like "Memories of a Glass Sanctuary" feel natural and very emphatic. This might alarm some fans who haven't listened to this record yet, but I don't view them as going soft. In fact, their other tracks off the record are the heaviest off of all their albums so far. They're maturing as a band, and it's coming along quite nicely through all their hard work at the splendid experimentation with new techniques and the refinement of their old ones.
"Gagged, Bound, Shelved, and Forgotten" is definitely an album highlight. Its use of incredible guitar and mastery of the vocals is just awe-inspiring. The next track, "From So Far Away", is another instrumental that works excellently as a mood-setter for the next track, "Until the End". This instrumental-into-full song is repeated with "Misery's Introduction" and album closer "Songs for the Damned." The closing song is just incredible, and in many ways, I wish they pulled out the six-minute-plus track length with this one. Its use of the whole band's talents has been high throughout the album, but only now, in the ending point of this amazing record, do I see them utilising their full power. It's such an epic release, Dreamers is, that it sets a new bar for Perish - a bar that I hope they opt to shatter with This is Where it Ends, their fourth and upcoming studio album.
1.) Black Gold Reign
2.) Memories of a Glass Sanctuary
3.) From So Far Away
4.) Gagged, Bound, Shelved, and Forgotten
5.) Songs for the Damned
All Shall Perish have gotten plenty of hatred from deathcore diehards for getting rid of the br00tality they had on “The Price of Existence” and even on their rough debut album, “Deconstruction” (and by brutality, they mean incessant breakdowns and really really fast songs). But these deathcore diehards are retarded. Br00tality doesn’t make an album, musicianship does. And All Shall Perish have indeed stepped up their musicianship since their last effort, getting rid of a lot of the brutality for the sake of brutality, and putting in the brutality where it actually fits. In addition, the quality of the musicianship has gotten even tighter, as the band works together really well and the individual musicians display their individual skills well too.
Before I begin to analyze the music, I’d like to counter the criticism All Shall Perish have gotten for having predominantly slow songs on this album. By “slow”, the critics mean slower than 200 bpm. But these people don’t realize that tempo and speed of a song, while related, are not mutually exclusive. There can still be really fast riffs and shredding in what the critics are calling “slow songs”, as shown in the very first track on the album, “When Life Meant More...”. While parts of the song are as slow as, say, 120 bpm, there are still fast riffs, and plenty of shredding. For some reason, these people don’t understand that (in addition to the fact that speed and tempo are not the same thing) SPEED DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT A SONG IS GOOD, GODDAMIT. It doesn’t even mean that a song is br00tal. How these people can’t get it through their thick heads astounds me, especially as they declare bands like Whitechapel and Oceano to be br00tal when these same bands have nowhere near the same skill or brutality as All Shall Perish does. Honestly, if a sludge band made a fast song for once, would that make them not sludge? No. It’s the same principle that upholds All Shall Perish’s brutality even as they make slower songs. And also – 160 is not by any means “slow”. It’s just slower than a lot of the songs on “The Price of Existence” were. I guess that’s the biggest problem the fans have: they were expecting “Awaken the Dreamers” to be just a counterpart of the previous release. But it’s not; it’s a completely different release that fully explores the experimentation deathcore bands can take while still staying brutal enough, at least for anyone with any sense. So these people should stop bitching about how the only fast song is “Stabbing to Purge Dissumulation”, because a. it’s not and b. it doesn’t change the value and excellence of this album.
Personally, I view it as a relief that All Shall Perish have mostly got rid of teh_br00talz. I have never and hope to never enjoy gratuitous breakdowns like the ones on “The Price of Existence”, and personally felt that they greatly diminished the value and enjoyability of the album despite the excellence of the musicianship. While there are indeed plenty of breakdowns on this album, they’re (in general) used well; they’re not slopped in after breakneck speed riffs (listen to “Eradication” from the last album). In fact, though the morons referred to in the previous paragraph don’t realize it, there is probably a similar amount of breakdowns on this album as there were on the last album. However, because the songs have slower tempos in general, this makes it far easier for the band to throw in breakdowns without them seeming jarring and out of place, and thus increases the effectiveness of the breakdowns. I’m always hesitant to bang my head to a randomly thrown in breakdown, because I feel really stupid doing it to something so obviously out of place. But on this album, I don’t feel bad headbanging to the breakdowns because they actually work, and are tied in really well with the songs themselves. In addition, the band has incorporated a lot of experimentation inside their breakdowns so that they’re not just straight CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG *pinch harmonic* CHUG (listen to “Never...Again” or the title to hear some of what I’m talking about). There is a use of clean guitars and major modes that goes beyond a single riff or passage, even during breakdowns (“Black Gold Reign”). There’s also a really excellent juxtaposition of clean guitar on top of dissonance – listen to the end of “Black Gold Reign”. In addition, there are even some nice sweeps and solos thrown into some breakdowns, which adds variety. For example, a casual listener might not notice, but the majority of the soloing in the title track is done over a breakdown. In general, the songwriting on this album is more cohesive than it has been in the past. The guitars and bass intertwine more fully, trading riffs, which they haven’t done before. The vocalist even attempts to match up some of this in select songs like the great “Black Gold Reign”.
The guitar work chiefly comes in four categories on this album: clean, chug, shred, and tech riffs. To be honest? I appreciate the experimentation of the clean tracks like “Memories of a Glass Sanctuary”, but these songs don’t really work very well when they come after or before heavy songs. The clean sections work a lot better when they’re mixed with the heaviness, which is quite unexpected and refreshing to listen to. I’ve never been a big chugging fan (Meshuggah excluded), and while this album doesn’t really do anything to change my mind, it’s executed far better than it was in other deathcore releases. It certainly doesn’t help this album too much except when it’s used in really good breakdowns, but it doesn’t drop the rating too low either – it’s just that Ben Orum and Chris Storey can do so much more than chug, so they should. Which, fortunately, they do, over plenty of this album. The shredding on this album is phenomenal on the whole, although Chris has definitely hit a I-want-to-be-just-like-Rusty-Cooley phase, which kind of gets wanky and boring on tracks like “From So Far Away”. But tracks like “Black Gold Reign” and “Never...Again” have fantastic solos, laden with tapping and intricate sweeps. The last category of guitar work is technical riffs, which are really, really awesome and are completely different form the technical riffing displayed on previous albums. Melody has become a central part of the riffing on this album – just listen to the title track, whose main riff is a blistering series of melodic runs. Unfortunately, the band has, in general, dropped their technique of “tremolo tapping” with the exclusion of a couple sections on "Gagged, Bound, Shelved, and Forgotten", and I definitely miss it. But the rest of the tech riffing replaces it without a problem. In addition to this stuff, there’s the usual deathcore selection of dissonance, tremolo-picked riffs, and arpeggios, all of which contributes to the quality of the album.
Since I just wrote another review for Daath’s “The Concealers”, it’s very satisfying to write that, unlike that band, All Shall Perish’s vocalist has not dropped behind while his band progressed, and that he’s picked up the slack as well. Yes, to annoy the br00tal kids, the pig squeals are gone, but I really don’t see how anyone can honestly complain about missing pig squeals. They really don’t do anything at all for the music, are horrible for the vocalist, and sound bizarre. Eddie was right to replace them with a textured mixture of death growls/grunts, and high screams. The metal styled vocals are expertful, and carry power across a lot of range. Just listen with headphones, one earpiece at a time, to “Stabbing to Purge Dissimulation” at 1:55 to hear the pure power of his midrange and highs. These are also double-tracked very well. The vocalist doesn’t sound double-tracked like Glen Benton, but it’s still excellent. Eddie even tosses in some clean vocals throughout the album. I haven’t heard many deathcore bands incorporate cleans into their music without being criticized for being metalcore, but the cleans on this album are certainly not – they just add a unique flavor to the release. They are randomly tossed in throughout the album, and, unlike randomly thrown in breakdowns, these work really well. Eddie even attempts to sing an entire song, “Memories of a Glass Sanctuary”. It’s a noble effort, even though it doesn’t do much for the album. But seriously, that Halford falsetto from 1:40 to 1:43 in “Black Gold Reign” is priceless. How many deathcore bands incorporate that? Correct, none. The vocals on this album are great.
The drumming on “Awaken the Dreamers” is more than competent, and is really an awesome display of various techniques and skills. Plenty of double bass, but not to the point where it becomes obnoxious. In general, everything seems to be in the right place; there aren’t any places where I think “Oh god, why did he blast beat there???”. Speaking of blast beats, there are less of them than on earlier albums, but still plenty. There is instead a newfound emphasis on tom fills, which either I haven’t noticed on previous ASP releases or just wasn’t there on previous releases. Either way, I think it’s pretty cool.
At least I can hear the bass on this one in most circumstances. While there isn’t a ton of bass presence, there’s enough for him to make sure that his skills are properly shown (check out the tapping on the title track), although I’m fairly sure that the bass is just following the rhythm guitar in most cases. Great bass tone too, nice and punchy without distortion! There are a few keyboards tossed in here and there on the clean tracks, but these don’t really do much to the album as a whole seeing as the keyboard sections take up maybe 2 minutes of total time on this album. I also really like the production on this album. The bass drum has a really nice tone, and so does the snare (no St. Anger here) – in fact, the whole drum setup sounds quite nice, as it’s punchy as well as tight, providing for heaviness in addition to resonance and reverberations. The guitar tone is nice too; there’s plenty of gain, treble, and bass, none of which sound like they’re dimed on the recording. The solo sound is really, really smooth in addition to having plenty of distortion.
The structure on this album is a bit jarring. The slow, clean tracks mashed right into the heavy tracks really doesn’t work that well, and I personally think the album would have benefitted from their removal, or at least that the album wouldn’t have suffered had those tracks been removed. However, the fact that this album is only 36 minutes does have a negative effect – the whole damn thing plays like an EP. After the last song, which happened to be the 12th track, I was expecting another few heavy song and maybe another slow clean one. Just because these songs have slower tempos doesn’t mean that they’re longer. I really wish the band had added a few more songs in place of the clean ones, because I feel unfulfilled after listening to this; I expected more in terms of quantity (though not quality).
In general, this album has proven several things to me and hopefully, though probably not, to the critics. First off, that a lack of br00tality doesn’t mean that an album isn’t brutal. Second, that tempo and speed are not the same thing, and that speed and brutality don’t rely on each other. Third, that All Shall Perish is still brutal – just not br00tal. And that’s a good thing, because the band has sacrificed their br00tality (in the form of excess pig squealing and breakdowns) in exchange for experimentation and excellent work as a band. Definitely check this one out if you like deathcore, as you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the way that the album flows and the way the band experiments with various techniques in addition to the bountiful technicality and musical skill displayed by the band.
Suggestions for a quick listen: "Black Gold Reign", "Awaken the Dreamers"
Awaken the Dreamers (2008) is a great album. With this release, All Shall Perish is back and better than ever. Before I get into the music, there is just one thing I want to set strait: A lot of people don't like deathcore, and that's okay. However, this CD deserves a listen whether you are a fan of the genre or not. All Shall Perish has taken deathcore to the next level with this release, and their musical style has evolved a lot since their last two albums. This evolution in sound is a very good thing.
“When Life Meant More” kicks it off. Wow, the first thing I noticed is that the guitar riffs are five times more technical and five times as fast. Chris Storey really tears it up all throughout the album. The vocals are as brutal as ever, and it seems as if his range has greatly improved since their last release... A wicked bass line transitions into the second track “Black Gold Reign.” It's as if this track is the band's way of saying that each and every member is ready to kick more ass than they ever have before. First of all, the drumwork is so powerful. As I said already, the band's sound has evolved a lot, and this is a great song to show this. Starting at about 1:35 in, Hernan Hermida, or Eddie displays some sick vocal skills with a power-metal-esque vocal passage that is actually pretty exciting to hear. This song also includes a killer guitar solo and a slower section which is interesting.
Speaking of which, another good thing about this CD is the greater amount of guitar solos and shred. For example, the title track is an intense shred fest. It's also has some of the catchiest parts on the album and has a pretty epic feel to it. The band has also cut down on the use of breakdowns, and the breakdowns they still have are interesting and sound great. Another thing that is really different about this album is that the band devotes 1/3 of the tracks to interludes. At first, I was turned away by this, but after listening to the album all the way through I began to realize that these interludes do two things that enhance the album. First of all, they're beautiful. Secondly, they really keep the flow of the album, making it's unfortunately short play time seem even shorter. “Stabbing to Purge Assimilation” is another great song and a great follow-up to the beautiful interlude: “Memories of a Glass Sanctuary.”
Yes, the band has come along way from where they started, but they have always been and still are a group of talented people who push deathcore to it's limits and make great music. Whether you are a fan of the band, or a first time listener, Awaken the Dreamers (2008) won't disappoint.
I'd like to start out by saying that I'm a huge All Shall Perish fan. I consider "The Price of Existence" a damn-near masterpiece. That being said, I had huge hopes for this album, and all of them were summarily dashed. This album is nothing that TPOE was. Sure, the heaviness is there and sure, they've bumped up the "shred" factor. But in the end, all it results in is a lifeless, boring shred fest over breakdowns. The band has progressed technically, but sacrificed all semblance of song writing. To break it down? There are 12 tracks on this album. 4 of which are interludes, another 4 consist of nothing but breakdown beats with varying solos and "melodic" sections over the top, while never rising above 70bpm (literally) and the other 4 are made up of 2 riffs and then breakdowns with sweeps over them. This is not a "masterpiece of complex technical metal that will revolutionise the industry". This is a boring, uninspired, stock, generic waste of time. I'm so sad to see one of my favourite bands go downhill so far.
Eddie's vocals are the only real continuing quality from the last album, expanding on his already formidable vocal talents with some cleans and even a power metal-usque scream in "Black Gold Reign". His lyrics remain interesting. Not great, but above average. During "Songs for the Damned" however, he slips in a few classic phrases that any metal head will get a chuckle at. Including;
"Our...black metal hearts drown in black water parks/Damnation...delivered us back to the start/Are my arms your hearse if these metaphors stop?"
Compared to ASP's other albums, this is a step back on so many levels. The passion is gone and the music is dull. I saw this for sale in my local CD store, and I picked it up, stared at it for a few minutes, sighed, shook my head and put it back on the shelf. It's not worth the money. Save your cash and got get "The Price of Existence", you won't regret it. The album got an extra 15 for Eddie's vocal talent. It's just not worth your time in the end.
Since the beginning, All Shall Perish have been an intense, hard-hitting deathcore band, always on the cutting-edge in terms of musical ability and talent. Each of their albums has been an onslaught of intense breakdowns, insane solos, and ridiculously fast drumming, all of this topped with some of the most intense growling vocals I've ever heard in deathcore. And their latest album, Awaken The Dreamers, has not strayed far from the high reputation All Shall Perish has made for themselves.
First things first, this album has MUCH less hardcore influence than ASP's previous albums, which is a very good thing. Way too many bands have been using and abusing breakdowns and pig-squeals lately, which can be nice, but get old FAST. On Awaken The Dreamers, pig-squeals have been eliminated completely, and breakdowns have been kept to a minimum. And the few breakdowns that are still there are innovative, insane, and most importantly, INTERESTING. Unlike the typical chugga-chugga breakdowns with faggy hardcore screams, the ones on Awaken The Dreamers feature very complex rhythms, often alternating panned guitars, always-changing drums, and vocals that actually sound good.
But beyond the breakdowns, this album has much more variety than ASP's previous releases. This album has everything a death metal lover could ask for, from the constant insanity of "Stabbing to Purge Dissimulation" and "When Life Meant More" to the beautiful melodic lines and excellent guitarwork of "Awaken The Dreamers" and "Songs For The Damned." All in all, this album is a constant barrage of insanity that will keep you coming back for more.
But although this album is full of brutality, there are four, yes that's right, FOUR interludes/instrumentals/quieter songs. Usually, one, MAYBE two interludes is more than enough for a metal album, especially one of this caliber, but All Shall Perish has done a very good job with them, to say the least. "The Ones We Left Behind" and "Misery's Introduction" are both short, purely atmospheric songs, as expected of interludes. "Memories Of A Glass Sanctuary," however, is a full-length slow song, which is beautifully done, and although it is extremely different from the rest of the album, is still a good listen, and a very well-done song. "From So Far Away," on the other hand, is pretty much a 2 2/3 minute guitar solo. And a DAMN good one at that. Chris Storey has improved so much since their last album, and he deserves a song to show off his skills.
So to conclude, Awaken The Dreamers is an extremely solid release from a very prominent band, and is definitely worth checking out, even for non-fans of deathcore. All Shall perish has changed greatly since The Price Of Existence, and I must say it has been for the better. Awaken The Dreamers is a perfect blend of insanity, intensity and brutality, with a touch of melody that puts it easily in my top 5 albums of all time.
Review originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
There’s been somewhat of a negative buzz about this album for sometime time now, so I thought, as a huge fan of The Price of Existence (my #1 album of 2006) I’d better look into it and see what all the negativity was about and see if it was warranted based on a couple of tracks at the band’s myspace page.
Folks, Awaken the Dreamers is to All Shall Perish is The Black album was to Metallica. That’s to say it will divide fans, expose the band to a larger fan base, but at the same time, it’s also a brave and trend ignoring album that the band wanted to do. Yes, it’s more commercial. Yes, it’s got more ballads and interludes. Yes, it has less breakdowns, less blast beats and more melody and clean vocals. However, like The Black album, it’s expertly composed, confidently played and has enough All Shall Perish-isms (sweep arpeggios, a few breakdowns, etc) and standout songs to still have appeal to the unwashed spin kicking masses, though there’s a lot fewer opportunities to do so. For a reference point, take “The Last Relapse” from The Price of Existence. As this album seems to take off where that song left off as far as a more controlled, melodic, and introspective approach.
On the down side to most fans will be the fact that, of the 13 songs, 4 some sort of interlude, ballad, or instrumental (”The Ones We Left Behind”, “Memories Of A Glass Sanctuary”, “From So Far Away”, “Misery’s Introduction”), that are sure to turn off most of the band’s deathcore fanbase. Again, like The Black album, though the ballads may be the most controversial, attention getting facets of the album, and ultimately people will overlook the truly brilliant songs that are also on the album. While fans were bitching about “The Unforgiven” and “Nothing Else Matters”, they were overlooking killer tracks like “Don’t Tread On Me”, “Of Wolf and Man” and such.
In the case of Awaken the Dreamers, the album has some truly killer but atypical tracks. For example, the simply killer, arpeggio filled “Black Gold Reign” might be my favorite ASP track behind “We Hold These Truths”, and signals the use of the much ballyhooed Rob Halford-ish croons. “Never Again” is a churning slow burner before the much maligned title track kicks in, a track I actually think is one of the albums strongest and more epic moments even with its clean chorus climax, as it shows a much more mature and open minded All Shall Perish. The busy “Until the End” is deathcore gone prog metal and somber closer “Songs For the Damned” is yet another slower, clean vocal laced, more controlled All Shall Perish spreading their talented wings above and beyond breakdowns and ripped off At the Gates riffs. Fear not though die-hard fans, tracks like “When Life Meant More”, “Stabbing to Purge Dissimulation”, “Gagged, Bound, Shelved and Forgotten” are blistering, more typical, expected All Shall Perish, but frankly, with the saturation of the genre, they are a dime a dozen tracks.
As you’d expect everything is wrapped in a tight, polished Zach Ohren production making the new elements easier to swallow for die-hards. But it won’t change the fact this is an ambitious album that will challenge the bands fan base. Is Awaken the Dreamers as good as The Price of Existence? I can say ‘no’ for right now, but not without some degree of doubt because it’s a superb album in its own right and essentially a different beast from The Price of Existence from band that’s not afraid to throw a wrench into the works of their genres tried an tested elements. For that I have to give All Shall Perish my respect, just not a slot on my year end list just yet, as this is definitely a grower, thats still growing with each listen
No need to go into great detail about who All Shall Perish are. What you should know is that they were one of the first bands to start playing deathcore, which means before the trend hopping started. They're also one of the few bands in the genre who are still releasing quality material.
Awaken the Dreamers is clocked full of tight riffs and execellent song writing. Gone are the days of "Hate.Malice.Revenge" which was filled with slam and groove type death metal riffs. All Shall Perish have now fully embraced the sound they started on "The Price of Existance", balls to the wall technicality. For everyone that wasn't sure on Eddie replacing Craig after "Malice", let's say you can stop worrying. Not only are his screams and growls more versatile than on "Price of Existance" but he has also incorporated some fabulous singing. On "Black Gold Reign" he teases us with some falsetto vocals, sounding extremely power metalish. I say teasing because that is sadly the only time you hear them. "Memories of A Glass Sanctuary" kicks in and whats this? Clean singing? Acoustics? On a deathcore record? Get out of here. Yes, yes, yes and no. They sound wonderful and hopefully we can hear more in the future. Eddie ends up sounding identical to Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth, halfway through "Memories" which really suprised me. You need not worry about his clean singing.
Now, we can't let Eddie get all the praise for this record. Chris and Beniko also sound better than ever. The solos (which there is a lot more of) don't sound like your typical -core solos. They wouldn't be out of place on a Necrophagist album with tons of sweep picking involved. The interludes provide relaxing moments for the listener and let Chris and Beniko show off their talent even more. Matt is probably one of my favorite drummers of all time. He knows when the fuck to sound loud and angry "Never... Again" and he knows when the fuck to stay calm "Awaken the Dreamers." One thing I noticed is that you can actually hear the symbols, something most deathcore bands don't do.
If you're looking a good deathcore album to get into the genre than look no further than "Awaken the Dreamers". Most likely the best -core album released this year as well.
Iâ€™ve been very cautious when it comes to deathcore. I was a little disenfranchised with the metalcore movement and by the looks of the general direction that deathcore is moving; I am going to continue to be cautious with my purchases within this genre too. Unfortunately, this cautiousness may lead to missing out on some of the better bands within the genre too. All Shall Perish falls into the latter.
I had heard of the band prior to listening to their latest album, â€œAwaken the Dreamersâ€, but had never given them the chance due to their genre specifications. That was my mistake. Of all of the deathcore bands that I have heard in the last few years, â€œAwaken the Dreamersâ€ easily makes it on my list of the best albums. All Shall Perish refuse to fall into a rut anywhere on the album and it pays off.
Combining elements of death metal, hardcore, and modern metal with a hefty dose of melody doesnâ€™t necessarily sound like the most appealing metal meal I could eat, but â€œAwaken the Dreamersâ€ presents it so full heartedly that I felt obliged to taste. The band never ceases to progress on the album from the first track to the last. Normally I feel breakdowns and constant stop-and-go riffing can destroy any energy a band creates, but songs like â€œNeverâ€¦Againâ€ or â€œGagged, Bound, Shelved and Forgottenâ€ use it in fluid manners to keep the energy moving back and forth. Something that many deathcore bands forget in their quest to be the heaviest riff writers.
Not to mention I think their melodic work adds a new level to a genre that is becoming stale. The melodic melancholy of â€œMemories of a Glass Sanctuaryâ€ feels right at home even if it is an odd choice of track for a deathcore band. And itâ€™s not just the guitar work that brings in the melody. Vocalist, Eddie Hermida, uses great vocal melodies to counter act his brutal barking style.
The bandâ€™s performances and endless pushing of songwriting and balancing of brutality and melody are something I havenâ€™t ever heard of from a deathcore band. Possibly itâ€™s my unfamiliarity with the genre in any extensive manner, but All Shall Perish creates a very interesting and spicy album with â€œAwaken the Dreamersâ€. Itâ€™s fresh, furious, and smooth all at the same time with no lingering sour after taste.
Songs to check out: â€œBlack Gold Reignâ€, â€œAwaken the Dreamersâ€, â€œGagged, Bound, Shelved and Forgottenâ€.
Originally written for http://www.metal-observer.com