Karnivool: Sound Awake

If there is one modern progressive rock band has a real chance to break into the mainstream, it’s Australia’s Karnivool. One of the most popular rock acts in their native country, the band has only recently begun garnering a U.S. fan base, captivating listeners with their unique, panoramic sound.

There are no major changes in the overall sound of Karnivool’s first full-length, 2005’s Themata and Sound Awake. The overriding mood is still basically the same, which in this case, is indicative of the band developing their signature sound early in their career, rather than of having nothing new to offer.

Karnivool still utilizes spacey, odd meter grooves with detuned and reverb laden guitars that constantly teeter on the edge of a glorious Meshuggah-esque sequence of dissonant breakdowns. They refrain from crushing skulls, however, in favor of brightening them instead, letting their glittering melodies trip outward into distant, still unexplored regions of space, narrated by singer Ian Kenny’s crystal clear voice.

Sound Awake is another striking release by a band whose incredible sense of composition and musicianship is mature beyond their years. Slower and more experimental than Themata, this latest effort is just as mesmerizing with plenty of appeal to fans of mainstream rock, psychedelic/progressive rock and heavy metal.

In A Word: Transcendental