AWAKE – Illumination

AWAKE - Illumination
  • 7/10
    AWAKE - Illumination - 7/10


Lion Music
Release date: June 15, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

With Illumination, British Prog-standouts Awake are in for their first album under a whole new moniker. From the years 2000 to 2006, the band was known as Humanity and offered an internationally well-acclaimed debut in “When Silence Calls On You” three years ago.

But, as the history board on the website says: “Disaster struck in 2005”! Their previous and home-based label Carbon 13 Records was sent into oblivion by its managers, leaving the young band without a deal. Despising the hard blow in the guts, its members went on. In 2006, band manager Keith Bryant, who had already worked with such bands like AC/DC and Napalm Death, contacted Evergrey mastermind Tom Englund, who decided to produce the most recent album Illumination.

And so, you could call it a logical conclusion, that this silver-plated struggles between being a homage to Evergrey and keeping its own identity. Contradicting on the opener “Disbelief,” Awake are trying to make you a strong believer right away, that they like the music of Swedish fellows Evergrey. The parallels (you just cannot fight the impression of Englund donating Evergrey-B-Side-material) on the first song are so evident, you have to compare the Progressive rockers from the isle to those from Scandinavia. Instrumentally they seem to send out identical waves, but the Evergerey-ish style of singing doesn’t suite Simon Shedwell’s vocal chords very well.

You’ll be pleased by the change of attitude presented in the second song “Retribution.” Thundering riffs, Oriental flavor, and scents of musical identity make this one a burner. Despite being very solid and shipping to Evergrey-ish shores again, number three “Crime Of Passion” can’t keep up the pace. The attitude shifts again.

A quote from song number four “Choices In Time” says: “You won’t drag me down with you.” Well, besides the heavily melancholic atmosphere created by this piece, it’s not dragging the listener convincingly downwards, but making his head nod to the beat and melody of the gorgeous chorus lines.

“Choice In Time” clearly represents the strongest part of this album right along with the following ballad “Begin Again.” Two mediocre pieces follow, of which “Dream Within” holds the apparent upside.

“Illumination” is a very Progressive piece that combines the spell of the 80s (especially discovered in the keyboards) with scents of future. The concluding pieces “Forgiven Now Forever,” “My Last Goodbye,” and “Shadows” make you wonder what the band tried to do on the opener. All parallels to Englund’s Evergrey completely have vanished and leave a group with a gorgeous feeling for musical compositions.

How are you goin’ to rate such an album that, to say it with Zakk Wylde’s words, stands “somewhere between heaven & hell?” There is an evident downside to the album, the but(s) are various, but (again a contradiction) the upside, consisting in beautiful melodies and a “knack” for songwriting, is clearly overmatching all negative aspects.


  • Christian Mannsbart

    Christian was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Würzburg, Germany. His brother introduced him to Heavy Metal. Ronnie James Dio’s Holy Diver made a big impression on him right from the beginning, and he has kept bangin' from the age of ten. He also plays the guitar from time to time.

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