|A Wanted Awakening|
Screwing up its debut recording was one of the best things A Wanted Awakening did.
“That EP was a failed project,” says AWA guitarist John Tree of the band’s “From the Ruins” release. “We got preoccupied with thinking about what we thought people wanted to hear, and we ended up putting out a crappy product.”
The band learned a lesson about staying true to itself and the results can be heard on “Catharsis,” the new A Wanted Awakening full-length. The album is frenetic, generating its creative tension by blurring boundaries between death-core and prog-rock.
Tree points to “Flameborn,” a song the band released on the “Rebirth” download last year and included on the new album, as the beginning AWA’s fresh direction. The song is wild stylistic romp that challenges the players to stay on track as they move from spastic heaves to an acoustic-guitar interlude and back into an electric blowout.
The Lowell-based 5-piece obviously attacked this project with a bit of grand design in mind. “Final Ascent” is an epic song split in half, the first part opening the album as “Exile” and second half of the song closing the disc as “Exodus.” While not a concept album per se, "Catharsis" has many songs about outcasts. Off of that thread, the band wildly swings. There are breakdowns, solos, death vocals, and melodic anthems all swirling in the mix.
A Wanted Awakening has two big release shows for “Catharsis.” First is a hometown gig Sunday, June 24 at The Brewery Exchange, 201 Cabot St., Lowell. The all-ages show starts at 5 p.m. and includes Manifest, Pathogenic, Behold Oblivion, The Summoned, Anchorlines, Hetfield & Hetfield, Still Silent, and My Missing Half.
Then on Friday, June 29, A Wanted Awakening plays at Mill Street Brews, 18 Mill St., Southbridge. The all-ages show gets going at 6 p.m. and features The River Neva, Still Silent, Heal the Destroyer, After Ail, Flood of Arcadia, Drama Queen for 600, and We Ate the Survivors.
A Wanted Awakening took shape in Albany, NY, around 2008. About a year later, sensing that metal was more of a fringe element in the music scene around the New York capital, the band members headed to Lowell.
“The scene around Boston and New England in general was just so much stronger. And it just so happened that our bass player got an acceptance letter in hand from UMass Lowell to study sound design,” Tree says.
Bassist Jason York recorded, produced, and mixed “Catharsis,” and captured a band thinking broadly. Singer Rick Hardy, guitarist Derek St. Martin, drummer Andre Bedard, Tree, and York stretch out on “Catharsis,” with the opening lacerating howls eventually falling back into clean melodies before those too lapse into dark, raspy tirades.
“On some songs we started to go too far out into the ether and had to bring it back to the ground, but for the most part we didn’t check ourselves too often as we went along,” Tree says.
As dynamically rich as “Catharsis” is, the band was careful to make sure that it could reproduce on stage what it created in the studio, even when it means deploying a few samples along the way.
“Nothing is more disappointing than hearing a record you love and then seeing the band live and it sucks,” Tree says.
While sometimes having a hard-to-peg sound makes it difficult for a band to find its audience, Tree says he is confident that the metal scene is pretty open-minded right now and that experimental bands have as good a shot as any to be heard.
“I’d rather have our own sound than have people say we sound like someone else,” is how Tree put it.
“Catharsis” will be available at the band’s show and online at www.facebook.com/awantedawakening. Follow the band on Twitter @AWA_Band.