‘Awaken’ album review
release date: February 19, 2021
star rating: four out of five
review by Levi Yager
Parallax blows the doors right off with their new album Awaken. This shit’s heavy as fuck, and it switches things up enough to keep you hooked, too. You get big helpings of sludge-y chugs, airtight drumming and screams that are *chef’s kiss* bellísimo. If you love breakdowns, this album’s a bargain.
As it turns out, Awaken is actually a concept album that tells the story of a man who’s infected by an alien/demon parasite. Experiencing this narrative is both captivating and harrowing, and some songs, especially the penultimate “Symbiotic,” even sound like a horror movie in song form – if that makes sense.
These guys immediately put the pedal to the metal in the title track, and it does what any great first song does: gives us a well-rounded taste of what the band can do. Couple that with the crazy fact that the whole second half is essentially one giant, phased breakdown, and we got a winner. Parallax keeps the hits coming with the next couple songs. In the second track, “Descent,” vocalist Nick Hale uses rough cleans in the slower verses that contrast nicely with the killer screams in the faster parts. This song also has a great sense of rhythm and will likely have you screaming along “kill or be killed” before it’s over. “Sleep” follows, and it excels at creating space in just the right moments before charging forward again. Listen for the sick guitar licks around the three-minute mark, too.
The two slow, mood songs are number four, “Solstice,” and number seven, “Symbiotic.” I prefer the latter, personally, if we’re going to compare them, but both are effective at changing the pace at their respective points in the album and pressurizing the atmosphere for the explosive tracks that follow them.
Jumping to the last song, “Esoteric” ends Awaken with a bang – just burning it all down. You can’t help but scream along “light the flame” as the album’s main character is completely taken over by the parasite that now uses him to destroy all life on Earth. Also featuring riffs almost all the way through, “Esoteric” is definitely a memorable closer.
Awaken is a total blast, a tsunami of in-your-face energy. It’s a record that’s made for the mosh pit, and I can’t wait to catch Parallax live in the future after hearing it. Even in the band’s pursuit of heaviness, they don’t lose sight of composing engaging pieces of music, and that’s what elevates Awaken beyond simply a headbanger’s heaven. Technical proficiency with creative vision. Give it a listen.