American hardcore/deathcore band, Dead/Awake, have released their debut EP, called Insurrectionist. Released on the 5th of October via We Are Triumphant Records, Dead/Awake is a brutal mix of hardcore beatdowns with a sprinkling of deathcore and mathcore.
Hailing from Rockford, Illinois, Dead/Awake formed in late 2017. They are a 6 piece with dual vocals coming from Noah Lopez and Dillon Hare. Payton Kuhn is on drums while Anthony Schlickman is on the bass. Guitars are with Morgan Earp and Michael Campa, who also adds extra vocals. They have had a few singles out from the debut and have been really well received. They are definitely a band making waves, quite early on in their career.
Their EP, Insurrectionist, has 6 tracks on it and comes in at around 17 minutes in length. Yep, don’t expect any 8 minute epics with 3 minutes of soaring solos. This stuff is designed to be punchy, get right to the point and leave pits frenzied and destroyed. With 6 members in the band already, I was quite surprised to see that 4 out of the 6 tracks also feature guest artists. Some pretty high calibre ones too. One of the most notable of these being Frankie Palmeri of popular metalcore band, Emmure.
Insurrectionist starts off with a 90 second long song called Prelude. It is really only there to set the other 5 tracks up and does that well enough. It gives you a taste of what is to come, whether it is for you, or not.
Prelude starts with lots of sampled effects, a chaotic mix of noise before screamed vocals come in over the top. The dual vocals work well here with one coming in a darker, deeper tone while the other screams manically. The drums are frenetic, off time while the riffs crunch in a compact, constant breakdown way. There is a pause of about a second before it comes back in with a slowed down, dirtier sound. It is an aggressive and frantic start to an EP and the rest of it follows suit. Prelude creates some intrigue but, while it is interesting and makes you excited to see what else they can do, it is a really chaotic song.
A bit of chaos is good but there was so much going on in the short prelude, it was a struggle to get into. It never really settles into a rhythm or a style to get you head banging. It is more like you just got punched in the face by a shit load of ideas, leaving you a little dazed and confused as to what the hell is going on. The rest of the EP is a bit of a mix. Everything on here comes hard, fast and with fury but there is a mix between the songs that seem a little more structured and have a rhythm to them, and the ones that are just collections of anarchy. I find myself enjoying the songs with a bit more structure more so than the others.
My favourite is probably Ultra Vitam which features Kyle Anderson (The Afterimage/Brand of Sacrifice). This one has a really down tuned, bass heavy groove to the riff and a slamming drum rhythm. There is a screeching, wavy solo within and the vocals pack a real punch. It also ends with 30 seconds of piano which really threw me, in a good way. I also really like Snake in the Grass, the song featuring Frankie Palmeri. It has some really technically proficient guitar crunches, riffs and melody. The drums are fantastic in this one, shooting off in many different directions and the vocals are on fire. With the rest of the EP though, I am not completely sold. There isn’t a song on here I completely dislike. All of them have their merits but there are parts where I get lost in the chaos.
The Gallows is furious fun for the first section with progressive riffs and a thumping beatdown but when it ends into 45 seconds of chiming bells, I am happy to skip. The Pale Horse which features Tyler Shelton (Traitors) is a decent song. Plenty heavy and full of crunchy riffing but it gets muddy near the end with squealing notes and gasping for breath vocalists. Kingslayer, featuring David John Simonich III (Signs of the Swarm) goes for a darker, deathly tone with ominous guitar tones and effects on some of the vocals. It starts interesting before becoming a little confusing in what they are trying to achieve here. It pulls it back at the end though with a really neat breakdown. Punishing drums and compact riffing that ends with these crazy melodic whirls. Very cool.
All in all, Insurrectionist is a really impressive release and you can easily understand why Dead/Awake are starting to make a name for themselves. I would imagine the real win for getting into this band would come in the live environment where I expect pits to be absolutely insane.
They are creative, extremely talented and capable so I am excited to keep an eye on these guys and see where they go next. I do think that there is so much going on in some songs that you can find yourself being a bit lost. Being unable to catch the rhythm. Maybe even being a little confusing. These moments are usually quickly pushed out of your mind as the next impressively brutal breakdown follows quickly along. Insurrectionist is well worth a look if you like your metal to be aggressive, chaotic and relentless. Not so much if you love a ballad.
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Insurrectionist is out now on all the usual streaming services, like Apple Music and Spotify. Dead/Awake have a CD release show coming up in the US in the next week or so. Keep an eye on the band’s social media to see when you can grab a physical copy for yourself. They do have a store, here, so maybe check that in a week or so and grab a CD. Or go there now and grab a t-shirt. Find out more about the band at their Facebook and Instagram pages by following the links.
Insurrectionist by Dead/Awake (We Are Triumphant)
The Final Score - 7/10