AWAKEN - AWAKEN (Mausoleum Records)


                           (Review by Patrick De Sloover)

A few years ago, June 2007 to be precise, I did an interview with Glenn DaGrossa (vocals) and Ron Porcelli (bass) both founding members of Lazarus. Their ‘Episode One’ was a stunning debut and  Kerrang! once hailed that band as ‘one of the quintessential metal bands of our time’. Anyway, Glenn DaGrossa formed his new band Awaken around 2009, together with Freddy Villano who played in Lazarus before, but also in Quiet Riot and Dee Snider’s Widowmaker. A third Lazarus member joined, so with the addition of drummer Nick D’Alessandro, we can almost conclude that this is the Lazarus Mark 2 edition a.k.a. Awaken.

The two guitar players that completed the lineup are Joe Buddha and Scott Bennett, and the first recording that they did was ‘I Speed At Night’ for a tribute to Ronnie James Dio album.  Other bands that featured that album were Manowar, HolyHell (with the mighty shredder Joe Stump), Crosswind, Harlet, Feinstein (The Rods!!), Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, among others. Their appetite to record was awakened, which is one appropriate way to say!

The eponymous album has been spinning for several times recently, and I can only agree that this debut album is a must have! The song structures are really interesting, and above these magical arrangements, we hear soaring vocals with intense chorus lines that lift the songs to an even higher level! Glenn is best when the pace isn’t at full speed, when he has the time to lay down his soul into the song. You hear that this man is a world-class performer, and when he’s surrounded by gifted musicians, magic will fill the air! I am really curious how this band will do live. That’s why I want to quote something that I’ve read on guitar player Joe Buddha’s message board:

We have this weird thing where we all live really far away from each other and honestly only see each other at gigs. We’ve never had a rehearsal with Scott the other guitarist and I’ve had probably 5 rehearsals in almost 3 years in the band. And that’s including auditioning new members! In some ways that is awesome because all of the guys in the band are real pro’s and we get our homework done and the shows are always tight.

This traditional metal contains highlights and musical challenges, and I suggest that this release is a typical US Metal release, and as you know there are many, many followers  and adepts in Europe for this renowned art direction!

My rating: 90 / 100