Primal Rock Rebellion - Awoken Broken
I expect this album to be pretty polarizing because of the vocals. I typically have problems dealing with extreme vocals, and it definitely required an adjustment for me to accept Mikee Goodman's voice. I think in the end I was able to get into it because the Cookie Monster moments weren't overwhelming, and they were mixed in with spoken word and more melodic vocals. That said, I don't judge Goodman's voice in the same way that I would a traditional singer's, because that wouldn't exactly be fair.
- No Friendly Neighbour - A sinister industrial opening explodes into a cutting and melodic riff. Nice dynamics and tradeoffs between guitar and vocals. Cool spacey guitar accents throughout the song. Goodman's vocals are absolutely savage in places, but it's always balanced by a strong melodic sensibility in the rest of the music. Great outro with acoustic instrument accents. Love this song. 9/10.
- No Place Like Home - An off-rhythm riff starts a steamroller that never lets up. Love that ascending rhythm guitar. The chorus is great, and gets pushed over the top by Adrian's backing vocals. Great instrumental break and solo. Excellent song! 10/10.
- I See Lights - This one settles into a slower, moodier groove that's broken up by an occasional percussive section. Adrian sneaks in for some sweet co-lead vocals. A neat experimental solo leads into an extended melodic break. Good stuff, though it never fully achieves liftoff. 7/10.
- Bright As A Fire - A moody verse with nice melodic guitar accents fades away, then slams back in with force. Good melodic chorus. An explosive solo leads into an uptempo bridge that changes up the feel halfway through, then gives us some more sweet soloing before the chorus reprise. Nice buildup at the end. 8/10.
- Savage World - Harsh verse, catchy but shaky chorus. Nice slower bridge. Solidly good, but not great. 7/10.
- Tortured Tone - Moody, melodic verse and pre-chorus with nice string accents. Fantastic chorus with really interesting vocal harmonies. A more aggressive bridge / solo section folds back into an even more lush version of the chorus. Great moody outro with creepy strings. Love this song. 10/10.
- White Sheet Robes - A cool pulsing main riff drives an aggressive verse. Neat melodic chorus with neoclassical underpinnings. A straight-up metal interlude with some spacy guitar accents gives way to a cool variant of the chorus before closing out with another round of verse and chorus. Great stuff. 8/10.
- As Tears Come Falling From The Sky - A very brief spoken word piece with musical accents. Kinda cool, but I don't care quite that much about those things behind windows, behind curtains, behind windows, behind curtains. 6/10.
- Awoken Broken - Another badass yet melodic riff starts off this steamroller. Aggressive verse, neat off-kilter melodic pre-chorus, and an even more aggressive chorus. A sparse break leads into a cool uptempo jammy solo section before rolling back into the crushing chorus. Very cool. 8/10.
- Search For Bliss - A soaring guitar opener leads into a surprisingly gentle vocal intro. The aggression steps up a bit before cutting into a great melodic chorus that trades off vocals back and forth. An extremely aggressive break gives way to a somewhat smoother verse before the chorus reprise. Excellent song. 9/10.
- Snake Ladders - A greasy, slower-paced number. I'm not that fond of the verse, and the chorus isn't particularly catchy, though it does get interesting when the backing vocals are added. The instrumental break is kind of blah, and there's lots of stream-of-consciousness stuff going on in the vocals. Decent, but not great. 6/10.
- Mirror And The Moon - Nice string and acoustic accents on this album's somewhat twisted take on a ballad. (Slide guitar, too!) Gentle, appealing chorus. Neat off-kilter instrumental break. A cool uptempo acoustic section gradually gives way to just the strings, which tie things up beautifully. 8/10.
- Scientist (B-side) - Love the opening riff and some of the other guitar work here, and the pre-chorus is pretty good. Unfortunately the vocals meander all over the place and the chorus doesn't really drive it home. I'll round this up to a 6/10.
- Mooncusser (B-side) - A brief, throwaway groove with vocals. Strangely catchy, but there just isn't much there. Let's say 5/10.
A monster of an album that manages to be crushingly heavy and surprisingly melodic at the same time. Adrian experiments with some really interesting sounds and structures here, and totally cuts loose in a number of places.
The high points here are extremely high, but the album isn't quite as consistent as Welcome To The World
, IMO. Still, the album tracks averaged an 8.0 in my ratings, tying the second Psycho Motel album overall; and this album received two 10/10's from me, when none of the previous albums got anything higher than a 9/10. I guess that breaks the tie and makes this one my favorite!
While I'd love to hear Adrian do a guitar instrumental album, and a blues album could also be interesting, I'd really enjoy another Primal Rock Rebellion album too.
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