Sound Awake

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Sound Awake
Sound awake.png
Studio album by Karnivool
Released 5 June 2009 (Aus)
16 Feb 2010 (US)
Recorded Blackbird / Kingdom Studios, Perth, Western Australia
Genre Progressive rock, alternative metal
Length 72:10
Label Cymatic Records
Sony Music
Producer Forrester Savell
Karnivool chronology
Sound Awake
Singles from Sound Awake
  1. "Set Fire to the Hive"
    Released: 28 April 2009
  2. "All I Know"
    Released: 9 November 2009

Sound Awake is the second studio album by Australian progressive rock band Karnivool, released on 5 June 2009.

Album background[edit]

The album follows a four-year gap since their debut studio album Themata in 2005. Sound Awake was produced by Forrester Savell (The Butterfly Effect, Dallas Frasca) and recorded at Perth’s Blackbird and Kingdom Studios over several months. It was later mixed at Melbourne's Sing Sing Studios and mastered by Tom Coyne (DJ Shadow, The Roots) at Sterling Sounds in New York City.

In an interview bassist Jon Stockman describes the differences between the band's two albums.

The main difference would be that the bulk of Themata was written by Drew and arranged by a few of us whereas both the writing and arranging for Sound Awake was much more of a collaborative effort from everyone. In addition to that, a lot of Themata was written straight to a recording session before ever being played as a band, whereas we pretty much wrote most of the Sound Awake in a jam-room environment.

— Jon Stockman[1]

The name of the album was conceived by Drew Goddard and the album cover artwork was undertaken by graphic designers, Joe Kapiteyn and Chris Frey.

We originally wanted a foldout design but found that the standard book worked better with the number of artwork pictures that we had in mind. In the end, the final cover was a mixture of input from all the band and Joe.

— Jon Stockman[1]

The album was released on 5 June 2009 through Cymatic Records and distributed by Sony Music Australia. The first single from the album, "Set Fire to the Hive", was released prior to it, on 28 April 2009, with a video being released on 8 May. The second single, "All I Know", was released on 9 November 2009, along with an accompanying music video.

Sound Awake was played as the 'feature album' on radio station Triple J.[2] They played the entire album, one song per day, with some songs featuring short spoken introductions by members of the band. On 17 July 2009 it was nominated for a J Award - 'Australian Album of the Year'.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[4]
Bloody Disgusting 4/5 stars[5]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[6]
Melodic 5/5 stars[7]
Rock Sound 8/10 stars[8]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars[9]

Sound Awake received a largely positive reaction from music critics. Adam Greenberg of Allmusic wrote that Sound Awake expanded Karnivool's musical scope beyond the alternative metal sound of Themata. He cited similarities in the musicality of the album to the work of contemporaries such as Audioslave, Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, but felt that often the band's exploration of progressive metal sounded too similar to the work of Tool.[4] Darren Sadler of Rock Sound summarised Sound Awake as "an album of immense progressive proportions that boasts some brilliant atmospherics, excellent melodies courtesy of vocalist Ian Kenny, accomplished musicianship and adventurous songwriting", singling "Deadman" and "Change" out as the album's highlights.[8] Jacob Royal of Sputnikmusic complimented Karnivool's experimentation and musicianship, writing that many of the tracks build in dynamics well and feature complex percussive arrangements from drummer Steve Judd. He considered "Illumine" and "Simple Boy" among the weakest points of the album, but praised most of the other featured songs.[9] drr00t of Melodic considered the album a "masterpiece", directing praise at the performances of Judd and bassist Jon Stockman, and writing that "the instrumentation on this album is nothing short of complex, but the band still stays true to its melodies and fit the two together seamlessly".[7] Jonathan Barkan of Bloody Disgusting compared Sound Awake to the work of Tool, Porcupine Tree, Muse and The Mars Volta, "while still being able to sound original and unique".[5]

The album debuted at number two on the ARIA Album Charts on 15 June 2009, behind The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D..[10] It was also the top independent release in Australia, debuting at number one on the AIR Charts.[11] The album received Gold certification for sales in Australia, and in 2012 was voted the #1 album of the years 2000-2009 by Heavy Blog Is Heavy.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Karnivool[12].

Sound Awake
No. Title Length
1. "Simple Boy" 5:47
2. "Goliath" 4:37
3. "New Day" 8:20
4. "Set Fire to the Hive" 4:28
5. "Umbra" 7:50
6. "All I Know" 4:53
7. "The Medicine Wears Off" 1:49
8. "The Caudal Lure" 6:16
9. "Illumine" 5:12
10. "Deadman" 12:04
11. "Change (Part 2)" 10:47

Notes "Deadman" does not run until 12:04, it stops at 10:08, and is followed by a re-recorded version of the closing song from Themata, "Change (Part 1)", which then segues into "Change (Part 2)". The re-recorded version of "Change (Part 1)" contains vibraphone instead of the ambience found on the Themata version, and only runs for 1:57, compared to the Themata version, which ran to 3:28. It also contains slightly modified lyrics from the original.


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[13]

  • Drew Goddard — guitar, backing vocals
  • Ian Kenny — vocals, acoustic guitar on "Change"
  • Jon Stockman — bass
  • Mark Hosking — guitar, backing vocals
  • Steve Judd — drums, percussion
Additional musicians
  • Grant McCulloch — additional vocals on"Deadman"
  • Jason Bunn — viola on "Umbra"
  • Javin Sun — additional vocals on "Goliath"
  • Jessop Maticevski-Shumack — additional vocals on "Goliath"
  • Jules Pacy-Cole — additional vocals on "Goliath"
  • Louise Conray — additional percussion on "Simple Boy" and "Change"
  • Prue Glenn — conductor
  • Sam Tilot Kickett — didgeridoo on "Change"
  • Talfryn Dawlings — additional vocals on "Goliath"
  • Zak Hanyn — additional vocals on "Goliath"
  • Chris Frey — concept and design
  • Dave Parkin — mixing on "The Medicine Wears Off" and "The Caudal Lure"
  • Forrester Savell — producer and mixing
  • Karnivool — producer
  • Nicole Norelli — photography
  • Rick Mafferty — mix assistant
  • Tom Coyne — mastering


  1. ^ a b "Karnovool". NZrock. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Feature Album - Sound Awake". Triple J. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  3. ^ "2009 J Award - Sound Awake". Triple J. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Greenberg, Adam. "Sound Awake - Karnivool". Allmusic. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Barkan, Jonathan (31 January 2010). "Album Review - KARNIVOOL's Sound Awake". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Kerrang!. 3 October 2009 (p.48)
  7. ^ a b drr00t. "Melodic Net - Karnivool - Sound Awake". Melodic. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Sadler, Darren (22 October 2009). "Karnivool - Sound Awake". Rock Sound. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Royal, Jacob (7 February 2010). "Review: Karnivool - Sound Awake". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Karnivool - Sound Awake". Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  11. ^ "Jagermiester AIR Indie Label Albums Chart". Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR). Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  12. ^ "APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Sound Awake (Media notes). Karnivool. Sony Music Entertainment. 2009.