Onward - Reawaken

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8105-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:49:00

Onward don't awaken us with their second album Reawaken. Especially after the sleep-fueled debut Evermoving.

Sitting on the fence of Euro/US power metal, a contrast that covers all aspect of Reawaken, Onward still lack a definitive sound that would make it more listenable. If you take the songs individually, then Onward seem to have what it takes to create a top-of-the-line metal album. Taken as a whole though, and the album doesn't quite cut it. The biggest problem is that Reawaken becomes tiresome and repetitive after three or four songs, making it damn difficult to sit through from start to finish. Even now, my third listen, my head is exploding just trying to think of the positives on the album. Reawaken's openers are great ... but unfortunately four songs later I felt like the Titanic - listless, dead in the water, and waiting to be rescued. Admittedly, it's a slight improvement over their debut but not by much.

Vocalist Michael Grant has, at times, little variation, and when he does come alive vocally, the music has little to offer. Grant repeats himself, has a lack of emotion, and has next to little power. Cases in point are "Eye Of The Nightmare" and "Night" - the songs sound rushed and incomplete, although the album does present a couple of thundering numbers that stand head and shoulders above all others - "The Seven Tides Of The Labyrinthine," "Reawaken," the double bonus that is "The Next Triumph," and the somewhat melodic "In Due Time." All show a side of Onward that should have been nurtured and developed fully to showcase what the band are really capable of.

Musically, the album doesn't gel together that well and everyone seems to be pulling their own way saying to themselves "Hey, look what I can do?!" instead of working together for one goal, one purpose. On the positive side, Toby Knapp (yes, I could make a joke about his name and the title of the album) is, at times, amazing. Although it is nothing you would not have heard before, and whilst he employs many interesting techniques, the rest of the band just annoy the hell out me. At the same time, Tony also manages to pursue some very average riffs followed by an explosion of metal mayhem (just listen to the break in "Where Evil Follows").

Despite all this, if you are after a slice of generally hot solo-ing then you may view Onward with a different side than I do. I do appreciate what he is doing, but unfortunately, like Yngwie Malmsteen, a guitarist does not make a band. And as a band, Onward fall short of the average mark. Reawaken definitely doesn't live up to it's name.

On a side note - you know you're in trouble when the promo sheet that accompanies the album spends the first half talking about the virtues of Toby Knapp and then going on to the artwork.

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Reawaken (5:19) / Night (3:42) / The Seven Tides Of Labyrinthine (5:43) / Where Evil Follows (5:57) / Eye Of The Nightmare (5:01) / My Darkest Room (5:00) / In Due Time (4:31) / Clockwork Toy (3:57) / Who Saw The Last Star (6:23) / The Next Triumph - Part 1: Remembrance (4:53) / The Next Triumph - Part 2: Reawakening (4:23)

Michael Grant - vocals
Toby Knapp - guitars
Chris Payette - bass
Jon Pereau - drums

Evermoving (2001)
Reawaken (2002)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Hits: 1275
Language: english


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