Awaken I Am – “The Beauty in Tragedy” (ep)


Out of tragedy and turmoil, Awaken I Am have released a collection of emotion-filled tracks that are at once beautiful and yet filled with anger, confusion, and heaviness.

Australian band Awaken I Am have gone through the typical band member replacement drama but also have had to endure the worst, when a wrong-way driver took the life of guitarist Connor Verner-Oakley.  The band had just finished a US tour in support of their debut album Blind Love and were due out on the road in less than two weeks.  The band picked up guitarist Jay Sibthorpe and pushed on.  The ep The Beauty in Tragedy is the band’s way of not only paying tribute to Connor but also coming to terms with the senseless nature of the tragedy.  Taylor Larsen (Asking Alexandria and The Word Alive) recorded the ep.

The ep opens up with one of the heaviest tracks in “Kin”.  Start off with some electronica and then bring in the heavy guitar riffs and once those die out the keyboards and bass largely keep things moving along during the verse sections backed by some drum work from Luke McKenzie that adds some interesting texture.  Vocals are incredibly smooth and emotion-filled and to be honest, from a composition standpoint, the song reminds me a bit of something from Linkin Park but with a bit more emphasis on melody and heavier guitars.  Topically the song is addressed to the driver who purposefully drove on the wrong side of the road, so you can imagine the emotion involved.  Not being a fan of this style of music, the emotion in the performances drew me in before I even knew the back story.  This is one of those albums you listen to and think to yourself that there is something authentic here and it keeps your interest.

“By Your Side” reinforces my Linkin Park thoughts as there is the loud opening that gives way to quieter verse sections and clean vocals.that bounce along from near spoken to soaring. “Dissolution” takes things back to the heavier side of things at least in terms of opening guitar riffs and incidentally is one of the last (or last) song that Connor played on before the tragedy.  The overall tone is a bit darker and the Ryan Oxford’s bass really drives things along this time instead of the keyboards, working very well with McKenzie’s drums.  The song also highlights the quality of production and mixing as the band makes great use of the silence that comes from only having bass and drum for much of the song, less is more in this case and that adds the feeling of power.  ‘Indifference” and “The Stages of Grief” continue in a similar formula as the other songs on the ep and when writing the songs the band managed to mix things up enough to keep the songs from sounding the same.

One would be hard-pressed to find a more apt title for this collection of tracks. The lighter, beautiful music contrasting with the pain that comes through in the vocals in The Beauty of Tragedy shows a band trying to cope with tragedy and struggling to find meaning.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

1 – Kin
2 – By Your Side
3 – Dissolution
4 – Indifference
5 – The Stages Of Grief

Band Members
Jimmy Alexander – Vocals
Luke McKenzie – Drums
Jay Sibthorpe – Guitar
Ryan Oxford – Bass

Release Date: April 26 2019

Record Label: Victory Records

Weblinks: Facebook / Twitter / Website

Video for ‘The Stages of Grief’

Video for ‘Kin’

Video for ‘Dissolution’



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