Review by Andy Boden and photos by Rob Stanley
Awake By Design have been around for a while – since late 2007 in fact – and have undergone the kind of personnel changes that may have sapped the will of lesser bands. The release of the critically acclaimed Sentiment in 2009 secured them significant support slots with a number of internationally recognised acts but the big time proved elusive.
Fast forward to 2012, Awake By Design hit the Slade Rooms for the album release celebration of opus number two, Carve The Sun. With a brand new, harry-spankers line-up featuring new boys Janson Sissons on keys and Jake Stone on the seat, the first thing that hits you – apart from the wave of noise – is what a tight unit ABD are. Calum Downing and Luke Smith share lead and rhythm duties as they swap finger shredding riffs, whilst Jake Stone pounds the skins as if his life depended on it. Adrian Powell’s soulful, soaring voice is pitch perfect whether working the slower ballads or tearing into the full-on metal songs, as he wrings every drop of emotion from every note. Crowd favourite Janson Sissons’ keyboards provide the backdrop to each and every track, giving them a symphonic quality that elevates ABD above your average metal band, whilst Dave Favill five-string bass compliments Jake Stones percussion to perfection. New tracks from the album including ‘Surface’, and ‘Falling On Me’ were given the full treatment, but the stand out track from the new album – and current single – has to be ‘Tired Of Angels’, which has echoes of Martin/Gillan era Sabbath, a full, fat sound with powerhouse vocals and electrifying fretwork.
Having left the stage to calls for encore, ABD returned to the stage to deliver the title track from the debut album ‘Sentiment’, before closing the show with a toughened-up version of ‘Ethereal’.
Support on the night came courtesy of In Dantes Eclipse and Twisted Species, but this night belonged to Awake By Design. Great things are expected from ABD, and with the band sounding tighter than ever and having evolved into a tour de force to be reckoned with, there was nothing on show tonight to suggest that such expectations are misplaced. Put Carve The Sun on your Christmas list, go and see them live, tell your friends.
Setlist: I, Visions Truth, Forever they Told, Carve The Sun, Surface, Yesterdays Rain, Tired Of Angels, Falling On Me, Disgraced Land
Encore: Sentiment, Ethereal
And you can see more shots from the show here: