Review of Awaken by Reality Suite

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DISCLAIMER: Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. All music is subjective to the listener. Feel free to leave comments or your own opinion! Thanks! 

Heavy, brutal and riffin'. That is New Jersey based band Reality Suite: the perfect blend of hard rock, heavy metal, southern rock and super catchy melodies. These songs just make me wanna head bang. It's impossible not to. The group consists of Kimmii Heart (Vocals), Joe Padula (Guitars and Vocals), Brian King (Drums) and Antonio Valenti (Bass and Vocals). Their newest release "Awaken" is a pounding 5 song EP that does not slow down. The riffs are memorable and the songs are unique in their own way. Heart's range is dynamic; hitting distorted high notes and soft whispers with ease. The band is tight, practiced and mature. The songwriting is professional and original, yet they manage to tip the hat to their influences. 

The EP kicks off with "Dead to Me", a driving hard rock anthem. In the intro, Heart's vocals are high-passed (low frequency/bass removed) until 24 seconds in, which create this hollow feeling. The reverse reverb creates a haunted and estranged pull right before the chorus at 53 seconds. The song shifts from delicate sections to heavy pounds. Everyone is on their game for this one and Heart has had enough. The section beginning at 2:31 is beautiful and the added strings create dimension into the outro.

Track #2 is called "Grave" and blends southern vibes with straightforward rock. The slide and tremolo guitars paint the picture of a modern western. The first and second chorus are played on the upbeat, which could compel you to dance along. The lyrics describe someone who is in a love/hate relationship and needs to get out of it now. This can apply to many people. The acoustic section at 3:09 gives the listener a short break before the heavy final chorus kicks in. The guitars are crunchy and thick. Who doesn't love that?

"Live Now Forever" is the heaviest and most riff-driven song on the EP. The instrumentation and vocals spark a real 80s sunset strip/Motley Crue vibe. 2:51 is my favorite musical bit. The breakdown that leads into the blistering solo makes me want to go 100 down the highway. This is where the guys' metal influences come in to play (like Metallica, In This Moment and Five Finger Death Punch). The track just keeps me guessing at every turn.

"Cut, Burn, Bruise" is the band's most radio-friendly pop-rock song that doesn't hold back. The song is full of sing-along melodies and memorable guitar hooks. I can definitely hear this song being played on modern rock radio somewhere. Even though I'd consider this one a ballad, it still rocks pretty hard. It shows off Heart's ability to switch between subtle breaths and soaring highs. I love when the guitars and drums drop out right when the second verse comes in. It creates an empty space that is filled as the pre-chorus comes and eventually.... the explosive chorus. The build-up to the solo at 2:13 is everything that I was expecting and more. Padula did not disappoint!

The funky opening bass line to "Lust" lends itself well to the barrage of guitars that come in during the verse. The bass and drums lock in tight, the rhythm is groovy and the instrumentation fits with  the lyrics perfectly. That ending note at 4:13 closes out the EP on a high and the delayed/fed-back effect peaked my interest.

"Awaken" was recorded at Barber Shop Studios and producer Mike Ferretti's (Sevendust, Saliva) personal studio in Ringwood, New Jersey. The band is reissuing the EP on an indie label sometime in 2019 with bonus tracks so be on the lookout! The production on these batch of songs is clean and polished, but still retains that edgy punk rock and metal attitude. Check them out now!


Score: 8.8/10

Favorite Track: "Live Now Forever"