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Livesay - "Awaken The Giant" (CD)

Livesay - "Awaken The Giant" CD cover image

"Awaken The Giant" track listing:

1. Zero Hour/Awaken The Giant
2. The Burning Times
3. Aphasia
4. Flesh & Blood
5. Tower Of Silence
6. Dance Of The Egyptian King
7. The Agonist

Reviewed by on February 7, 2011

"Livesay's 'Awaken The Giant' puts the power in power metal, with Alan D'Angelo's thick, heavy bass lines providing an expert counterbalance to guitarist Gregg Livesay's high-pitched, high-speed solos."

Livesay's "Awaken The Giant" puts the power in power metal, with Alan D'Angelo's thick, heavy bass lines providing an expert counterbalance to guitarist Gregg Livesay's high-pitched, high-speed solos. The effect is to create a far greater sense of melody and groove than you'll find on most progressive and power metal discs these days.

Sure, Gregg Livesay's going to rip up the fretboard, with tracks like the instrumentals "Aphasia" and "Dance Of The Egyptian King" featuring the kinds of solos that wouldn't be out of place on a Michael Angelo Batio disc, as well as a greater emphasis on Anthony Stahl's keyboards, which pleasantly range from symphonic to synthetic sounds. That said, Livesay shows some pretty remarkable restraint on tracks like "The Burning Times" and "Tower Of Silence," in which he wisely gets out of the way of singer Dean Sternberg.

Sternberg more than holds his own against the instrumental assault, with his soaring vocals on "Zero Hour/Awaken The Giant" particularly standing out. His voice soars when it needs to, but never with the kind of operatic theatrics that sometimes make power metal feel a little lightweight.

There's not a single bum track on the album, though "The Agonist," which is a bit reminiscent of Faith No More in its heavy-bass and drum approach, could've probably been edited down a bit from its near-13-minute length.

Sure, Gregg Livesay and the rest of the band are all virtuoso musicians and show their chops off to maximum effect on "Awaken The Giant." More impressive, though, is that they know when to pull it back in favor of straightforward melodies that reveal equally impressive skills as songwriters.

Highs: "Zero Hour/Awaken The Giant," ""Aphasia" and "Tower Of Silence"

Lows: None to speak of, though "The Agonist" probably could've been tightened a little bit.

Bottom line: A superb power metal disc that blends virtuoso playing with solid songwriting.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)