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Review of the Album "Awake" by the Band Crematory

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Awake (not the album by Dream Theater) is the 1997 studio album by German Gothic and death metal band Crematory and this one sees the band explore slightly different musical horizons. In this album, they do a cover performance of the song "Temple of Love" by Sisters of Mercy and I just think that Crematory’s version is better because it has the death metal vocals in it along with the riffing which is better. Sometimes a metal music version of a softer song is better though the original version isn’t totally soft. Awake is one of those albums that sees Crematory dipping their feet into the musical experimentation category even though the death metal vocals that defined their debut album are still present.

About the Songwriting and Musical Style of the Album Awake

The album begins with the short, but classically influenced song “Maze” which is technically even too short to be considered a song because just before you know it, the song is over in an instant basically. “Lord of Lies” is a song that lyrically is basically about a person that lives his or her life and uses lying as their biggest tool. They do not care about the truth as the song says. They do not care who they harm in the process. They impose their will upon others. A person that lives a life of dishonesty is only betraying themselves. Some of you can really relate to a song like this especially if you have been in a relationship or friendship with a person that is pathologically dishonest. Even though the death metal vocals that were present in the album Illusions that are also present in this one, there is more of an emphasis on having the cleaner vocals play a role as well. Awake is an album that has this sort of symphonic feel to it as well because of the keyboard sound and play. There is this clean vocal and death metal vocal approach as it trades places basically. Either the death metal voice comes first or the clean vocals start first depending on the song. By this point in their career even though it was still early, Crematory still had their death metal vocals but they were not as brutally sounding as their debut. Even a death metal and a Gothic metal band such as Crematory was experimenting musically in the 1990s as this was like the standard kind of accepted practice. If the previous album Illusions had two instrumental songs, Awake does not have any instrumental songs in it and it has a cover song.


The Bottom Line About Crematory's 1997 Album Awake

There are some fans of the music that will be disappointed because Crematory basically changed course and decided to go for a Gothic and or death metal musical direction, merging the two sub-genres in their albums. Songs such as “Away” show that these guys haven’t totally abandoned their death metal musical style as there are still death metal vocals present in this album. Crematory did not sell out to conform to trends. They changed because of the times. In the case of Crematory they may have changed their style either later or earlier than some bands depending upon how you analyze their career. I’m getting into their music pretty late but can still see that even these guys changed their style slightly but not completely. You can consider Awake as an experimental sort of album that also has that death metal feel to it. It is just that these guys decided to go in a slightly different direction and began incorporating clean vocal parts as well. Ending this album is the very strong ballad style song called “Mirror.” I know that some fans of this sub-genre will cringe at the very thought of a German death and Gothic metal band ending one of their albums with something soft. They might think that such an ending seems very out of place and a bad way to end a heavy album such as this. Both concerns are understandable but Crematory writing this song may have caused their elite status to increase slightly over their previous work.

"Lord of Lies"

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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