Primal Rock Rebellion – Awoken Broken

Band: Primal Rock Rebellion
Album: Awoken Broken
Release Date: 27th Feb 2012
Genre: Experimental/Metal
Label: Spinefarm Records

Primal Rock Rebellion is the unlikely pairing of Iron Maiden axe wielder Adrian Smith and former SikTh frontman Mikee Goodman. While the two come from different backgrounds (Adrian playing in on of the world’s biggest metal bands and Mikee originally coming from SikTh who are laundered as one of the main inspirations for the djent movement), Primal Rock Rebellion shows a meeting of two different yet musically brilliant minds, resulting in a cohesive whole that displays the individual talents of both members. The guitars and bass on the upcoming album are provided by Adrian whilst the drums are provided by original SikTh drummer Dan “Loord” Foord.

No Friendly Neighbour starts the album with an industrial-like drum section, which provides an interesting pulse to the music when the guitars, in their experimental glory, come in mixed with the vocals. The track progresses into a slightly nu-metalish, Korn meets Disturbed sounding piece. The vocals scream out a certain, unique blend of aggression – having never listened to SikTh, I have no clue if Mikee brought this to the tracks he appeared on in the past. No Friendly Neighbour has one other point of interest, a soothing viola medley (provided by Abi Fry) that works against the rest of the music in a strange way that works so well.

The following track, No Place Like Home, certainly doesn’t lack in angsty lyrics and fierce riffs. The higher pitched vocals offered by Mikee did grate on my nerves a little but this was made up for by the catchy chorus and melodic solo that Adrian masterfully pulls off. I See Lights offers up a very delectable dish of experimental guitars with some pseudo-black metal licks and rough vocals. Bright As A Fire injects a dose of semi-epic sounds into the album easing the listener in a state of calming numbness like a musical anaesthetic. The drum workings are much like a rhythmic heartbeat, keeping the blood of the guitars and bass flowing, keeping the song from becoming stale. The riffs perfectly keep a happy medium of melodic and chugging-like sounds.

Savage World sees the return of the high pitched vocals, creating a Joker-styled psychotic atmosphere within the music. The drum intro for Tortured Tone sounds almost too poppy for the track, though the vocals soon kill off the poppy sound. For the most part, Tortured Tone is more on the alt. rock side of things, compared to the rest of the album. White Sheet Robes comes next. Upon hearing its name, it sounds almost like a lame Christian rock song but the hellish guitars and gruff vocal stylings beg to differ. As Tears Come Falling is basically a poem with some snazzy sound effects that leads into the next part of the album.

And finally the long awaited title track, Awoken Broken, bursts into like a wildfire ravaging the Amazon Rainforest. The vocals border on the lines of extreme metal while the guitars and drums seem to throw down a very thrash-like element into the mix. The song is like a fast, hard slap in the face – An enjoyable slap at least without all the kinky strings attached. Search For Bliss is another track that surprises you with its not so metal-like title and strong use of riffs and drums, topped off with a brilliant sounding layer of vocals.

Snake Ladders slows the pace down but keeps that heavy sound from some of the previous tracks. The lyrics tell a clearly story of betrayal, deceit and violence. The album comes to grinding halt with Mirror & The Moon, slowing the pace down to that of a very slow rock anthem, with the makings of a solemn love song, a nice change from the heavier additions on the album. The vocals show strong adaptability to the song as well and the viola just leaves it nicely polished off.

It’s not often that a meeting of two different musical minds works out but Adrian Smith and Mikee Goodman have created a potential Mona Lisa of the metal world, luckily without the DaVinci Code nonsense surrounding it. The production values are virtually flawless and the different styles that have gone into this are virtually genius.

4.9/5

Nico Davidson

4 Responses to “Primal Rock Rebellion – Awoken Broken”

  1. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this album for almost a year now (when it first leaked that Adrian was working with Mikee). Thanks for the review. Could you tell us a bit more about Adrian’s guitarwork (solos, riffs, tones, textures, etc.)? He’s the most creative of the Maiden crew, IMO, and his Schenker-inspired tone is to die for! Thanks again!

    • His guitar work on this is completely different to the usual Maiden stuff, if anything, it’s more aggressive, heavier and louder – in the good sense but the solos are trademark Smith solos.

      • Having heard just “I See Lights” and “No Place Like Home” so far, I wondered if the heavier, darker tones on those songs carried through the album. It seems, based on your review, that they did, by and large. I think you hit it on the head- these “two different musical minds” come together to form something much more powerful, more groundbreaking than if they just stayed in their own comfort zones. Another ASaP or Psycho Motel wouldn’t have had as much impact, I don’t think. As for the solos, his nifty lead on “NPLH” was sweet, and reminded me of Dave Murray! Good stuff! Thanks.

      • It’s definitely a new sound for Adrian (not sure about Mikee since I’ve not listened to SikTh as of yet) but at least it works well. Glad you liked the review! 🙂

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