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Both as a band and as individuals, Awake At Last continue to stand for positivity, spirituality, self-help and making an impact every single day. Returning with their debut full-length release, The Change, they have never sounded more confident, more energized, or been more determined to reach out to those who might be struggling in the world. “We pushed ourselves to our limits as songwriters,” states guitarist Imran Xhelili. “There is more variety on this record and there are songs that lean in a heavier rock/metal direction with other songs being a lot lighter and more dynamic. All of the choruses on this album have huge hooks, and there are more sections that are less guitar heavy and carried by different elements, like pianos and orchestral instruments. The lyrics are also more direct in how they carry across the messages we have always had at the forefront of our music.” While making waves with their previous output, this combination is the sound of a band who have truly come into their own, and this has been borne out in the critical reception.
Having achieved a lot in 2018, including a stint on the final run of the Warped Tour - commencing the day after they finished tracking The Change - appearing on the iMatter Festival alongside Underoath and August Burns Red and opening for Asking Alexandria in Louisville, Kentucky, the band’s fifth year of existence has also been packed. Completing a successful tour with From Ashes To New and Palisades and playing INKCarceration and Rock USA festivals over the summer, this fall they are heading out on the Sirius XM Octane Accelerator tour with Ice Nine Kills, Fit For A King, Light The Torch and Make Them Suffer, which is sure to further raise their profile. Octane have already done a lot to champion the band - rounded out by guitarist Eric Blackway and drummer Jon Finney - giving four tracks from The Change extensive airplay, helping to get their core message of positivity out to the masses as they continue to place their fans first, and wanting to do all that they can to help improve their quality of life. “I want people to understand the symbiotic relationship between a band and its fanbase and I want them to feel like they're along for the ride with us,” Torres states. “We are a band that is built on the foundation of endurance and perseverance, and nothing we've accomplished has been easily accessed. I want our fans to know that the reason we are able to live this dream is because they continue to support us and allow us to do so, but most of all I want them to understand that whatever it is that nurtures their soul can also be obtainable if they strive for it and believe in themselves.” Xhelili expounds on this, noting “As individuals, it can feel hard at times to find our own identity and our individual greater purpose. It all may feel rather heavy and bog us down constantly. However, we are here to take a stand and try to rise above all of that and be a respite for all of the darkness around us, as a shining light.” The casual listener also might be unaware of the interconnectedness of Awake At Last’s releases, with Torres explaining that there’s a deep-rooted storyline following a character on their journey through multiple lives. The Change in fact serves as a direct sequel to Life/Death/Rebirth. “The being who experienced the afterlife in Life/Death/Rebirth is reborn into a new vessel in The Change, but in order to interrupt the endless cycle of life and death they've been going through they attempt to imbue their new vessel with all of their cellular knowledge. They believed that by doing this the vessel in The Change could bring about a great revolution in the world and finally end the process so the soul may finally rest. What happens next is yet to be determined.”
Scoring some impressive first week chart placings - #2 on the Heatseeker Chart, #3 Hard Music Album, #8 Independent Album and #27 Top Billboard Albums - the response from fans has been “astronomical and amazing”, and has only served to make them more intent to get their message out there. “I feel like there are so many people who do find strength in the words and messages. I’ve had people come up to me and burst into tears because they feel so connected to the message,” states Torres. “We always seek to elevate and inspire people to battle the harsh realities of mental health, and overcome the obstacles that keep us away from happiness. I love knowing that my words have helped people through their hard times, or got them through a tough work out. It feels like it’s taking on a life of its own.” This has also served to bolster the quartet’s underlying aspiration: wanting to establish an even stronger connection to their fanbase. “I want to create a movement where individuals from all walks of life can come together and support one another as we continue to evolve and make changes in order to pursue fulfilling lives.”