Updated: May 24
Hard rock/metal band Awake At Last dropped a new single, "Bloodline", recently via the WakeUp! Music Rocks record label, and not only is this song a banger, but it is also a sharp commentary on the state of the world we live in, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This song has already earned a lot of attention in just a few weeks and is currently in the Top 40 of the Foundations Rock Chart. Awake At Last includes Vincent Torres (vocals), Eric Blackway (lead guitar), Imran Xhelili (guitar), Drew Hansen (bass), and Jeff Dorber (drums). The band started out in 2011 in Delaware with Torres and Blackway, and now has members from New York and North Carolina. There have been multiple changes over the years which led to the current lineup. The addition of Xhelili on guitar allowed Torres to focus on singing.
Much of Awake At Last's popularity and fan base has come from playing live shows. The band started out playing for groups of 10-to-25 people and now performs in front of thousands. Awake At Last was part of the last Warped Tour dates ever, which was an honor for the band, and also secured a spot at Rock USA with one day's notice. The Awake At Last fans helped push the band through on SiriusXM Octane's Test Drive in December 2017 with "Purgatorium", and since then the band has had multiple other songs on the well-known hard rock and metal station. The writing of "Bloodline" was a collaborative effort by the whole band. Torres wrote the lyrics. It was during the pandemic and it was incredibly relevant to how a lot of the members were feeling during that dark time. The band was excited to make the trip to California to work with Erik Ron, who played a major role in the song’s development. He produced and mixed "Bloodline", and the song was mastered by Mike Kalijan.
"Bloodline" starts out right away with a catchy guitar riff along with the melodic singing of Torres. His vocal range is impressive and shows deep emotion in the lyrics he is singing. It blends perfectly with the intricate guitar work and pounding drums. The theme of this song hits home for me on multiple levels. Not only am I a healthcare worker who has been on the front line during the pandemic, but I am a writer and was a journalism major, so I see it from both sides. " 'Bloodline' is written from a perspective of frustration and a reluctance to accept the current state we all live in. The song questions the media, and how during such a dark time people seemed to be more divided than ever, rather than come together," says Torres. "It asks the question of whether or not we can learn from history, or if we are doomed to repeat it. I wanted it to connect to the listeners who couldn't help but worry about what is going to happen next and whether or not we can rely on the current state of media and information to be prepared for it."
To me, this line in the song portrays the effect the media can have on people: "Welcome to hysteria Incapable of learning from the past Welcome to dystopia Where everybody's in it for themselves." Our reaction is described like this: "We are so vulnerable our lives are digital It's plain to see that we've forgotten how to use our senses They watch us from the sky too scared to ask them why We're giving up and giving in we never read between the lines" The official music video for "Bloodline" was shot and directed by Eric DiCarlo and it's very fitting. The band is playing in a black room, with the only lighting being red neon in the background. In addition, there are scenes of Torres writing in either a notebook or journal in a candlelit room. Perhaps he is writing lyrics, or in a diary expressing his feelings about the world we live in. It's simple yet meaningful at the same time.
Awake At Last has live performances coming up. Beginning on June 16th they take to the road with Icon for Hire, and Sumo Syco. More new music will be on the way, and the songwriting will show a deeper, darker cut of what the past couple of years have been like for Torres. You can find Awake At Last on Facebook, the band's website awakeatlastrock.com, and Spotify.