Awaken The Giant
Black & Blue
February 25, 2022
EP Review by Annie Schlottman
American rock band Awaken The Giant released its debut EP, Black & Blue, February 25th, 2022. The six-track EP includes a mix of heavy tunes and softer ballads with some surprising elements that will keep the listener intrigued. Awaken The Giant was originally formed in 2017 by Tab Cocchia (vocals) and Blake Suarez (guitar/unclean vocals). They were bandmates in another band, and broke off on their own to be the sole song writers and create their own music the way they wanted to. Guitarist Mike Yorks and drummer Dustin Lanier, who, like Cocchia and Suarez, were in another band together, joined Awaken the Giant earlier this year. They already knew each other from playing shows together. So far from witnessing how well this band gets along on and off stage, this seems to be a great fit for all of them.
The future for Awaken The Giant is exciting. Currently touring the south and southeast, the band recently was selected to play the Homegrown Stage at the 97.9 CPR Rocks CPR Festival in Biloxi, Mississippi April 2nd. Two of the band's songs, "I Fooled You" and "Hypnotize", have reached the number one spot on multiple radio station weekly countdowns, and the latest single, "Feel Alive", is gaining momentum. The band also recently released the official music video for "I Fooled You". In a phone interview with Suarez, he describes the band as not just hard rock, but also "alternative metal". The songs on the EP combine elements of rock, metal, and electronics. The mix of Cocchia's soulful singing and the unclean vocals of Suarez blend to form a cohesive unit. and some of the songs even have a bit of a metalcore sound to them with the combination of screams and breakdowns. The songs on the EP, all written by Cocchia and Suarez, incorporate themes of relationships gone wrong, loss and longing, as well as mental health and addiction. Suarez says, "We write our songs based on personal experiences." However, they understand that listeners will get their own interpretation of the songs, and they're happy that their music is relatable. The opening track, "Feel Alive", has an upbeat tempo with catchy guitar riffs. It is a song about mental health and the challenges of coming back from addiction to a "normal life". As stated in a release, "Feel Alive is a song about being caught up in depression and addiction, being in a crowded situation and not feeling part of it, and feeling eager to fast forward to the future in hopes of a better life and to feel alive again. With a title like "2 Pump Chump", it comes as no surprise that Suarez calls this the "curve ball" track on the EP. However, it's not just the name that makes this song unique. It's the musical elements that are intriguing. It's a fast-paced rocker, but the bridge incorporates the aforementioned electronic elements and surprising funky vocals by Suarez. It has an electronicore feel to it, as well as a heavy breakdown. I keep coming back to this song and it's become one of my favorites on the EP. The second single released by the band, "Hypnotize", is one of the ballads on the EP. It has a feeling of longing and desire to move on from a rocky relationship to something better. The band stated in a release, "Hypnotize is a song about being with someone and not having to fake it, and no longer having to prove anything because your relationship is in perfect harmony". The band released its first single, "I Fooled You", in July 2021. This song is so catchy it's no wonder the popularity of Awaken The Giant grew so quickly. Incorporating the heavy guitar riffs, vocals by Cocchia, and screams by Suarez with the theme of relationship difficulties pulls the listener in. The final line in the first verse is changed up a bit in the second, bringing to mind the question of who, if anyone, is to blame for those issues. It's an interesting twist. The other ballad on the EP is "Make Believe", and it is the perfect song to follow "I Fooled You". It's like the final chapter in the failed relationship, and a search for closure and a need to move on. This song has a darker, more melancholy feel to it compared to “Hypnotize”. The final track, "Seen Enough", is a harder song with a fast-paced bridge which has a metalcore quality to it with the unclean vocals by Suarez and a slower, intense breakdown. Suarez and Cocchia wrote the music, and the lyrics were written by Cocchia. According to Cocchia, the song is about "checking out of a relationship and never wanting to talk to that person again. Don't call, don't text. I'm done." It's like the aftermath of the failed relationship. Band Tab Cocchia -- Vocals Blake Suarez -- Guitar/Unclean Vocals Mike Yorks -- Guitar Dustin Lanier -- Drums