As the Decade of Sound Awake film opens against the juddering drone of a single electric guitar note, we watch a black-hoodied figure casually lope across the glitched rainbow-pixel walkway of Perth’s State Theatre, through the automatic doors, and on towards the Heath Ledger Theatre.
A crackling voice-over of an ancient lecture on cymatics – the study and artform of making sound vibrations visible – suggests that we can see “living forms, living amoeba, almost animal-like creatures… continents being formed, the earth itself coming into existence” in the fractals of the phenomena.
It’s certainly a concept which invites itself into viewers’ minds while experiencing this live performance of Karnivool delivering Decade of Sound Awake, an event that was never intended to exist other than as a one-off livestream for the fans who never got to attend the Decade of Sound Awake Tour shows (due to COVID cancellations).
The tour was essentially an anniversary celebration of Sound Awake, the second album from the Perth band, which landed onto the Australian music community’s consciousness like a grenade in mid-2009. Levelling-up from the alt-metal of their 2005 debut Themata, Sound Awake saw the five-piece experiment with fascinating atmospherics and complex rhythms, progressions and melodies, an evolution on par with the kind that Silverchair fans witnessed between Freak Show and Neon Ballroom (1997 – 99).
The xylophone plinks of album opener Simple Boy herald the beginning of this stunning live show, in which the band perform the full Sound Awake tracklist from behind a diaphanous cheesecloth curtain (which creates fascinating shadowed shapes in purples and blues; it does fall during an especially gnarly breakdown, but we won’t ruin which one!) on the stage of the gorgeous Heath Ledger Theatre.
Witness singer Ian Kenny, guitarists Drew Goddard, and Mark Hosking, bassist Jon Stockman and drummer Steve Judd turn in some of the best performances of their careers, reveling in the beauty and the chaos of this adored album.
Meanwhile… did you know the band dropped a new track today?! It’s called All it Takes and you should watch it here.
Decade of Sound Awake is out now on blu-ray via SMEA/Cymatic.Buy now at JB Hi-Fi