Derange – ‘The Awakening’ [Review]

Derange - The Awakening

About a month ago, I watched as Derange tore London’s Boston Music Room a new one in the process of opening for underground heavyweights Dorje. To cut short a long story already told in this live review, it was immense. After that show, I had to hear more.

Fans of tech-metal stars Tesseract, Karnivool, and Periphery will feel immediately at home with The Awakening. That said, this is not just another djent-related release to toss on the “Heard It A Thousand Times Before” pile. Derange draw heavily from a vast range of metallic influences, chucking turn-of-the-millennium alt-metal riffs into the mix alongside vocalist Cat Pereira’s fantastically versatile vocals.

Opener and advance single The Thinker pulls out all the stops, the show stolen by a gymnastic guitar solo duelling with Pereira’s ultra-harsh screams. Many metal fans still sneer at bands fronted by women – but the briefest exposure to Derange will have misogynist haters choking on their words. The fact is, as a metal vocalist, Cat Pereira can do it all. Respect.

The Awakening intensifies as Echo and The Observer churn their way through labyrinthine grooves and a pair of anthemic choruses. Dynamically, Derange are a force of nature, injecting adrenaline at precisely the right moments and never ever slacking off. Moving on…

Passive is anything but. Word of warning: you may need a neck brace by the time it’s done. For me, this is one of the best tracks on the album – deep, brutal, choppy, and topped off by a level-up vocal showing. Fuck.

This Is The End brings things down a notch, branching out into expansive soundscapes and rubber-band basslines; the two-part Ruins brings to mind Dream Theater’s Home, equal parts yearning exoticism and no holds barred catharsis; The Negative tackles inner demons head on during yet another highlight run through with top-class lyrics; and The Other Side merges gritty dissonance with ultra-brutal onslaughts and a tense, ruminative, and brilliant bridge section.

Whew. The Awakening is not a journey for the faint-hearted.

Closing the whole thing comes The Awakening‘s title track. Running the longest at five-and-a-half minutes, it sounds like falling down a spiral staircase into that end-of-the-world feeling you get after an awesome album runs its course. By this point, Derange’s Tesseract influence is crystal clear – but hey, Tesseract are sick, so who cares? Intelligent, honest, authentic; you couldn’t ask for more from a metal band, and by the time The Awakening is done, you’re left in no doubt that Derange are the total package.

Overall, The Awakening is a stunning debut. It feels a lot like the first Avengers movie: epic on its own, but also a clear indicator that the bar will be raised in the future. Derange could take their sound in any number of directions – and (as there always is with any creative project) there’s some room for improvement, too. Derange’s masterpiece is still to come – but absolutely owning it on album one is a real rarity, and deserves recognition and respect.


Was this review on the money or off the mark? Leave a comment, follow TMMP via Twitter and my brand new Facebook pageand let me know!

Derange official website.

Buy The Awakening via Derange’s online store here, and listen via Spotify below.

Posted on 04 January 2016

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