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Megalithic Symphony
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on January 31, 2012
This band is rising fast!... Every few years a band comes along that changes the alternative music scene, and becomes an inspiration for many new bands to come... I think AWOLnation may be one of those bands...

AWOLnation has a truly original sound and unique voice in Aaron Bruno (signer / lead songwriter) His vocal skills are eminent and range a variety of genres... he can sing catchy melodies, break out into staccato vocal beats, rise to epic emotional rock screams, drop back into a rap line, and then into a multi piece gospel harmony with backup vocals and instruments... and often, all these vocal styles in a single song. The result is a great variety and range of pace and emotion.

The rest of the band is very good as well.. including Blind Melon guitarist Chris Thorn... and even though the music is heavily Pro-Tools produced, AWOLnation manages to pull off really great live performances.. (check out YouTube for various live tracks) .... the true test of their musicianship.

In addition to nailing the cross pollination of several genres, writing catchy melodies, and having great production values, I will also say that this band does a great job of writing songs that "breathe" well... they deftly allow space in between beats and melodies to give the downbeats and changes a great effect. Translation: They get your head bobbing!

The entire album is very good... I've listened through it several dozen times now. It's well worth the purchase.


-> "SAIL" (5/5 stars)
Their first single / radio hit... a dark sounding song combining ripping electronic synth bass, staccato string chops, catchy guitar arpeggios, and a combination of great vocal melodies and heavy angst filled vocals. This was the song that convinced me to buy the album in the first place... probably like most.

-> "GUILTY FILTHY SOUL" (5/5 stars)
I loved this song as soon as I heard it... opening with a catchy guitar riff that breaks down into a killer beat. Great vocals and vocal variation. Great melodies, interesting lyrics, catchy electronic synth piano, and production effects. I'd say this is the best track on the album. iTunes says I've listened to it 37 times.

-> "NOT YOUR FAULT" (5/5 stars)
Their latest single / radio hit... Features a great combo of synth keyboard and bass parts, with a variety of genres. Great vocal performance with heavy angst filled chorus and catchy melodic verses. Its a fun, dancey song. Great recording/production.

These songs caught my interest and replay buttons after the second or third listen through.

-> "KNIGHTS OF SHAME" (5/5 stars)
It's not often that a 10+ minute song is even attempted by bands these days... indeed, anything longer than 5 minutes is rare... it goes against commercial recommendations of the labels, and basically guarantees no radio play... which is too bad, but thats for another discussion. Knights of Shame is an epic song that goes through many great sections. This song showcases the huge variety of sound that AWOLnation is able to produce. Electronica, Pop, Cartoon Indie, Drum and Bass, Rap, Funk, Gorillaz-esque Hip-Hop, Rock, Space Synth... this song has a little bit of everything... and its doesn't feel gimmicky... its solid all the way through 12 min.

-> "JUMP ON MY SHOULDERS" (4/5 stars)
More great combination of shakin' beats with electronica synth and a variety of vocals.

-> "WAKE UP" (4/5 stars)
A combination of heavy beats that will shake your body and melodic Jamiroquai-esque breakdowns.

The rest of the tracks are very good as well (3/5) to (4/5) tracks. My recommendation: get this album. I appreciate it as a fan of a many genres of music, and as a musician myself.

AWOLnation is currently touring. I'm hoping their sophomore album will be as inspired as this one is, and not be too far off in the future.
29 people found this helpful
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on January 15, 2014
It's so rare for a CD to get under my skin the way this one has, but I can't get enough of it. Of course I loved the song 'Sail' and since it has such a unique contrast with sweet, almost mysterious music with angsty, sort of haunting lyrics. There's such an interesting mood there I'm not surprised the song did so well and if it hadn't charted, this gem of a CD might have slipped under my radar. I'm so glad it didn't. When I got it, I knew that wouldn't be their only sound, but I was immediately impressed by how many different styles one band can fit onto a CD.

The first two songs that really blew my mind were 'Soul Wars' and 'Burn it Down' since I didn't expect them to rock out quite so hard. My first impression was that I loved every other song, so it took a few listens to appreciate the CD as a whole. My only qualm is that at times it's a little hard to understand the lyrics, so after looking them up, it just took my love to a whole new level. There's some real depth there, not only sadness and frustration (which I get from 'Sail') but pure joy. I can't not feel good listening to 'People' or 'Jump on my Shoulders.' Maybe there's a little pop influence, but there's enough rock in there that it feels like I've been waiting for this band to drop into my life. 'Kill your Heroes' and 'Not your Fault' were automatic winners. It took awhile for 'Guilty Filthy Soul' and 'Wake Up' to grow on me but they're pretty groovy too. 'All I need' is lovely. Don't get me started on 'Knights of Shame,' which was another early favorite that blew my mind right away. It's epic and awesome and I've never heard anything quite like it. The newer songs 'MF' and 'This Kid's Not Alright' freak me out. I'm addicted and I only wish I found this little gem of a CD earlier. It might not be for everyone, especially those who want 'Sail' to be their only sound. I can't be happier that it's not.

It's simply amazing.
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on January 15, 2015
Oh my god, It has been a while since I have actually been able to listen to a "mainstream" band and be able to listen to the album beginning to end without having the urge to cut my ears off with paper guillotines (or you know, just turn it off). This review pertains to the vinyl version of this album, The vinyl is nice and thick, And arguably the best sounding pressing i have ever heard. I dont know where this was pressed, But it blows Quality Record Pressings and Mobile Sound Fidelity Labs right out of the water. It just sounds crisp, Like the music is being played right there for you. The music itself is just fantastic, These guys and imagine dragons are diamonds amongst the dung, and these are fine fine diamonds. I am not going to review track by track, For I recommend you listen to this in one sitting, It is not a collection of songs, it is a album, and should be judged as just that. If anyone is thinking of starting their own vinyl collection, I recommend starting here, Even on cheap equipment (just for the love of god, dont use crosley, i good rule of thumb is if you can hear the vinyl playing, with no speakers attached, and the lid closed, and you are on the other side of the room, you should not be able to hear it clearly) Ion is usually an untrustworthy brand, but their profile pro turntable is only $40-$70 and has a diamond needle. (can be found here and you can also transfer vinyl to mp3, But i paid $100 for my vinyl setup (just do your research kids). It sounds great. I cant wait to see what awolnation does next.
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on May 7, 2014
I love this album because it reminds me of Summer 2014, when I discovered it. Every song, from short-and-random "Some Sort of Creature", to strange-sounding "Guilty Filthy Soul", to the killer ballad "All I Need", to long [but definitely the best song on the album] "Knights of Shame", is good. The deluxe songs are great, too.

HOWEVER, I do need to say that there are some songs that definitely are not G-rated. They are "Jump on my Shoulders," "Burn it Down", and "MF."

Jump on My Shoulders is mostly a great song, so I won't worry if you are sensitive to swear words. But turn it down when the 'synthesizered' voice says "It's not supposed to be easy!" Because he says, afterwards, "That's why it feels so freaking good!" The one in Burn it Down is hard to hear, but if you want to know, Aaron says it after saying "Burn it Down" 6 times in a row towards the end of the song. MF is just full of swear words, so you should just take that one off the album.

But overall, the album is great! If you like rock, hip-hop, dance, techno, and screams [which there are a LOT of], then this is the album for you.
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This artist or person depending on how you look at it combines mutiple styles of music within one CD not many artist do that now a days. I will give my honest viewpoint of what I think of this album, track by track.
Track One: Good musical intro with the artist name thrown into the music
Track Two: A filler and not a very good one at that makes you go really why is it here
Track Three: Soul Wars, A song that has a good beat and makes you feel like getting up and dance to the beat
Track Four: People, A song that makes you feel like you want to get up and sing the lyrics as he sings them and something you might hear within a church with the chorus
Track Five: Jump on my Shoulders, Another good song on this CD makes you think of Robin Hood because of the chorus take from the rich give to the poor, plus has a very nice beat in the song also to make you feel good
Track Six: Burn it Down is the title of this song and we all feel angery enough to want something to burn down from time to time
Track Seven: Gulity Filthy Soul makes you realize when your feeling down and see the trueself that is you
Track Eight: Kill your Heroes a Pop-Rockish song that the lyrics make you go did he really just say those words
Track Nine: Another filler that makes who wonder why it's on the CD
Track Ten: Sail, The main reason most people buy this CD because it's an amazing song and intresting lyrics all the way threw to the end of the song
Track Eleven: Wake Up, Another feel good song that makes you want to dance to or groove to on the dance floor
Track Tweleve: Not your Fault, Pop Rock feel to it and makes you see how he feels about the person he is talking about on the song
Track Thirteen: All I need, Softer side of the singer based on the lyrics makes you feel good and makes you want to smile also something you might hear in a church
Track Fourteen: Knights of Shame, Intresting lyrics from both male singers and a female singer plus the music styles within the one song sounds almost rap, rock, and pop within one song, but I do believe the song should have eneded at the 11 minutes and 40 second mark instead of going onto almost 15 minutes
But overall a four star CD I take one star off for track two and nine because they are fillers, But rest of the CD is quite amazing great lyrics and amazing mixture of styles of music all within the one CD look forward to more music by the artist.
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on January 30, 2015
Honestly, stop reading this. If you have a good turntable and speaker system -- buy this. It is simply amazing. The whole album is great. These days its damn near impossible to find an album that is worth listening from start to finish. Music Producers want to pump out music as much as possible at the cost of quality. This is not the case. Start to finish it is phenomenal. The sounds are so crisp on the vinyl. So stop reading - and buy!

Also, if you do buy this - make sure to order it form a record retailer online that specializes in vinyl sales. Amazon's packaging is subpar. The jacket came dented and frayed. So if collecting is your thing, and making sure you keep the quality and integrity at near mint condition - then do NOT buy from Amazon. Buy this in store or at a specialty retailer online. The extra $5 spent will go a long way - trust me. I am 100% dissatisfied by the shipping. I would have made this review a 3 star due to this, but did not want to take away from the actual physical product and music - so 5 stars it is.

Cant wait for the new album next month! (March 2015)
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on May 14, 2012
I bought my tickets to see Neon Trees and saw them on May 7th. However, I bought the tickets the day they went on sale, and noticed there was some band called AWOLNATION opening for them. I figured I would see if it was worth going early to the show, so I looked them up. Never heard of them and played all the preview tracks, and was intrigued enough to buy this album. Out of nowhere, they zoomed up to the level of the Trees, and more for me. All I can say is that this was a double billing, and they are no opening act.

Ever since I downloaded this in early March, I have played the album endlessly. So much so, I had to put Neon Trees and AWOLNATION in a playlist so I didn't forget to listen to both. And I LOVE Neon Trees.. but this took me by surprise. Yes, "Sail" is the "hit".. but again, I never heard the damn song until I bought the album, and had no idea it was even a hit. Every track is infectious, and so much more than this one song. There's one song called "Wake Up" that I literally had looped, played over and over and over walking and working out. By far my favorite track. At the concert, they played most every song, and wouldn't you know it, they did not play "my song"! But it's okay. It was a crazy scene, people jumping and screaming, and they even got a bit moshy with people floating around the crowd, including the lead singer, Aaron Bruno.

So, there are plenty of whiners that say the whole album is not like "Sail", and it's true, there are elements of it, but it's part of an interwoven collection of moods. It's truly an "album" to be played from beginning to end, but you will hit repeat song many times. Other than an EP containing a few of the songs on this album, this is their first. But not the first from Bruno. I had to dig for more, and his band before this was Under The Influence Of Giants, and I bought the CD. Once again, different, but with the same pattern of moods. And before that, his band was Home Town Hero, which I am off to buy now... and sounds even more different. So, yeah, kinda obsessed with Bruno, his talent and the historic road to getting noticed. I look forward to more.

I was happy to accidentally catch AWOLNATION on Jimmy Fallon a couple days ago. Check the Fallon show site for SAIL and KILL YOUR HEROES videos.
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on May 20, 2011
My relationship with AWOLNATION actually started back in 2006 when Aaron Bruno was part of a different band called Under The Influence Of Giants. They did one self-titled album (which I own) and called it quits. In looking up what UTIOG had become I saw that Aaron Bruno had formed AWOLNATION. So I figured what the heck, and bought "Megalithic Symphony" since I liked UTIOG.

"Megalithic Symphony" is a pretty solid album with only a few missteps such as the first two opening tracks, both less than a minute each. Not a sharp way to start out. Plus the interlude at track 9. That leaves 12 tracks, and it would have been better just to eliminate those other three tracks. That being said, the only weak tracks here are "Guilty Filthy Soul" and "Wake Up". "Soul Wars" also gets a little old after repeated listens. The rest is one solid track after the next. In fact, "Megalithic Symphony" is unusually strong coming from Aaron Bruno, who is not a household name, and who has not sold millions of records.

The best thing that could be said about "Megalithic Symphony" is that it has variety and originality. It doesn't sound like anyone else, and there's plenty of memorable choruses, verses and hooks. My favorites are "All I Need" with its gospel chorus, "Burn It Down" my favorite song about arson, "Sail" with it's classical keyboard style, "Kill Your Heroes" with it's uplifting, yet somber message, "Shoestrings" with it's reminder of how family plays an important role in everyone's life, "People" with its anthemic message of hope and "Jump On My Shoulders" with its Robin Hood message to steal from the rich and give to the poor.

Finally, there's the 12 minute "Knights Of Shame". I am not afraid of long pieces (being a fan of Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Rush, ELP, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc.) "Knights Of Shame" grew on me the more I listened to the time changes, instrument changes, and tonal shifts throughout the track, it made me appreciate Aaron Bruno's musical talents. The track has a little bit of everything thrown in.

In conclusion, if you like AWOLNATION, you should hunt down Under The Influence Of Giants. Aaron Bruno also did two albums (one unreleased) with his first band Home Town Heroes back in the early 2000's.

I give AWOLNATION four stars as its not perfect or classic, but it is, for the most part, good, worthwhile indie pop not far removed from MGMT.
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VINE VOICEon June 3, 2011
"Sail", the lead single from AWOLNATION's "Megalithic Symphony", is a genre-blending atmospheric anthem. With its fuzzy sound, accessible hook and raw emotion, it instantly captivated me. It's one of those songs that demands you find out more about the artist.

The samples of the rest of the songs were also good, but I wasn't "sold". Fortunately the band posted videos online for practically all the tracks with lyrics. Truthfully, I remained unconvinced after first listen. The songs seemed a bit frenetic and all over the place. Catchy choruses mixed with raging verses and back and forth they went - abrupt changes in single songs. Additionally, I tend to appreciate, at least lastingly, more organic and less synthetic sounds. Nonetheless, the temptation remained. After a few more listens I decided to take the chance - dreading the possible disappointment of being let down by a promising new find.

Thankfully Aaron Bruno (whose appearance does not hint at his rare rock-ability) and AWOLNATION deliver abundantly on their stunningly good debut effort. He's a genius at producing memorable and catchy melodies. His vocals are first rate and diverse - from tonally pleasing screams to silky smooth refrains. I won't suggest that the lyrics are ground-breaking or profound, but they are meaningful and reflective (e.g., "My mirror disappoints me"). It's a welcome change from the trite and forgettable lyrics that dominate pop music. They successfully marry so many styles: rock, hip-hop, electronic, gospel, blues, etc. An irresistible energy permeates the project.

The artistry extends to the packaging of the product itself (for those getting the CD). The textured artwork, designs and pictures, and even the track titles being listed in code all contribute to the suggestion that maybe there's something more to this than just another rock or pop album.

I do wonder if their live sound compares favorably to the recording. I just hope to have the chance to find out. I also wonder if the appeal will last. Is this a classic album? I honestly don't know. I worry it might not be. But this I do know: it's fresh and it hits the spot right now. And that's enough.
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on June 1, 2013
Like so many others I heard Sail and checked them (him?, haven't checked wiki) out. I thought it was a good album just not worth the full 9.99 amazon and itunes asked for but once it hit the sale rack ... err page... I picked it up and found it to be a good deal. I can't listen to it from start to finish, because I don't need that much synthesizer in my life but it is pretty good in a shuffle with other stuff. Sail was a good choice for them to release as a single and to draw attention to a band that might have been overlooked during the electro pop craze. I doubt I would have given it a second glance had it not been for that and I might have missed out on some other good stuff. I don't quite get the genre smashing that is being attributed to it but I am old and jaded. When I hear a song in a mix I know immediately who and what I am listening to. I will check out the next album to see if they get the one hit wonder tag so many great songs have yielded over the years.
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