Awaken I Am – “The Beauty In Tragedy” (Victory)

It only takes but a few minutes into The Beauty In Tragedy, the latest release from Awaken I Am, to realize that this is going to be an emotional rollercoaster. Dedicated to late guitarist Connor Verner-Oakley, who was tragically killed last year, The Beauty In Tragedy is an exhaustive effort in true catharsis, five tracks of sonic grieving that begins with the blatant revenge track “Kin,” clearly directed at those who caused Verner-Oakley’s death (‘it was the worst of you that took the best from me, and now I’m left paying for your mistakes, the life you took, we were a family, does it keep you up, I hope that there’s no peace,’ vocalist Jimmy Stevenson sings). It’s also fitting that “Dissolution,” the last track the band ever recorded with their late guitarist, would stand out among the album’s best. All the feels come flooding back on the massive “Indifference,” which features a soaring hook that literally jumps off the record. The Beauty In Tragedy is aptly closed by a track entitled “The Stages of Grief,” a pained anthem of the band’s new normal in the wake Verner-Oakley’s passing, which will literally bring a tear to your eye (‘does it get easier, I guess I’ve never lost someone that made me feel so whole’…‘can I find my place in a world that you’re not in’…‘what I wouldn’t give for me to take his place’…‘I can’t hear but I know you’re there, giving me strength to stand’…‘for you we’ll see this through til the end’…). The Beauty In Tragedy is more than just a tribute to Verner-Oakley, it’s a collective emotional release for anyone who has ever lost a loved one. And perhaps, just perhaps, this album is the true beauty to come from the band’s tragedy.

Go Download: “Kin”