Awaken the Reason is the third album from the tech-metal monsters in Outcast, and this time around the Frenchmen have cooked up another groovy, technical, and heavy platter of extreme metal. While the band's primary influences draw from modern thrash metal, liberal dosages of Obscura-like technical death metal and groovy math metal in the vein of Meshuggah keeps Outcast from sounding like the hordes of other modern thrash outfits on the scene. Most metal listeners will notice a strong influence from the likes of Meshuggah and Gojira in Outcast's sound, and while these comparisons are completely valid, Outcast has a unique edge that gives them a rather original sound. Overall, Awaken the Reason is a pretty solid album that should appeal to fans of modern, groove-based technical thrash.
A good portion of the riffs contained within Awaken the Reason are very djenty, but unlike many other modern acts that subscribe to this downtuned, polyrhythmic style of riffage, Outcast makes these riffs groovy and infectious rather than sterile and boring. Of course, this is also due to the fact that the band mixes up the composition style quite a bit throughout Awaken the Reason - in addition to djenty riffs, you've also got plenty of full-on death metal assaults, mind-boggling technical portions, and even some melodic sections. Outcast does occasionally fall into the 'technicality before memorability' trap, but this album is generally quite interesting throughout its full duration. The amount of time-signature shifts, crushing breakdowns, and complex rhythms always keeps the listener thinking, even as their ears are being assaulted with some very dense extreme metal.
The predominately shouted vocals could've used a bit more variation, but they are still very passionate and well-executed. All in all, Awaken the Reason is a very solid effort in my opinion, and while it does occasionally sound a bit too mechanical and sterile for my tastes, the quality of this release is undeniable. Fans of Meshuggah, Gojira, and Obscura will definitely want to hear this!