First off let me get this off my chest – have we run out of cool names for rock bands? I know calling yourself anything is fraught with potential dangers, but really, is Waking Theo the best we can do? Well I guess if you’re familiar with the equally poorly monickered Asking Alexandria or You Me At Six then you’ll not be too surprised by Waking Theo.
Yes, despite having a name that suggests lunchtime in a retirement home, Waking Theo do indeed rock like bastards. This fresh faced five-piece from Yorkshire have apparently been going since 2006, incredible if you look at the band’s promo shots, as they seem barely out of their teens. However if you actually hear them, it’s clear they’ve been working on their craft for some time. Playing a very ‘now’ blend of melodic death metal with thrash guitars and hard-core attitude, Waking Theo are the epitome of modern metal.
There’s is a sound I struggle with at times, to be honest. I find Waking Theo‘s harmonic twin guitar attack can sometimes clash with the rest of the song. It’s okay when it follows the vocal lines, as it does well on the chorus of ‘To The Lions’, but when it plays counter to the rhythms of the rest of the song I find it incongruous and jarring.
Best of the three offerings on this EP is title track ‘Reborn’ where all the elements gel and the Pantera-style juddering breakdown adds some extra drama and prevents too much histrionics from the guitarists.
Metal is evolving, no doubt about it, but I have my reservations as to whether Waking Theo is taking it anywhere I really want to go. The band may ask why would you want to listen to the opinions of an old git like me, which of course they are very entitled to do. After all, the bands biog compares them to Sylosis and August Burns Red, two bands I’m afraid I’m totally unfamiliar with. Despite the worry that I may be making myself seem terribly unhip, I give this release a… 6/10.