Illenium – “Awake”

Illenium – Awake | Album Review

Nick Miller, better known onstage as Illenium, has paved an extraordinary road of success since first appearing in the dance music scene just three years ago. He has carved out a signature style of “melodic bass” that not only captivates the listener, but touches upon the rawest parts of the emotional spectrum. Last month he teased fans with a detailed track listing of his forthcoming album Awake and immediately followed up with a release of his tender love-sick ballad “Crawl Outta Love.” Awake is the sophomore album we’ve been waiting for and the 13-track emotional ride you won’t soon forget.

Besides the previously teased and released singles such as “Fractures,” “Feel Good,” and “Crawl Outta Love,” the rest of the album gives way to a varied stylistic direction but keeping the melodic aura close at hand. One of the standout tracks includes “Where’d You Go,” my personal favorite which dives straight into an explosive synth-driven drop not even 30 seconds in and gave me some serious Porter Robinson Worlds vibes. The opening bares a striking resemblance to the chopped vocal synths that introduce “Divinity,” but with a more powerful bass-line and less reliance on whimsical elements à la Porter. “Let You Go” is arguably the saddest track on the entire album. An all-around moving song, it was hard not to get lost in my feels while listening to the emotion-drenched vocals of Ember Island.

The general theme of Awake is experiencing heartbreak with many of the track names alluding to this detaching of love. And a majority of the tracks do pull on the good ole’ heart-strings, but there are a few outlier tracks that are mellow enough to listen to when you want to sit back and unwind. “No Time Like Now” uses minimal lyricism, instead opting for a set of subtle strings that calmly guide the chorus along a 2-minute ride to anywhere.

Awake is a testament to Illenium’s ability to create a chilling sound that transcends beyond a song and into an emotion-driven experience. Each track tells it’s own story about love and the overcoming sensation that is to lose it. If you’ve never experienced heartbreak, this album  comes pretty near close to the real thing.

Awake is now available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.