The Awakening – Shadow Call

The third single from The Awakening’s This Alchemy, Shadow Call, released as a stunning new video.

Lead singer and lyricist for The Awakening, Ashton Nyte, has been a busy young man. Right before the Covid epidemic in 2018, Ashton collaborated with Human Drama’s guitarist and Schecter Guitar’s president Michael Ciravolo on a few songs for his project called Beauty in Chaos. In that same year, he released an album with The Awakening called Chasm. In 2020, Mr. Nyte released a solo album called Waiting for a Voice with an accompanying book of beautiful writings and poems. Then, in 2021, presumably because Ashton is a fount of inspiration and hates down time, he released another record with The Awakening, the band’s 10th.

Shadow Call is the third single off the record. Ashton Nyte describes Shadow Call this way, “The song and video are essentially about dealing with depression and other forms of mental illness. I believe that if we feel safe enough to speak about these challenges, we have a better chance to cope with them and hopefully overcome them.”

The video is black and white with stunning composition. In light of Nyte’s description of the song, the video creates a world in which a person is trapped. The band is goth, the music dark and the castle sets the tone. With visual sweeps of the misty landscapes and a birds eye entry into the castle (for lack of a better term), we begin the journey of the mind.

The castle is a metaphor for the mind. Nyte, here ,is the protagonist and locked in the castle. His straight jacket and barbed wire surrounding the outer walls ensure there is no doubt. Within the walls are demonic like figures wearing masks and we travel through dilapidated tunnels leaking water. There is a sense of foreboding oozing from every frame of the video.

Nyte plays chess with a mysterious figure in black. Life, like chess, requires making the right moves. Here we get a sense of Nyte playing for his life. From there cuts between a locked prison door with a small eye view port and Nyte singing the lyrics- the mind can truly be a prison. We get a really cool, worms eye view of a corridor within the castle. It’s outside, but it’s a steep, windows adorn the walls, yet it is seemingly an insurmountable obstacle.

The video continues with dark imagery. A light, signifying hope, fizzles out and explodes. There are people in water reaching and splashing. As we see cuts of Ashton singing and playing guitar, we return to the character and chess. He removes the mask……it’s Ashton Nyte.

Again, another beautiful metaphor that we can be our worst enemy. We can work against ourselves in our fight to recover. Nyte, here, alone has little chance. His point is that being trapped in your own mind can be insurmountable on your own. Mental health requires help.

This song and video are beautifully haunting. More importantly, it’s art doing what art does best- expressing emotion and depicting the human condition in a way that makes it easy to confront. Simply stunning effort!

Check the video out here:

Not totally unrelated, there is another song that deals with mental health and uses a mansion as a metaphor. It’s by NF and called Mansion. It is completely different in terms of tone and genre, but equally powerful in message about mental health. You might check that one out.

Come back to WanderingsandWoolgathering for my music news and reviews.

Ashton Nyte – Waiting for a Voice

The time prior to an album release is kind of like being a kid a few days before Christmas. It’s not lost on me that that analogy is a bit silly considering I’m nearly 50, but it speaks volumes about my love of music and its effect on me. I’ve had this experience recently on the 40th Anniversary release of Rush’ Permanent Waves and Slipknot’s We Are Not Your Kind. And now, I’m completely chuffed about a release from a musician I only learned about a year and a half ago.

When I heard Ashton Nyte on A Beauty in Chaos‘ release Finding Beauty in Chaos, I was blown away. He was featured on Storm, which he re-envisioned and somehow made better, Bloodless and Fragile, and Finding Beauty in Chaos. I immediately searched his catalog and dug in. I found that he has 19 studio albums since 1997 both solo and in his band the Awakening. The albums are eclectic wavering between goth rock, post punk rock, straight up rock, and a little folk. As a listener, it’s exciting because you aren’t sure what you might get, other than brilliance. In the past few years, Ashton gave us a more upbeat, post punk album in Some Kind of Satellite ( and my favorite Ashton song Halo in the Dirt) and a seriously rocking song, Back to Wonderland, on the Awakening’s release Chasm.

Side Note: I wish I was aware of the Awakening in 2000. The Dark Romantics is a song that could make me visually remember where and when I first heard it.

So, that brings us to Waiting for a Voice. As I said, I wasn’t sure what to expect. His last two records, both solo and with Awakening, were a bit more upbeat. This one, like his live Facebook show, is more intimate and more poetic. That isn’t to detract from those other releases, it’s just that this one from a musical perspective, ethereal lyrics and visuals from the album and book lend itself to a soul baring bit of poetry.

Waiting for a Voice -The album opens with a short, melodic and sad song. It’s beautiful and haunting. The speaker speaks desperately to the ocean and a tearful willow waiting for a voice. It’s interesting to note the beauty surrounding him, yet he chases horizons- those things out of reach rather than reveling in what is. Perhaps, our speaker is at the beginning of a journey and is still a bit lost.

Ocean Song– Ocean Song opens with a groovy guitar and fingers sliding on the strings. The intimate nature of the song is clearly on display here as the instruments are stripped down allowing us to sit in the room with Ashton. This one is interesting in that in the album opener, he is listeneing for a voice, but here he is surrounded by voices. He needs to accept what they are saying. We can’t wait on what is not there.

This Isolation– This one opens with some beautiful guitar work with Ashton crooning over the top. It’s a sad song that offers hope. “Standing at the edge, but the story never ends.” I love that notion and the true poetic nature of those words can be used in any facet of our lives. That is the mark of an effective poet.

Has Anybody Seen My Love– Ashton begins singing here with a slight beat and chime in the background. As the first verse ends and the chorus begins, the song picks up with a heavily pronounced guitar. “My days of blurry echoes and with empty nights. The morning holds no promise without a light.” Ashton’s word play on this record is so clever. He is painting with broad strokes here so the listener can connect in a more personal way. I get the feeling that there is a very personal message here, but our message isn’t taken from us.

Dark Star– This one is a definite groover. It has a catchy guitar and vocal melody. The percussion kicks in and immediately invokes head nodding or foot tapping. Ashton’s vocals ebb and flow before a very cool keyboard-like string effect kicks in and takes this one to another level. “Dark Star in the sky, I wanted to be you. Your silent glow is so removed from the things I need to prove, from the cracks below the truth.” I’m not sure what the inspiration is here, but again, the speaker here seems to be looking outside of himself for answers. This motif is apparent throughout the album; sometimes the answers are out there and sometimes inside. The enigmatic nature will keep me guessing for a while.

I Asked For Nothing– This is a departure from the last song. It has a much more folksy feel. We continue our trip through nature. A man is washing his soul in the fountain. Again, nature may hold the key to our happiness or fulfillment. My favorite line on the album, or any other album I have heard recently appears in this song, “And there’s the truth meets pain, for comfort. We talk in rhyme just to prove we believe.” Paradoxically- I love this. Best song on the record.