(That Which Defines Us)
A Perfect Circle, Breaking Benjamin, Linkin Park
Not one of our favorite genres to be honest. Often characterized by lyrics and vocals that are over dramatic, hammy and often theatrical. The four-piece band hailing from Los Angeles, California certainly have put in the efforts of striving for the American dream. The band signed to their own record label, Kaum Records and are currently self-managed. In addition, the band was successful in funding the making of its acoustic CD/DVD titled The Acoustic Sessions through the use of their kickstarted.com campaign.
Lead singer Malcolm Guess has distinguished pipes much akin to the dude in Linkin Park (not the rapper). His vocals are very consistent and he does a nice job infusing some softness to songs with mixed tempos. Prior to the making of That Which Defines Us the band apparently went on an exotic trip through Thailand and other parts for inspiration. As a result, they have infused ancient instruments like the dulcimer, Indonesian Gamelan and Indian tabla. A nice touch and when accentuated the instruments do peak the listeners interest. What lacks here unfortunately is an identity. Songs throughout the album tend to come off as a cover band for the likes of 30 Seconds to Mars or Breaking Benjamin. While the production is good and the album is sonically pleasing, the album lacks the gumption to be different and instead becomes a hodgepodge of different melodic rock bands.
Kaura even goes so far as to emulate Tool (a big "no no") on track six, "Silence Speaks Louder". The song features the signature Tool build and culmination along with the grinding pace setting fretwork. That being said, "Silence Speaks Louder" is one of the better tracks off the album. "Apathy" and "If This Were to End" are also some of the more intriguing tracks. And folks, yes, there is a hidden track (have not seen that one a thousand times before), entitled "." and it starts off with space and silence for about 14 minutes then morphs into a nice instrumental arrangement. Filler crap that just annoys us these days... no the album is not 79 minutes long, it is in reality 59 minutes long. This also causes frustration when you are in shuffle mode.
Fans of 30 Seconds to Mars, Linkin Park or Breaking Benjamin may appreciate this album if they are looking to expand their similar band collection. Kaura does have some very nice moments on the album and we can probably pull some tracks that are arguably better than the aforementioned forefathers of this genre. Its been more than two years since signs of life from Kaura, but perhaps they are looking to reinvent themselves and hopefully 'That Which Defines Us' becomes less of that which defines them. - 7/9/2014
One Becomes Two
Silence Speaks Louder
2C and b
If This Were to End
A Lament for Change
Standout Tracks: Silence Speaks Louder