Monday, November 1, 2010

CD Review: Kaura - That Which Defines Us

I've watched Kaura (pronounced kay-aura) for the past five years and always thought they had something unique and special. With the release of their full-length album That Which Defines Us, the Berkeley-based band has proven to me that it was worth the wait! The band was nice enough to send me a free copy of the deluxe CD/DVD package and I've been enjoying it ever since.

Kaura is comprised of Malcolm Guess (vocals, guitar, tabla), Benjamin Jones (drums, percussion), Adam LaBay (bass), Ben Rojas (guitar), and Yosh (hammered dulcimer, gamelan, percussion); all very talented musicians that together create a unique musical voice. Kaura takes the haunting hard rock sounds that Tool made famous with Undertow and redefines the sound with the melodic, ethereal twist of ancient instruments, such as the hammered dulcimer and gamelan bells.

That Which Defines Us starts off strong with "Sera Phi" and "One Becomes Two," two hard-hitting songs that really stand out. I'm also a big fan of the lyrics, guitars, and keys in "Epemeral Fall" -- it comes across as a very spiritual song with a poetic message. The song that caught my attention back in 2005 was "Silence Speaks Louder" and is still my absolute favorite. I really love the intricate percussion and hammered dulcimer work within the song, plus it's such a beautifully composed song with all it's changes that lead to such an epic climax that grabs you mind, body, and soul!

"Alarmico Saturn" is one of the more melodic, softer songs on the album that really shows-off the ethereal beauty of their ancient instruments. "2 C&B" starts off with heavy guitars but leads into a very melodic song with a catchy chorus. For those of you that love the softer side, I urge you to listen to "If This Were To End," probably the most heavenly song on the album -- it makes me feel like you were floating on clouds with cherubs singing around you. The album ends with the ballad "A Lament For Change" which flows into blank space followed by the secret song instrumental outro.

Kaura is definitely a band worth watching; they've already been invited to open for Tool, Rob Zombie, and Godsmack by Bill Graham Presents, and had A Perfect Circle’s Paz Lenchantin play on their self-released EP. Plus their recording process included sessions with Tool and System of a Down Producer/Engineer Sylvia Massy-Shivy, who's work I've also been a fan of.

Follow them on Twitter: @KauraBand


Kaura That Which Define's Us SPECIAL EDITION

Kaura | Myspace Music Videos

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