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Of Virtue - What Defines You

Of Virtue
What Defines You
by Jon Conant at 04 June 2019, 10:02 PM

OF VIRTUE is one of those interesting bands that is able to toe the line between hard rock and metalcore pretty convincingly, dipping into both sounds without ever really fully committing to one or the other. Their 3rd full length effort, “What Defines You”, is no different and brings the usual hard rock sounds with plenty of chorus hooks and clean vocals, but also while infusing metalcore riffage, djenty verses, and breakdowns throughout.

One thing that I particularly like about this album, and what speaks to the strong foundation OF VIRTUE has as a band, is the experimentation and purposeful attempt to make the heavy riffs, djenty parts, and breakdowns as different and mixed up as possible. So many bands tend to bring the same style or pattern to all (or a lot) of their heavy moments, and it quickly creates a derivative and stale feel. OF VIRTUE very purposefully stays away from that, and it can be felt all throughout the album, for better or for worse. Each song feels a bit different and unique than the last, but it still has overall thematic connectivity from start to finish.

For my taste the back half of the album was a lot stronger than the beginning. The album opens up with “No Control”, “Alone”, and “Suffer”, 3 songs that are all a lot more commercial feeling with a more formulaic go hard heavy verses and then hooky clean choruses type of structure, particularly “No Control” and “Suffer”. I also felt a little worn out on the clean vocals. I mean they can do whatever the fuck they want, but sometimes when cleans and choruses feel really forced into a heavy ass song it kinds of throws everything off and takes a lot of momentum out of things. All 3 of these kind of had that feeling unfortunately. I’m just gonna have to be the dick who’s tired of excess cleans in heavy music I guess.

But after track 4 “Immortal” the album really opens up into a lot of different and interesting things, and generally gets more heavy and more experimental besides “Pictures Of You” and “Torn Apart” which feel like the beginning of the album, more commercial and soft.

“Immortal” was an absolute highlight, possibly favorite, and gives the album ebb and flow following the more generic beginning, transitioning nicely into the rest of the album where you find a lot more variety. It’s one of the most experimental tracks on the album, incorporating a lot of really cool electronic sounds and has a bassy djent feel to the guitar section throughout that is very interesting. It reminds me a lot of TESSERRACT, as do the clean vocals on this track. These were probably my favorite cleans on the album. The breakdown was sick, and was very purposefully different and unique, staying away from derivative monotony. I greatly appreciate that.

“Thanks For Nothing”, “I Won’t Break”, and “Surrounded” all accomplish this creativity as well, finding different ways to bring a hard and chunky edge, and being inventive and creative with the breakdowns. “I Won’t Break” was probably the heaviest song on the album, it was also one of the grooviest, it just went hard in all the right ways and served as perfect anchor at track 7. From beginning to end, the album has tons of ebb and flow and moves very easily from track to track, especially when you get to “Immortal” and beyond. The closer “Confide In Me” wraps things up nicely, in typical closer fashion covering its bases of all the sounds they have to offer. Starting off thrashy and fast, transitioning into a chunkier, groovier, more beatdown section, then a more ambient and melodic middle section with guitar solos and various showmanship, and then an epic buildup to an anthemic and melodic finish. It’s a strong way to end the album, I like it when bands do a proper closer. Album structure is critical, and OF VIRTUE pretty much nail it.

Overall, it’s a consistent and healthy album from a band now looking to make a solid name for themselves in the genre. “What Defines You” probably won’t propel them to superstar status, but they show many flashes of brilliance, creativity, interesting songwriting, and overall that they know how to put together a complete feeling full length effort.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. No Control
2. Alone
3. Suffer
4. Immortal
5. Thanks For Nothing
6. Pictures of You (ft. Kalie Wolfe)
7. I Won’t Break
8. Surrounded
9. Torn Apart
10. Confide In Me
Lineup:
Vocals - Tyler Ennis
Guitar/Vocals - Damon Tate
Guitar - Michael Valadez
Bass - Jon Fox
Drums - Kyle Pruehs
Record Label: Sharptone Records
     


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