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Kauze - "Epiphany" (CD/EP)

Kauze - "Epiphany" CD/EP cover image

"Epiphany" track listing:

1. Diabolic Possession
2. The Cure
3. Parallel
4. URA
5. Turning Point

Reviewed by on February 11, 2010

"You can't deny Kauze rocks mightily on 'Epiphany.' But here's hoping its members' next epiphany is one that lets them carve out a greater sense of their own identity on their next disc."

Kauze says it best in the promotional materials for "Epiphany" when the band states that it's "in the company" of acts like Superjoint Ritual, Clutch and Down. If you like those bands, you'll probably dig these five tracks worth of groove metal that don't fall nearly as far "out of the normal confines of metal" as the band might like to think they do.

Singer Lane Steele, who founded the band, definitely has the vocal chops to do justice to the mix of sounds you're going to hear, alternating between screams and deep melodic vocals on tracks like "Turning Point." Guitarist Daisuke "Die" Wachi also gets off some great licks and solos.

In the several times I listened to the EP, I found myself wondering how much it mattered — given the technical competence and undeniable rocking — that none of these songs seemed all that original to me. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a case of being able to pick out riffs and vocals copied from other songs. It's more a case of the band deciding on a style blazed by other bands, and not diverting from it.

Take, for example, the opener, "Diabolic Possession," a post-Pantera rocker that blends super-speed verses with grinding riffs in the choruses and has Steele using the hardcore punk vocal style that Phil Anselmo pioneered in metal. You can't deny it rocks — or that your Pantera/Down/Superjoint collection is full of songs like it.

"The Cure" continues down that path, with Jesse Sanchez's bass nicely prominent in the mix. "Parallel" lets "Die" Wachi cut loose with a mighty solo that hasn't ceased blowing my mind each time I hear it. Often, a solo as speedy as this one loses aggression — but not this one.

Drummer Mike Gomez gets his chance to show off on "URA," which is a little slower than the previous three tracks. It's my least favorite on the EP, but hardly a bad track.

The band quiets things down for the opening of "Turning Point," with acoustic guitars and melodic vocals. I wish we'd heard a little more of this style of singing from Steele, whose vocal tone is reminiscent of grunge greats like Eddie Vedder and Scott Weiland here. The aggression comes back in the middle of the song, though it doesn't speed up until Wachi busts out his last superb solo on the disc.

You can't deny Kauze rocks mightily on "Epiphany." But here's hoping its members' next epiphany is one that lets them carve out a greater sense of their own identity on their next disc.

Highs: "Turning Point" and "Parallel."

Lows: Though well-performed, the songs don't chart a lot of new territory.

Bottom line: A good — if not exactly groundbreaking — groove metal EP.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)