Uncover the facets of What Defines You with Of Virtue 8.5/10
Formed in Lansing, Michigan in 2009 with the concept of bringing positivity to their listeners, Of Virtue have not travelled the easy route. With lineup changes which has seen the addition of vocalist Tyler Ennis and Kyle Pruehs on drums to founding members Damon Tate and Michael Valadez (guitars), and Jon Fox (bass) it wasn’t until their single Ghost Town, released in 2017 (which followed the album Salvation), that the band truly found their feet. Now signed to SharpTone Records, this is Of Virtue’s third full length release and hopes to be a voice in musical form for those wishing to express their innermost hidden fears, secrets, and desires and attempt to answer the fundamental question: “What defines you?”
“What Defines You is a testament to anyone who has been told to give up, been beaten down by life, for those who believe that they aren’t good enough, those who struggle to dream, or see beyond their own circumstances. With What Defines You we chose to tell ourselves that we will construct our own future, for better or for worse, through hard work, dedication, and learning from our past.”
No Control opens with judgement day-esque drums and chugging guitars before Ennis’s aggressive screams hit. It’s a monster of a track, describing the disconnection and dissatisfaction with society and self that most can relate to but with a positive message and an epic guitar breakdown.
“No Control” was written from the perspective of someone who has never fit into any specific mould. Those nights we spend awake, wandering in our own thoughts considering what we can do to change the course of where we are headed and the realisation that if we don’t do something, we are damned to repeat the same mistakes, staying in the same cycle of misery – only because we feel we have “No Control“
You can check the track out here
Alone with its dirty riffs, finger snapping and uplifting chorus is quite probably their most accessible track, focused as it is on clean vocals. More pop than the expected metalcore of the band, it demonstrates an unforeseen confidence and maturity. Suffer was the first single to drop and its brutal, industrial start transforms into something far more melancholy with its change in key and time signature it’s very impressive.
“We all have moments where we are grasping for straws, trying to make sense of the mess around us and just come up with nothing. “Suffer” was written from the perspective of someone who can’t seem to get out of their own head at times and is fed up with where their choices have led them. The song also deals with the role religion plays into this search and how people can use or attempt to pacify themselves with religion instead of taking a hard look into themselves in order to figure out the root of the pain” – Damon Tate (Guitar)
Immortal changes the pace with a track that could almost slide in among the Lost Boys Soundtrack with its 80’s gothic vibe, or even The Crow if you consider the industrial aspect. I am very much a fan of this electrifying track. Furious riffing leads into the equally furious and dangerously catchy Thanks For Nothing I’d give you anything, but you took everything. You led me by the hand and left me on my knees. Thanks for nothing!
Pictures Of You (ft. Kalie Wolfe) is more effects-driven and the additional vocals of Kalie Wolfe (of pop metal band RIVALS) adds a whole new dimension, in fact it resulted in an unfortunate rabbit hole for this reviewer as her voice is so beguiling! The contrast is sublime.
I Won’t Break crosses genres in a frantic, defiant and powerfully heavy style. With an intro somewhat evocative of Slipknot, Surrounded is a groove driven bounce with an incredibly melodic chorus. Torn Apart is a unifying anthem, which is certain to be a marvel live. Closing track Confide In Me is as aggressive and uplifting as it is empowering.
Of Virtue may have returned with what may be defined as a radio-friendly album, but certainly not mainstream radio. Perhaps it’s not the most earth shattering body of work, but it is honest and delivered very tastefully and a message of inclusivity and positivity that everyone can get behind. Uncovering the facets of What Defines You with Of Virtue has been an eye opener.
What Defines You is released May 24th and can be ordered here
- No Control 3:51
- Alone 3:34
- Suffer 3:46
- Immortal 4:30
- Thanks For Nothing 4:17
- Pictures Of You (ft. Kalie Wolfe) 4:00
- I Won t Break 3:12
- Surrounded 4:13
- Torn Apart 4:01
- Confide In Me 3:45
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