"The New Norm" (Self-released; 2017)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The thing I love about Hawaii's Kauz of Affliction is that the band pretty much defines "rough edge." The music on their CD, "The New Norm," is as raw and as coarse as can be. It's chaotic and wild. It challenges your burned-in ideas about what heavy music should sound like. It's a raging hybrid of metal and punk and it plays like a spike-gloved fist to the chin.

I also love the fact that nearly every track takes you by surprise. The title track begins with a slow intro that builds into a fiery growl. "Fistfight" starts off sounding like surf punk and then morphs into something all its own. "Beach in Hawaii" blows your mind from the beginning, with its pseudo-reggae start and its crescendo into hard rock (not to mention the surprisingly emotional vocals.)

There are thirteen tracks here and there's not one that isn't interesting, either musically or lyrically. This is a band that makes their music their way. If you're along for the ride, great. If not, that's okay, too. Kauz of Affliction are going to keep doing what they do and that's making some of the most interesting music out there. It may not be for everyone ... and that's actually a good thing!

If you're looking for a heavy music band that's different than all the rest, you just found it!

For more information, check out  http://www.facebook.com/kauzofaffliction.

"Soultaker" (Self-released; 2016)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Hawaii is known for a lot of things but one of them isn't for pumping out heavy metal bands. Then along comes Kauz of Affliction with their debut CD "Soultaker," in an attempt to change that.

Most of the time, "Soultaker" is driving heavy metal, with raunchy riffs, killer leads and a rough punk rock edge. Lead vocalist, Erik, has an angry yelling vocal style for much of the CD, but is also very versatile, changing his style to fit the song. He particularly shines on the band's cover of Rammstein's "Du Hast."

Things get interesting when bassist Justine takes over the mic. Her haunting vocals on "Glasgow Smile," make that song sound like Oingo Boingo went heavy metal. She also tears it up on a punked-up version of Scandal's "Goodbye to You." Whenever Justine makes a vocal appearance, the band's sound changes, neither better or worse, just changes.

The production on "Soultaker" is a little thin but this is a self-produced CD so I'm sure the budget wasn't huge. It's not bad, by any means, I just think it could have been (for lack of a better word) meatier.

"Soultaker" is a promising debut for a band that has some serious talent, and some seriously interesting ideas. I look forward to hearing more from them and, hey, maybe seeing them live in their home state will make my next trip to Hawaii tax deductible!

For more information, check out  http://www.facebook.com/kauzofaffliction.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2017 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 20 Aug 2018 22:57:21 -0400.