Review Summary: Indifference.
It’s overwhelmingly clear that Dead Letter Circus’ heyday has long passed with this album. The engaging energy and passion of This is the Warning
is long gone, only to be replaced by your run of the mill atmospheric rock album. Though the downward spiral officially began with The Catalyst Fire
, even that album had gems that distinguished themselves among the been-there-done-that vibe. However, with Aesthesis
, the listener will simply find literally nothing worthwhile amongst Dead Letter Circus’ third outing. What it really comes down to is that the album is too vocally driven for its own good, with the other band members never truly getting a chance to shine like they do in songs like “The Drum” or “Insiders.” In addition to this, the band’s sound here shows a disappointing amount of stagnation and lack thereof dynamics here. Overall, the album proves to be a pleasant listen, but after the album ends, it’ll end up being quite the indifferent experience.
One of the major flaws of Aesthesis
lays in Kim Benzie’s vocals. His singing isn’t nearly interesting enough to justify the amount of time he spends spouting out average lyrics. After a while, the overemphasis on catchy melodies can grow tiresome and mundane. Take lead single “While you Wait” for example. There’s truly nothing worth delving into, with the band’s instrumentation being stripped down to basic guitar melodies. The chorus, though catchy and fun upon a first listen, really gets old after a while. There are bands like Rishloo that prides themselves on their vocalist, but at least Rishloo has the vocal versatility and lyrics to back it up. The same goes for this band in a past life that was bursting at the seams with life, character and passionate energy. With this album, the band themselves just doesn’t sound interesting in conveying real emotions or even interested in general anymore.
Dead Letter Circus exists as a band that has an exceptional amount of instrumental talent despite frequent lineup changes. It would be nice if the rest of the band would get a chance to shine here. A few absorbing moments, like the beautiful percussion break in the middle of “The Burning Number” and all of “Y A N A,” are definitely the only true standout moments of the record. Other than that, this manages to blend together throughout the entire thing. No amount of catchy choruses such as the one in “Born, Pt. 2” can attempt to draw in the listener and distract from the incredibly comfortable instrumentation. Aside from the overall one dimensional vibe of the record, “Y A N A” certainly proves itself to be an engaging track. Thoroughly atmospheric and beautiful, this song really sucks the listener with its spacey vibe, lush vocals and emotional acoustics closing out the song. Other than this, the listener will only manage to become engulfed in apathy.
There’s undeniably not much to say about this one because literally 90% of this record only manages to accomplish sounding exactly the same throughout. A great reviewer on this site once said that the lack of bad music on a record doesn’t necessarily make it good music. This happens to be the perfect way to encompass this record in one phrase. Listening to this will only bring about indifference and this is truly a shame. Gone is everything engaging and striking of their past. What the listener in the listener’s hands is an overwhelmingly safe record. The entire thing happens to be a nearly lifeless embodiment of atmospheric rock. It not necessarily horrible, but altogether reeks of stagnation. Judging by this record, the ultimate fate of Dead Letter Circus’ future looks pretty grim.