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JFH Staff Review


My Epic, Ultraviolet - EP
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My Epic
Ultraviolet - EP



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Indie / Alternative
Album length: 5 tracks: 21 minutes, 37 seconds
Street Date: March 30, 2018


READER RATING:   


It is no secret that creativity, depth, and sincerity have long eluded not only the CCM community, but the larger music industry as a whole. Every so often, a band or performer will rise to the occasion in attempt to remedy this deficit, but those acts are usually short-lived or far too niche (or just plain weird) for average listeners. The unfortunate reality is that people seldom want music to question their attitudes, practices, or even theology. Thankfully, bands such as My Epic are willing to consistently challenge the status quo, offering insight and conviction through their artistry.

Billed as the first part of a two-EP set, the five-track Ultraviolet sees My Epic take a notably different approach to their signature sound. Releasing later this year will be Violence, a second EP which the band has promised will contain their heaviest content yet. Both of these projects are concept albums where the band chiefly explores themes surrounding spiritual doubt. The whole of Ultraviolet features considerably less guitar and percussion work than fans have become accustomed to, but the band makes up for this with a surprisingly intricate degree of electronic elements. If we’re mincing genres, My Epic has moved somewhere into the realm of experimental ambient art rock, where the closest band comparisons would be strewn somewhere between Verona and Falling Up.

The opening track, “Of Wilderness,” also serves as Ultraviolet's first single, and simply put, is a highlight of contemporary rock music. The song’s mellow beginning draws an emphasis towards the vocals and lyrical content: “All of your bricks didn’t build it / none of your doubts ever break it / so you can talk talk all you want / I think we’re all lost till we’ve walked in the wilderness.” By the time the final chorus is reached, the steady buildup of the guitar work becomes noticeable, as do the piercing lyrics: “you can bow down all you want / if no one speaks back are you sure Someone’s listening? / If you got quiet for a moment / and finally put your faith where your mouth is / what are you afraid you will hear?” The song carries just a touch of that indie psychedelic rock sound, holding “Of Wilderness” in an odd sort of tension. My Epic makes this pairing work excruciatingly well; something few other bands could effectively pull off.

The somber and haunting track “Voices” settles in with the album’s darkly reflective lyrical content with lines such as “A Holy Ghost or just my own? / All the thoughts that haunt us most / are nothing or a Holy Ghost / but there’s nowhere to hide.” While still an excellent offering, “Voices” is probably the weakest song on the album. Located at the EP’s halfway point lies “So Be It,” a tasteful track with a smooth flow. At this point, Ultraviolet truly finds its groove and flows seamlessly into itself. This song’s lyrics continue the album’s theme (“I can’t tell the difference between my curses and my prayers / all of the stars still hang in sequences / but I don’t know this sky”), but it is the outro which most poignantly expresses the feelings of desperation: “When the tides you thought would lead you home / leave you in a world you don’t know / hope can be a heavy thing to hold / but I know I still feel it / so be it.

The fourth track, “In Absentia,” bears some of My Epic’s weightiest lyrics and melodies, exploring the agony felt when experiencing God’s silence: “Ever since the pain set in and dusk spilled over everything / of all I’ve lost the cruelest thing is that I can’t hear You.” This is also the first point on the album where a message of hope begins to shine through: “Your hand finds mine here in the dark / when I’ve no form left to hold You close / Your voice itself becomes my home.” The song steadily grows in chaos until the very end when the instrumentation drops out and vocalist Aaron Stone somberly and desperately pleads “light the darkness, light the darkness.” The final track, “Two Nights,” is a complex beast. Featuring some heavier electronic elements, it attempts to join together the many sounds the band has experimented with over the years to a magnificent degree of success. From the beginning of the EP, the thematical explorations have grown more desperate, pointed, and harsh. Here, however, some resolution begins to come to light: “I searched for all my life, it stayed just out of sight / with nothing left to try, I stared straight at the light / it burned out both my eyes / I was caught between two nights: death and waiting blind / but I finally saw in ultraviolet.” From this point forward, the song kicks the volume up a notch where fans should feel right at home with the crashing guitars. The final lyrics cement the concept of finding light amongst the darkness, and also potentially set up the next part of the dual EP project: “There’s a voice hid in the silence / there’s a vision in the violence / there’s a first kiss when the light hits / on a shattered lens a bit shines through in ultraviolet.

Ultraviolet is a magnificent EP in almost every way. Even the title of the project is extraordinarily clever: As the band explores the concept of doubt, vision comes into play, namely the existence those things which we cannot see. Ultraviolet light reveals the reality of what lies just beyond our sight, something rooted within the struggles of these songs. Compounding this astuteness is how past traces of blood can be seen under ultraviolet light, at least with the usage of luminol. Coupled together, this realization serves to perfectly complement the band’s lyrics, offering more answers than are seen at the surface level, or should I say, first glance. Ultraviolet is most decidedly a contender for the best EP —if not album— of 2018; it is with eager anticipation that we’ll wait to see if Violence holds a torch to the first half of My Epic’s project. For now, any fans of My Epic, Christian rock, or just good music in general should pick up this album and avoid missing out.

- Review date: 3/21/18, written by David Craft of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Staff's Second Opinion




My Epic is a weird band. Try pinning a genre on them and there's a song in their discography to prove you wrong. What was most pronounced to me while listening to their new EP (the first of two EP's set for release in 2018), Ultraviolet, was how the band seems to have found a completely unique dynamic. The way the band plays around with the rules of song structure and movement reminds the listener that the aforementioned rulebook... doesn't actually exist. Whatever standards are expected of a "rock" band get ignored by My Epic. They, almost flippantly, swap rhythms and song sections with no regard for how other rock bands would've played those same parts. This creates an exciting listening experience, even though these songs tend to be softer and slower than the band's earlier output; there's nothing here as heavy as 2013's "Royal" or as riveting as 2016's "Ghost Story." Granted, "So Be It" and "In Absentia" both use the elements of heavy rock, but the end result does more to create atmosphere than prompt mosh pits. Only lead single and EP opener "Of Wilderness" can be described as upbeat, and only closing track "Two Nights" sounds like rock for all of its four minutes. Perhaps My Epic is content with breaking all the rules of rock music because they don't even want to be a rock band anymore. That's perfectly fine, but overall, I'm hard pressed to argue that this short 5-song set is better than the band's previous outings. Ultraviolet has quite the illustrious discography to compete against, yet the EP is still a fascinating listen and a wonderfully welcome addition to My Epic's growing canon.
- Review date: 3/31/18, written by Chase Tremaine

 

JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents


    My Epic's latest EP, the first half of an affirmed two-part project, raises some concerning questions. How well the EP format will work for the band, in the long run, is uncertain. Although it's great that this format allows them to experiment more, unlike Viscera, Ultraviolet is ultimately an incomplete and monochromatic experience on its own. If the follow-up EP is going to be a lot heavier than this one (this one applying elements of ambient and electronic music), it does raise concern for how well its sequel will work on its own also, and how cohesive the two will be when eventually played as a whole. As for Ultraviolet itself, it is admittedly My Epic's weakest batch of songs since their debut. I hope the project will work in the end, but from here I can't quite see it. - 4/6/18 Lucas Munachen

 

 

. Record Label: Facedown Records
. Album length: 5 tracks: 21 minutes, 37 seconds
. Street Date: March 30, 2018
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon.com (CD)
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It: Amazon.com (Vinyl)

  1. Of Wilderness (4:05)
  2. Voices (4:07)
  3. So Be It (4:26)
  4. In Absentia (4:14)
  5. Two Nights (4:45)

 

 JFH Album Sample Player

 



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