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JFH Staff Review


My Epic, Violence EP
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My Epic
Violence EP



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Indie / Rock
Album length: 7 tracks: 29 minutes, 31 seconds
Street Date: May 10, 2019


READER RATING:   


It's hard to believe that over a year has passed since My Epic released the first half of their two-part 'epic' project, Ultraviolet. Now, in May 2019, they are (presumably) bringing this endeavor to a close with the release of Violence. While Ultraviolet represented the softer side of the band, Violence is one of their hardest projects to date. The EP is a hefty enough offering, boasting seven tracks and clocking in just under half-an-hour. While My Epic doesn't shy away from their crashing guitars and raw, energetic force, there is considerably less screaming than many fans expected. (You may now breathe either a sigh of relief or disappointment.) The concept of this project explores the questions (and on Violence, the anger) raised when our faith falls short of what we thought it would be.

The album opens with "Bloody Angles," a gritty and driving rock piece with sharp lyrics: "When the wounds started showing what we keep to ourselves / we turned on each other and it all went to Hell / I can't read your signals / are we turning cheeks or tables / will our hands find one another / will we wash them of each other? Friend or foe?" The second track, "White Noises," features a guest appearance by Cory Brandan (of metalcore band Norma Jean). The aggressive song (and music video) descriptively depicts a lack of empathy and the conflicts which stem from this type of failure. The lyrics are filled with hurt, anger, and vitriol and represent some of My Epic's best penmanship: "The wars you fight are the same ones you incite / you always draw the lines with a small scope and a broad stroke / may G-d judge swiftly for the damage you've done / there's a special place in Hell for the thing you've become."

The next track is something of an odd duck. One of the album's shortest pieces, "Spit & Blood," opens with a background sound effect comparable to a low-fi hybrid of wings flapping and the grinding crunch of a late-night potato chip binge. The poetic lyrics seem to be describing man's formation and pursuit of sanctification, but the ambiguity leaves much to the imagination.

"Black Light" reflects a viciously human undertone, and flawlessly serves as the centerpiece on an album enmeshed in brokenness. Easily the album's magnum opus, the rising, falling, and flowing nature of the five-minute song effectively lassoes the listener into a story of despair and hurt: "It's been a long night, honey / I need to cry but I'm fighting it off / and you're still shaking from the blood loss / no good God would cause a thing so ugly / it leaves you cursing while you're trying to pray / this time I think they're one and the same / I hope you hate it." During last year's interview with frontman Aaron Stone, I asked about some of the thought processes that he and the band were pouring into the album. He shared several personal thoughts and stories, using much of the same language and terminology contained in the lyrics which now appear on Violence, and the story behind this song was addressed there, as well.

Following up is "Spit It Out," a fast-paced song with thoughtful lyrics ("I swore it was my war to fight / now I'm scared that we're both gonna bear the marks / too late now, there's no way to choke it down / I've got to spit it out"). The driving conclusion sees a welcome return of the band utilizing gang vocals. "Tsuneni" (yes, it is spelled that way) is another curious track. Featuring washed out and muted vocals/instrumentation, its lyrics are challenging to discern, at least in a specific sense: "React, regret, despair, forget / it gets heavier each time /revise, collect, refine, begin, / it gets lighter every time."

Violence closes with "Bad Accent," a brilliantly penned song about the misunderstandings between Christian theologies, dogmas, and relationships: "The substance and the superstition, it's hard sometimes to tell the difference / we try to say Your name; it's never quite the same." In traditional My Epic-fashion, Stone concludes the song and album with the lines, "I think I've got it down, but it shifts a little and I always have to sound it out / it's really hard to learn we're never gonna figure You out / when You sing, I cannot play the tune / but I guess someone here should leave their seat and dance with You."

My Epic deserves an immense amount of credit for tackling this project head-on. The concepts of vitriolic frustration, anger, and dismay in relation to our faith are seldom examined within the Christian music industry, especially to this degree. The band also deserves a kudos for refusing to dive into using profanity as a cheap tool to communicate these feelings. Ultimately, Violence is a phenomenal project, though it perhaps falls ever-so-slightly short of the nuance heard on Ultraviolet. The album's mixing renders the vocal track(s) difficult to understand, which I suspect is an intentional form of commentary. Nonetheless, you'll likely want your lyric booklet nearby. This EP is rife with highlights and songs which are already competing for year-end lists. If you're a current fan of My Epic, or enjoy heavy/rock music in general, this project is almost certainly for you. If you haven't already given the band an opportunity to impress, Violence is as good of a starting point as most of the band's other albums, so don't miss out on this experience.

- Review date: 5/1/19, written by David Craft of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Staff's Second Opinion



My Epic's new EP (although it nearly qualifies as a full-length), Violence, is the counterpart to last year's Ultraviolet, contrasting that collection's quiet, ambient reflections with consistently heavy expressions of anger and frustration from a Christian worldview. The relatively weakest track here, the interlude-like "Tsuneni," defines heaviness through thick and dirty synths, giving listeners a few minutes to breathe in between the chugging, distorted guitars that consume most of the other songs. The guitarists make it a habit to play the same chords and notes for longer than expected, giving the songs a unique drive that complements the pummeling drums and fantastic choruses, especially on "Black Light," "Spit It Out," and the Cory Brandan-assisted "White Noises," which all deserve to be mentioned among the band's greatest compositions, filled to the brim with provocative lyrics and questions that are brutally honest without being needlessly controversial. For my money, this EP is stronger than Ultraviolet and one of My Epic's easiest albums to enjoy on repeat, and is as worthwhile of blasting in the car as it is for sitting down to carefully read the lyric booklet. I'm not usually a big fan of EPs, but My Epic is doing it right, as this is their third time in a row to release an EP that feels complete and cohesive; but whether viewing it as an EP or an album, Violence is a masterful achievement. - Review date: 5/11/19, Chase Tremaine of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents


    Coming off of what was, for this reviewer, My Epic's most underwhelming project to date, Violence takes promising steps to bring the band out of the monochromatic pothole they found themselves in with Ultraviolet. Drawing upon a mixture of influences, from post-hardcore and post-metal, Violence is a sludgy and atmospheric experiment that fares a lot better as a standalone project than its subdued counterpart, with a lyrical perspective that is both challenging and refreshing. It is only when the dust has settled that a couple of criticisms become clear, the most demanding of those being the overly long and ultimately tiresome interludes placed on either side of the record. Aaron's softer vocals also don't possess the edge required to complement this style of music as "White Noises," which features Norma Jean's Cory Brandon on vocals, reveals. However, these criticisms don't detract from how impressive the music itself can be, which is arguably some of the band's strongest material in years. - 5/20/19 Lucas Munachen

 

 

. Record Label: Facedown Records
. Album length: 7 tracks: 29 minutes, 31 seconds
. Street Date: May 10, 2019
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon.com (CD)
. Buy It: Amazon.com (Vinyl)
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Bloody Angles (3:24)
  2. White Noises (feat. Cory Brandan) (5:09)
  3. Spit and Blood (3:25)
  4. Black Light (5:02)
  5. Spit It Out (3:39)
  6. Tsuneni (4:23)
  7. Bad Accent (4:28)

 

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