My Epic

Viscera EP

Written by: TL on 18/05/2016 21:17:28

American atmospheric rockers My Epic have persisted for a while now, despite labouring mainly with a status of an underground band of moderate domestic fame. Yet the quality of their output has been quite consistent, as it continues to be this year with the release of the new EP "Viscera", following up after their third album "Behold", which is already three years old now.

The band has perpetually traded in an atmospheric, post-rockish sound, fronted by the excellent, hazy vocals of singer Aaron Stone, and together they sound highly reminiscent of later Moving Mountains material or mellower Thrice songs. And always their songs have circled around their relationship to God and Christianity, and in this they also stay consistent on "Viscera", yet the EP feels distinct from the prior album by taking departure in some of the doubts one might have in religion, exploring these at greater lengths before the songs eventually find some reconciliation with God.

Simply put, My Epic still have faith, but by exploring landscapes of doubt, their arrival at faithfulness and hopefulness feels more sympathetic and interesting, more so than bordering on preachy to those who do not necessarily share the band's convictions. And that is truly fortunate because the band is blessed with gifts of damn fine musicianship, which it would be a shame for anyone to be put off based on the subject matter.

The five songs on the EP generally fall on the mellower spectrum of the band's reach, for although the opener "Ghost Story" borrows screamed vocals towards the end from Everything In Slow Motion frontman Shane Ochsner, and although the fourth track, "Wive's Tale", drives forward at an upbeat tempo, there remains a spacious, patient feeling to all the tracks on the release, as the band take their time at bridging and escalating their songs through careful progressions. This makes for an enchanting, cinematic atmosphere where the listener has time to appreciate both the precisely layered guitar parts as well as the inspired, expert singing of Stone. It's not 'blow you out of your seat good' more 'crawl slowly up your back and make you shiver' kind of good, especially at a moment like at the end of "Ghost Story" where a delicious orchestral backdrop comes in and lifts things an extra notch, long after a memorable chorus has already been ingrained in your mind.

Of course it's judged over a smaller sample, but it generally seems from this EP like My Epic have found more consistency in terms of raw catchiness, which all songs bar the interlude "Cesura" contain a measure of, such as the haunting choir towards the end of the downplayed "Memoirs", which arrives at the long end of some echoing chords and another standout vocal part from Stone.

It's the final track "Open Letter" that really nails you, however, particularly when the second verse rises and Stone lets a bit of pain into his voice, asking "who gets acquitted when all men are felons and victims the same? I just can’t say how mercy and justice can still be consistent and both have their way", soon followed by the onslaught of a properly dramatic bit of riffage and strings. Here, arguably ironically, My Epic reach one of their most compelling moments yet, even though it may be unintended that it is the moment of doubt that becomes so strikingly captivating. It feels mature of the band, however, to try to write songs that take departure in such moments of weakened conviction, and it makes their eventual returns to faith feel more sympathetic and inspiring; Especially because their music is so well balanced between sound and lyrics, with one doing so well at drawing attention to the other, and because there's a sense of turmoil in their atmospheres that feels like it should indeed be reflected along the way in the lyrics. This feels like a missing piece that's gotten a lot closer to falling into place for the band, which figures as a strong reason for why "Viscera" ultimately feels like an EP you end up wishing had been an album.

8

Download: Open Letter, Ghost Story
For The Fans Of: Moving Mountains, Thrice, The Unwinding Hours
Listen: facebook.com/myepic

Release date 06.05.2016
Facedown Records

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