Sometimes it feels like the wave of faith-based post-hardcore bands the likes of Least of These, sosaveme, Matter, Attalus, and so on has come and gone. It’s a shame – there are plenty of bands that have opted to go to the saturated metalcore market, and it’s obvious that indie is still a thriving genre – but high-octane, technical bands with captivating lyrics have become a rare breed. DENS feels like a beacon of hope here, but they’re certainly not alone in trying to bring new life to this space.
Columbia, SC-based LEVVY isn’t too far off sonically, and I’d even argue they’d be perfect labelmates down the road. Their new EP, Bury, is unashamedly-Christ-centered on the lyrical end; musically, it’s an uncompromising mix of biting rock anthems and reverberating segues. Thematically, Bury wrestles with the concept of already, not yet. While they’re not the first band to touch the concept by any means, it’s something that feels more necessary in a world of opposing camps with equal levels of self-righteousness. LEVVY makes it clear – redemption is in fact working despite the pain around us. But they’re clear to indicate that it’s not our power that brings it to completion.
There’s a lot to love musically as well. The band leverages post-hardcore, post-rock, and even prog-flavored riffs for a result that strides the line between artsy, independent acts and bombastic radio rock. It’s a unique combo that subverts the standard modal tendencies of modern rock, hinting equally toward influences from Tool and Thrice.
“intro/already” sets the stage with minimalist ruminations of spiritual growth. It’s not a weak track in any measure, but upon the start of “Bury”, listeners will find just how hard LEVVY can hit. The title track starts off with a Manchester Orchestra-esque guitar and vocal combo, with more and more fury building with shuffling passages of spiraling guitars, bass-centered transitions, and quote-worthy lyrics.
Loss is a consequence
Of being alive
It’s a simple sentiment, but it’s one that captures the fundamental tension of being a physical person. Our most cherished experiences, possessions, friends, and family are ephemera without an eternal perspective.
“Carried Away” is even more intense, reminiscent of My Epic’s Violence EP. Buzzing guitars weave around call-and-response prog vocals for an experience that’s disorienting in all the best ways. The lyrics continue the EP’s concept, against showing the battle between what is, what was, and what will be.
Carried away like it’s the first time (I get carried away)
Carried away I lose my feet I lose my mind (carried away)
Slipping away my soul is singing – “God I need to know”
There’s some hope within these bones
LEVVY aren’t afraid to address righteous vanity – “stalk:seed” is an interlude of sorts, taking the same barren approach as “intro/already” in order to highlight its lyrical focus on this very topic. There’s a lot to note here, but consider the following lines which end the song.
More concerned with a crown than king
A lesson in my vanity
In the end I see I need
More of Christ and less of me
“Contradictions” is another raging rock powerhouse, once again spelling out (perhaps even more overtly) the tension between the identities of sinner and saint. This is definitely one of the standout tracks, showing LEVVY from all the best angles. There’s vocal and instrumental heaviness, certainly – but there are some of the most delicate and most emotional moments tossed in as well.
The EP closes on “outro”, which, unshockingly, is an outro in a similar vein to “intro/already” and “stalk:seed”. But this is perhaps the most interesting track on the lyrical end as the lyrics of the former tracks are reframed in light of eternity. It’s a great move in solidifying the continuity of the EP as a whole one last time.
Ultimately, Bury is an exciting EP for a young band that carries potential to catapult them forward. The songwriting is mature, the production is pristine, and the concept is executed incredible well. Conceptual EPs can be tricky to pull off, and having half of the songs break from the full band sound in some ways poses some challenges. It’d be interesting to see what softer tracks with full instrumentation would sound like – something like DENS’ “Are”. But LEVVY certainly capture a rare dynamic on the rest of the tracks, the sort of moments that demand a mosh pit and a literary analysis of sorts. Now, the lyrics are never too wordy in themselves – but it’s the meaning they carry that packs the real punch.
If you’re a fan of Manchester Orchestra, Tool, DENS, My Epic, or even bands like Chevelle, you’ll want to check this EP out.
Written and recorded by
Jay Hendricks – Vocals & Guitar
Kyle Smith – Drums
Tom Walsh – Bass
Matt Crawford – Guitar
Christian Tyler – Guitar
Kenny McWilliams – Keys and Guitar
Recorded and Produced by Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue Studio https://www.archeravenuestudio.com/