Band: My Epic
Label: Facedown Records
Release Date: July 5, 2010
Review by: Alex Schelldorf
- Lower Still
- Patience and Silence
- Sound and Fury
- Further Up, Further In
Most probably, your general connotation upon hearing “Facedown Records” is that of being home to the heaviest and most reputable in the poorly-titled “Christian metalcore” genre. However, Facedown is not merely limited to this particular brand of music. An imprint of sorts on the label is Dreamt Music, home to such bands as Abel and Sleep for Sleepers, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina’s My Epic.
The band’s latest addition to their discography is simply known as Yet, the follow-up to 2008’s I Am Undone (also on Dreamt/Facedown) and the self-released This Is Rescue from 2006.
Despite being apart of the Facedown family, you’d be hard pressed to find any of the prototypical cliches associated with heavy music to characterize Yet. The album is not ‘brutal’. You probably won’t bang your head; nod, maybe. You can’t two step to it. It’s not played in drop B or F or H. It is doubtful there will be any pile-ons at one of their live shows.
Yet (see what I did there?), it has 3 of the strongest opening tunes I’ve heard in spite of its entire lack of any sub-frequencies or blast beats, with some great post-rock efforts.
The feedback at the beginning of “Author” is something of a misnomer, leading to a clean section of guitar reminiscent of Cody Bonnette’s work on the last two As Cities Burn records. To give you an idea of a close ‘aural neighbor’, I somewhat got the impression of the influence of the Silversun Pickups on this song and a few others on the record as well.
The lead track does feature some screaming gang vocals, as does the next track, “Lower Still”. Neither are overpowering or anthemic, though, nor do they feel out of place.
“Author” sets the stage for guitarist/vocalist Aaron’s Stone’s powerful words, with Stone, bassist Jeremiah Austin and drummer Jesse Stone calmly incanting:
Every good thing/every true thing
Beautiful in me is You
Beautiful in me is You
The album’s softer moments are more than enough to balance out the screaming. “Lower Still” benefits greatly from featuring the almost-haunting guest vocals of Micah Boyce from So Long Forgotten.
Last in the trio of solid openers is “Lashes”, easily the best song on the album. The song conjures up vague shades of a more contemplative Edison Glass, what with its warm, fuzzy bass from Austin. Aaron Stone recalls poignantly the emptiness of a broken relationship and strong regret for hurting wonderful creatures along the way. “I’ll catch up lovers in my wake/That I’ll consume and throw away/’Cause there’s no woman I could love more than myself”. And later, “Have I loved too many daughters to ever be whole?/I’m ashamed that you love me/Please send grace to the hearts that I stole.”
If Stone’s words are autobiographical, I truly admire his ability to be so open and sincere about something that hits close to home with a lot of people, myself included. It resonated strongly with me because it’s something rather specific I can identify with, one of the album’s lyrics’ strong attributes.
Unfortunately though, somehow the album seems to take a noticeable sag, suffering perhaps from a ‘sophomore slump’ track-wise after the beginning’s initial strength. “Rich” takes the record in a different, softer direction, which is fully realized in “Patience and Silence” and “Sound and Fury”. For me, all 3 tracks are rather forgettable, leaving me pretty full of indifference even after multiple listenings in different moods. This is not to say they’re bad songs per se, but they seem to be too much of a departure to fit the flow of the album.
“Pour” and “Ashes” pick the album’s previous energy back up. “Pour” features some nifty guitar distortion for much of the second half of the track. These 2 songs in particular make me feel like this band would have been a perfect fit to tour with As Cities Burn — not just because of their lyrics or message. “Further Up, Further In” once again switches the gears, fooling me into thinking I’m listening to newer Lydia (minus the female voice). The song is an enjoyable distraction from the rest of the post-rock, post-hardcore, post-everything else of the album.
“Perfector”, the album’s closer, builds steadily for 3+ minutes, leading to Stone’s declaration of:
Death is swallowed up
It owns nothing in me.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones.
Death has been swallowed up.
Oh, it was always You!
The production on Yet by the prolific and talented Matt Goldman (Underoath, Copeland, Oceana) is as excellent as ever. And while I wouldn’t necessarily reorganize the track placement in the middle, it is puzzling to me how the album seems to start and stop, sometimes abruptly.
Where the album truly excels, however, is in its more ambitious and thoughtful moments (such as the impossibly good mid-section of “Author”, all of “Lashes”) and the shockingly honest and humble lyrics Stone has offered up. Throughout the record, he shows himself time and time again to be a gifted and talented writer. I encourage you to check out the full lyrics of the album, as they are a real pleasure to read through.
To say that this album is a ‘grower’ would be pretty fair in my estimation. Upon my first full listen through the album, outside of “Author” and “Lashes”, I was rather indifferent and felt it to be a bit underwhelming. But further listens have proven the album to contain all kinds of solid goodies, even in the rather soft middle.
Overall: While it won’t win any Album of the Year awards, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on a few end of the year top 20 or even top 10 lists. Don’t let the review score be an indication of the album’s quality.
Oh, and Dave Quiggle’s album art is cool too.
Recommended if you like: As Cities Burn, Silversun Pickups, not ever using the word “epic” again because I’m sick of it and it’s dumb. Thanks a lot, internet.