Reacting to a one of my all time favorite bands in a review feels like a tall order—an order that I’m putting upon myself, but nevertheless an order.
How fitting that this release might be the most angst-ridden thing My Epic has ever released? It mirrors what I feel in trying to respond to this adequately. I mean, it is even in the title: Violence.
My Epic have cemented themselves in my personal music collection canon for one primary reason—the ability to move me. My first listen of “White Noises” didn’t quite do it, I’ll admit. I liked the aggressive grooves and call and answer vocals of Aaron Stone and Corey Brendan. Stone’s lyrical brilliance (channeled from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, he’d probably argue) is what shifts my view; “may G-d judge swiftly for the damage you’ve done / there’s a special place in Hell for the thing you’ve become.”
Wow. To whom is he speaking? This is about as close as you’ll get to seeing a Jesus follower tell a fellow human being to go to hell. Harsh, but a feeling all too relatable to many. I think of the passage in Scripture in which Jesus warns about committing the unforgivable sin: blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Christ is speaking to the Pharisees—Jewish leaders/teachers of the time, who had their priorities askew.
Not all of the commentary on the record is this abrasive. “Tsuneni” is only two stanzas long, a mere six lines. With eloquent brevity, they explore the journey down and back up that could describe a phase, or even the entirety, of one’s spiritual evolution.
Some have pointed out “Black Light” for the raw and emotional words therein—though that could describe most My Epic songs, to be fair. Perhaps the line that hits me the most in this song is “it leaves you cursing when you’re trying to pray; this time I think they’re one and the same.” In times of desperation and anger I have turned to prayer, which out loud have turned into prayer-rants complete with plenty of cursing and yelling. Irreverent? Perhaps. But I think God appreciates vulnerability.
This record isn’t something that you necessarily mosh to, but it’s a headbanger’s record for sure. Anyone remember the show Headbanger’s Ball that used to air on MTV2? I do. And I remember being awed at seeing Kutless and Demon Hunter videos featured alongside Lamb of God and Dragonforce. The album closes with two very hard hitting tracks that call attention to other bands I like and could fit on this show if they had a music video. “Spit it Out” brings to mind Underoath and “Bad Accent” brings to mind Tigerwine, with it’s sludgy, doom-like builds that feel like a foreboding storm.
What Ultraviolet began, Violence brings to completion. Do not miss this release.