There are bands that hide behind a veil of religious propaganda in order to propagate themselves onto every avenue of music culture available, and though this review isn’t about that, it is about how My Epic are the opposite, some of the furthest from calloused, and the unequivocal definition of genuine. These gentlemen have always kept their word, in their music and out of it. “I have to say something because the Gospel is the only thing that matters,” explained lead vocalist and guitarist Aaron Stone in an interview with Indie Vision Music. The band are defined by three records: I Am Undone, the polarizing and near-perfect follow-up Yet, and the wonderful EP Broken Voice; each of them I revere in different respects. The latter of their releases was a significant departure from their sound, stripped down and bare bones in many ways. It relied on acoustic guitars and folkier instrumentation but was still beautiful. Behold is a return to what they’re best known for: delicate ambience with crushing instrumentation, more powerful than what may be assumed immediately.
Behold picks up where Yet left off, so to speak, continuing with a matured version of that (excuse the pun) epic sound. A brief silence followed by haunting chimes sequenced with piano is how the record begins, vocalist Aaron Stone’s voice softly commanding “Arise” before it explodes into an array of massive walls of sound. The group (now a four-piece) have never sounded so confident. Tonally, it is dense. This is in part to Matt Goldman’s (Underoath, The Earth & Everything In It, As Cities Burn) perfected recording expertise. The drums are huge and catastrophic, taking up large amounts of space in the record’s abundant mesmerizing moments. The guitars are lush and the bass is rich, and vocally – grandiose and gorgeous.
My Epic are very familiar with two aspects of their music: timing and musicianship. The former is because there are moments on this record when I just wasn’t expecting the kind of execution needed to make these songs hit hard – whether massive (“Royal”, “Hail”) or hushed (“Approach”, “Selah”), the emotion is the same. The latter is when they flex their ability to create immense soundscapes, (“Confession”). Every song is a gem, and unique. One of the record’s more interesting moments lies in the weirdly almost upbeat “Curse”, which shows a side of the band not exactly obvious before, even during Broken Voice’s more uplifting moments. The massive chorus of the song will leave a mark: “Yet again/they beat you down and tear you limb from limb/but I keep my peace and my distance.”
The aforementioned genuineness and humility gives their songs so much more character, and the brutal honesty that prevails is even more assuring, such as in the gorgeously shaking “Selah”: “I want to be forgotten/and be fully eclipsed in/just the gospel and it’s sweetness/that and nothing more.” Being able to completely submerge yourself in your faith can be disastrous or incredibly rewarding, but only depending on your attitude and your actions, and these gentlemen, in an increasingly more narrow-minded culture, are remembering the steps necessary to set an example for those pursuing it for the right reasons. When those with that integrity set that kind of example with their music, it’s impossible to find any reason to bash that, regardless of whether or not I agree with their beliefs.
Many bands before them have set out to conquer these same ideals, these same conquests, leaving their own unique, personal footprint. My Epic, in their path, are creating cathartic, immensely powerful, and career-defining music. In the final moments of Behold’s closer “Arrive”, everything converges into one moment of pure, blissful, sound. Suddenly happiness sweeps in, goosebumps rise over every square inch of my body, and I am whole. This is a band that will make you feel something. This is a band that’s going to leave their own footprint. This is a band that is going to change things.