Do you remember the mid-2000s? When metalcore was in its infancy and bands like Escape The Fate, Of Mice & Men, As I Lay Dying, and Asking Alexandria were young and still relevant? Epidemic, the EP by St. John’s own, Elevate The Virus pays homage to my adolescence. Y’know, the years of wanting to be in a metal band, play power heavy music, play shows, and live the dream. With as much polish as the instrumental structure has in quality and musicality, the vocals, however, fall short on delivering excellence on this tribute to when metal was still heavy.
The first track, “Unbound,” had my foot tapping immediately once it kicked in, and died off quickly. I was impressed at the quality of the recording; it is very polished but I felt as though the vocals were way too quiet and unintelligible. It sounded like vocalist, Justus Adams, uses the technique of ‘vocal frys’ which, to anyone who doesn’t know, is what Austin Carlile (Of Mice & Men) sounded like nearly a decade ago. It was cool then, but it’s not cool now. This vocal technique is damaging to your throat more so than screaming from your diaphragm, and it just doesn’t sound as good.
The ending of “Remote Control Ignorance” was awesome and got me moving my head however, the following song, “Subliminal Persuasion,” sounded like five or six different songs smashed together just to stretch the length out to over six minutes. “4” is your classic, modern spin on thrash metal and was executed at a passible level, while the final song, “Herd Conformity,” sounded the most metalcore-like with fast, riffy guitars and tons of double kick (and that sounded excellent).
The reason why their score is at a mediocre level is because even though their instrumental writing is very enjoyable and refreshing for 2015, many people will gloss over this record because of the vocals’ inadequacy. If you wanna hear what As I Lay Dying would’ve sounded like with Austin Carlile, check out Elevate The Virus’ Epidemic.
Written by Rian Cunningham
*edited by Danielle Kenedy