Upon receiving the EP and giving it numerous listens, I can safely say that, while I love his previous works with EISM/Hands, I am glad that he decided to branch out and try something a little different. What resulted from this experimentation was a softer, more mature release that felt relaxing yet powerful. The EP begins with the second single, Coma, which has some excellent writing and progression. Shane has a certain flair to his writing that differentiates it from any other group or project I've encountered.
The vocals of this EP are, as expected, amazing. In the softer parts, his singing is calm and relaxing. On the heavier side, the vocals are extremely powerful and convey the frustrations and emotions that the lyrics speak of. His vocal performance hits a climax in I Am Laid Low in which he pulls off a great high scream that completely took me by surprise, followed by full vocal lines tonally screamed instead of his usual standard hardcore/metalcore screams. Even on songs like Capella, which are on the softer side, his singing goes from low register to powerful high register vocals pretty seamlessly which is rather refreshing considering most bands in this genre seem to go the more 'comfortable' route with their vocal performances.
The lyricism of Shane Ochsner is purely brilliant. Many call him a modern-day psalmist, and that comparison is rather accurate. His lyrics are very poetic and elegant, yet still get their point across. This EP seems to focus around the idea of feeling distanced from God in your relationship with Him. I know that I can relate deeply with that subject,
The composition of this EP flows up and down, and just when you think you're settling with the overall sound and feel, things change up on you keeping you on your toes. The music isn't quite as atmospheric or heavy as "Phoenix" or the debut EP, "Red", and don't expect any long, drawn out tracks. However, what it lacks in atmosphere and heaviness it replaces with matured writing, progression, and deep lyrics that are extremely relatable. It is different than anything I've heard before, yet undeniably familiar if you're a fan of Ochsner's previous efforts. If this is any sign of what EISM's next full-length will sound like, I know I'll be very happy.
9.5/10 - I wish there was a bit more atmosphere to this release like Phoenix or the Red EP, but the songwriting is still absolutely amazing.
RECOMMENDED TRACKS: All of them, but Coma, I Am Laid Low, and Runaway are probably my favorites.