Beyond The Epilogue – Self Titled EP
The term one man band these days generally brings a listener to the assumption that said band is a guy in his room making “˜Djenty’ stuff. So it was a bit refreshing to discover that this one man band was tackling something nowhere near Djent. Beyond The Epilogue is the brainchild of Brian Skeel, who as the term would imply tackles everything from writing to performing on this album, save for a few guest spots.
When I initially saw the track count I was happy to see eight tracks, but then wondered why it was called an EP. I quickly noticed that there are only three original tracks, followed by three instrumental versions of those tracks, and two remixes. Things suddenly made more sense. Still for the price of free you are getting a solid amount of material.
The album starts with the song “˜Unconquered’, which is an upbeat energizing song with a really catchy lead guitar part. At first listen, I could not shake the thought that this guy is a major Dream Theater fan. Skeels’ guitar chops are pretty impressive and I could easily see him playing alongside the likes of John Petrucci. He gives us a solid solo in the beginning and towards the end we meet our first guest performer Ryan Schmidt who also kills it on guitar.
As for vocals, I’m also reminded of Dream Theater because at times Skeels’ voice reminds me a lot of James LaBrie’s vocals. Although Skeel does add some screams here and there, which is a welcome touch. The female vocals, provided by Savannah Freeman, are fairly prominent and I have to say at first I wasn’t all that in to them, but after a few listens they really grow on you. Her voice adds a great layer of emotion to the two songs she is on, especially “˜Discretion Of Evil’.
Lyrically speaking, as far as I can tell at least, there doesn’t seem to be any concept as a whole, but everything feels well written. The opening lyric for “˜All This Time’ is particularly amusing though “˜Every rose has it’s thorn, every thorn thinks he’s funny as hell.’
Overall, Beyond The Epilogue shows great promise, and manages three very solid songs that feel complete and flow well. The instrumental versions of each track only help to prove how well the songs are written musically because even without the vocals, they don’t seem to lull and are able to keep the energy of their vocalized counterparts. Just one listen to the instrumental version of “˜Unconquered’ will make it impossible for you to get the opening guitar riff out of your head.
As for the two remixes, those will be take it or leave it for many I imagine. I grew up listening only to techno and can honestly say I don’t mind a good dubstep song. These tracks are actually translated fairly well into electronic songs, which may be attributed to the fact that they contain many electronic elements. But if dubstep and/or remixes in general aren’t your thing you can just skip these over. After all, the tracks are free.
Brian Skeel’s work is definitely promising and I hope to see him create more work with Beyond The Epilogue. If you are fan of Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, or Porcupine Tree, you’ll definitely want to give this EP a listen through.