Shane Ochsner’s brainchild, Everything in Slow Motion, has undoubtedly earned one of the most loyal fan bases on the Facedown Records roster, an iconic name in faith-based heavy music that’s yielded a number of other iconic names. (And that loyal fan base is despite only one full-length release: 2013’s Phoenix.) Prior to the outright commitment to something new, Ochsner was on the tail end of one of his earlier projects, Hands, and he was beginning to channel everything that was left in it to this new project, something that encompasses the breadth of rock music – the aforementioned EISM.
Now, after seven years without an album, the group’s second full-length album, Influence, is here. It’s no exception to Ochsner’s output: clean, powerful, technical, riff-laden, and bursting at the seams with poignant energy, mathematical creativity, and vulnerable lyricism. While some fans may miss the jagged edges and heaviness that drove the band’s last release, this record carries the confidence of an artist settling into their sound just enough to allow for innovative deviation and scenic, artistic detour.
The slow burners and hard hitters (like “Apollo” and “Influence”) showcase the band’s early-2010’s roots with refined, ambient overtones, offering moments of full grooves, catchy choruses, and a blend of textures; there is space for the bass and guitar to shine independently. “Satellite” and “Choke” take up the intensity differently with pushed cadences, excellent sound design, and harmonies that arguably verge on perfection.
But if there’s something that can be said about the consistency across the album, it’s that EISM knows how to build and release. Even when instruments drop out, there’s plenty of fullness to effortlessly carry the listener through, an effect likely attributed to the extreme care taken in the recording process. Two scrupulous years in the studio paid off in every way, from the subtle details – like the side-sticking intro on “Clementine” and the soulful grit in Ochsner’s voice on “Taking Turns” to the enormous waves of heavy guitars on “Tired Eyes” to the heavy lean-in on “End of My Rope.” Even the slight breakdown on “Penny Wish” brings the lifeblood of the band front-and-center.
With an extensive portfolio of guest spots and musical projects, it’s no wonder Ochsner’s latest collection encompasses an entire sub-universe of hard rock and post-hardcore. There is a charming balance between personal lyricism, guitar solos, and heavy riffs that keep you engaged, and that type of beauty truly leaves the experience in the hands of the listener making Influence a powerful catalyst.