Photo by Cole Lewis Photography

Grieving is more like a roller coaster than a straight line.

Having all found themselves a seat on that roller coaster at some point in their lives, members of local rock band Cevilain released a concept EP all about grief. The band believes the grieving process translates well through the medium of music, to be interpreted by listeners as everyone’s ride is different.

Based on the commonly-known “five stages of grief” model by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, each song on the concept album On Death & Dying represents a stage separated by short interludes.

The first song, “This Is How It Ends,” opens with ticking that is later heard in the last track, “What Comes After,” keeping the relevance of time alive through the entire album. As you are musically guided through each stage of grief, the ticking appears as a symbol, perhaps used to remind the listener that ultimately time heals all.

But first comes denial. “This Is How It Ends,” sets the tone. The soaring vocals, harmonies, and melody are familiar to a rock fan’s ear. The screaming is clear and clean, adding the right amount of intensity and emotion to conclude the song and illustrate the pain of the first stage.

Anger is felt upon the first few seconds of track number two: “Crisis.” The second stage of grief is brilliantly portrayed in this heavy head-banger. The slapping of the bass accentuates the rhythm of the song, while the melodic vocals take you through the lyrical story. The low-rumble screaming adds texture and roughness to contrast the softer chorus. 
“Take Shelter” represents the stage of bargaining. The person suffering is looking to get out from under the dark cloud. “Save me before it tears me apart, I’m begging you to save me, lift the weight and sound the alarm,” sings Cliff Menzies. The hard rock verses lead up to a chorus that is catchy and satisfying: “Take shelter from the storm.”

We can quickly recognize the phase of depression in “The Well.” The melody of this rock ballad resonates emotions of sadness throughout, which intensifies as drums join in the second verse: “Don’t have much left, closed eyes I fall, I feel nothing at all.”

The album wraps up with the track “What Comes After,” before the final interlude. The title of this track and lyrics clearly describe the final phase of acceptance. The song cools down into an instrumental bass solo.
This concept rock album does not disappoint. The band members all bring something unique to the table. From Menzies’ vocals and Joel Lefebvre on lead guitar to Eddy Fox’s bass playing and Andrew Parmelee on the drums.

Though altogether they do share similarities to Breaking Benjamin’s sound, a group that inspired Cevilain’s music, the bass distinguishes the band from others through Fox’s saucy licks. It’s is always solid, carrying the rhythm of the songs and being a bridge between the drums and guitars. Fox’s bass playing brings all instruments together in perfect timing while managing to remain at the forefront of what you hearit’s a key element to their sound.

Through the musical journey of this EP, listeners are guided from a dark place to a hopeful one, which is what we all need in 2020. Check out On Death & Dying on Spotify or purchase the CD and merch on their website.