CD Reviews

Epica - 'Requiem For The Indifferent' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 15, 2012    
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A complex release.

Although Epica are regulars on the Symphonic scene, they mix in elements from other genres such as doom, gothic and death metal. The group was founded in 2002 by ex-After Forever guitarist Mark Jansen who eventually recruited unknown mezzo soprano Simone Simmons. Their debut ‘The Phantom Agony’ arrived in 2003 with three more albums following between 2005 and 2009. Epica now returns with their latest record ‘Requiem For The Indifferent’.

This is a complex release and even the most noteworthy tracks have many changes within them. The first single ‘Storm The Sorrow’ turns up early and is the most commercial of the songs. The opening moments are a gothic choir/guitar affair preceding a more melodic verse with a crunching riff. The title number is another one worth turning the spotlight upon. Far Eastern wails and instruments along with a very clever riff give the feel of shifting desert sands. Suddenly the guitar veers off course into a head spinning riff before Jansen’s roars announce another style change. The chorus is an epic affair and certainly the most infectious on the album, the choir are at their gothic best and the riff is as fast and pounding as rotating helicopter blades.

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This 8 minute epic is an intricate monster but even this is out done by the most experimental track which is the 10 minute ‘Serenade Of Self-Destruction’. This multi layered beast goes from a delicate piano/vocal powered opening straight into some massive fret burning axe work. Simmons and Jansen duet in true beauty and the beast style before she takes off in a slower punchy chorus. But these examples alone fail to showcase all that Epica have encompassed in this album. ‘Avalanche’ lulls the listener into falsely thinking that it’s a slow building ballad before exploding into a powerful metal track with a quality gothic melody. ‘Internal Warfare’ and ‘Monopoly On Truth’ are furiously paced songs much in the mould of the title number. But for all the power and pace, there are also two passionate and emotional ballads as well to give the listener a breather.

Epica have again delivered an excellent album, one likely to be seen by many as their best so far. It may not immediately grab everyone but given plenty of listens it unwraps like an onion. Simmons gives a mesmerizing performance with some glorious vocal styles whilst Jansen snarls away playing the devil to her angel. He and Isaac Delahaye also put on a grand show on the six strings displaying both aggression and power. It is neither oppressive nor over bearing but just heavy enough. As with the previous releases Sascha Paeth again assists on the production side. He delivers a superbly crisp and fresh sounding album with each part perfect pitched.

If you’re a fan of Epica and their previous work, this album should knock your socks off. However if you’re someone who finds Epica’s death/operatic metal mix not your thing, that negative will undoubtedly remain unchallenged.

Dave Scott

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