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Epica - Consign To Oblivion

=Staff's pick

Hunab K'u "A New Age Dawns" - Prologue
Dance Of Fate*
The Last Crusade "A New Age Dawns" # 1
Solitary Ground
Blank Infinity
Force Of The Shore
Mother Of Light "A New Age Dawns" #2
Trois Vierges
Another Me "In Lack'ech"*
Consign To Oblivion "A New Age Dawns" #3*

Genre Opera Metal
Simone Simons
Tracks 11
Mark Jansen
Runningtime 53 Min.
Ad Sluijter
Label Transmission Records
Yves Huts
Release 21 April 2005
Jeroen Simons
Country Holland
Coen Janssen
Similar artists Within Temptation, Nightwish

Epica release their follow up to the highly acclaimed debut The Phantom Agony (2003), a band that follows in the gothic/power metal trace with a female fronting in the metal tradition of Nightwish and with a more mainstream approach like Within Temptation. And I did foresee greatness from this band when they released their debut if they would be able to develop certain aspects of their sound and release another album of equal greatness and with a needed touch of progression. The music can be described as gothic operatic metal with a female fronting with occasional growls which still sounds like shit. I could, and I also will, do this very easy for me and also pitch in a good environmental deed by recycling my last review of the band that I wrote for their debut, since the band themselves seems to have been recycling their music.

The number of bands within this genre is constantly rising and now we can add another Dutch band besides Within Temptation to the list, and instead of just ripping of Nightwish, Epica actually manages to push the development further on with this kind of music.
No development has been done since then.
Simone Simons has a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice and in my opinion is the only vocalist that really is equally good as Tarja.
Yup, this is still true.

As beautiful as the female voice is, as terrible are the grunts from Mark Jansen. He may be the founder of the band but his growling techniques need to be practiced on a bit more. There is no wrong with growls in the part of the music where it is now, its simply that it sounds more like a barking dog rather than good grunts, and it sounds like he is singing from too far at the back of his throat.
Unfortunately, this has not changed.

Consign To Oblivion is very much done with orchestrated parts just like the previous album where I wrote: The sound of the orchestra doesn't take over the music or becomes too much, as it is now it helps to enhance the might of the music being perfectly balanced.
These parts are done just as great and tastefully as on The Phantom Agony.

The influences are many to find but as far as the opera go, Nightwish is a close comparison added with the mighty parts of Rhapsody, but where are the guitars? The thing that I miss the most is guitar solos, there are many places on the album where it could easily fit in, but it does not appear, but on the other hand, I find the drumming being most excellent. Jeroen Simons has a way of playing that really appeals to me.
This is also true this time, but they have come closer to Within Temptation and the complete absence of lead and solo guitars is the same for both bands.

Nightwish has set a high standard for this type of metal and Epica is the one band that is closest and perhaps even already alongside with them with this great debut, but they will probably need to make at least one more album as good as this before they will get credits for their originality, and I'm already looking forward to the follow-up because I want more of this quality.
Now that I have more of that quality, I realize it was not really what I wanted. Don't get me wrong, it still good and Epica is one of the better bands, although still trailing in the footsteps of Nightwish and has now moved towards to a sound very similar to Within Temptation.

If you liked the first album you are sure to like this one as well, it is just that I can hear the potential in this band but they don't bring it out enough.
The songs are mostly really good songs even if the ballads still is a bit too much for me, and the guest appearance from Roy Khan (Kamelot) doesn't help Trois Vierges from still being a boring ballad. The music is just as on The Phantom Agony very beautiful containing some really good heavy riffs and it still got that epic touch as their name suggests, it is just that the music from Epica felt new and refreshing the first time, but now it feels like they are stuck on repeat.

See also review of The Phantom Agony






6,5 chalices of 10 - Thomas

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