Though I’ve missed the release date – a thing that I really don’t like -, it’s always a great pleasure to review the so-called big guns. Especially when it comes to bands that are references in their style as Epica, one of the most important and leading bands of Symphonic Metal. It’s no overreaction to say that they are references to a great deal of other bands in the world that will be inspired by anything they do. One of the things that I’ve noticed reviewing Nightwish and now Epica is that they are getting more sympho at times. I explain. Those two bands are using more operatic features and acquiring a more classical music approach to their music. However, this is a a two-way road. In one hand, the band shows all their prowness and technique and acquire an aura of great musicians; on the other hand, their music loses a little the punch, the aggression that is mandatory to all Metal bands. Of course, it all depends on the dose. As my fan knows the difference between the medicine and the poison is the dose. Ah, I almost forgot. They are using more the feature duel of voices between male and female, harsh and angelic, clean and gutural. However, in a band as Epica that has the marvelous and wondrous voice of Simone Simmons the choice gets so easy. It’s just let the girl shine. And she shines…
“Omega” explores all the above and all the nuances and subtle details that Simone’s voice allows. There are so many of them that it’s gets real difficult to summon them up in these lines here. Comparing it to 2020’s Nightwish’s “Human.:||: Nature” my opinion is that Epica were able to deal better with all these features. I mean, Epica wrote an album with more balance between the aggression and the sweet. There are more songs here that are really heavy and strong. Ok, this is a Symphonic Metal effort and, of course, the classical features should be abundant and, sometimes, overwhelming and tracks as “Rivers” flow easyly and calmly through the album – no pum intended. However, following track “Synergize – Manic Manifest” acquires a Power Metal aura and is fast and hard as it should be. For real the difference is Simmons’ voice. It’s really hard not to pay attention to what she does and to all the reach her voice has. Not only pitch but also versatility. So sorry, guys. Vocals do make a difference. Hell of a singer, if you ask me. And tracks go smoothly mixing the aforementioned influences and tendencies as in “Twilight Reverie – The Hypnagogic State” – even song tittles acquire here a more significative aura combining some etheric influences with more earthly things. I guess the band wanted to posit a contrast with the so simple name of the album.
I’m aware for many metallers Sympho Metal is unpalatable and disgusting, but sorry, Epica are great.
Epica “Omega” was released on February 26th via Nuclear Blast Records.
- Alpha – Anteludium
- Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity
- The Skeleton Key
- Seal of Solomon
- Code of Life
- Freedom – The Wolves Within
- Kingdom of Heaven prt 3 – The Antediluvian Universe
- Synergize – Manic Manifest
- Twilight Reverie – The Hypnagogic State
- Omega – Sovereign of the Sun Spheres
Watch “Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity” official music video here: