home   site updates   review digest   reviews   featured artists   discussion   links   about us  
 
Description
While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

Links
Digest Index
Current Digest
Instrumental Digest
 
Epica - Requiem For The Indifferent - Cover Artwork
image © Nuclear Blast 2012

More Epica
.: reviews and interviews :.
Design Your Universe (2009)
The Divine Conspiracy (2008)
Consign To Oblivion (2005)
The Phantom Agony (2003)

Simone Simons
Simone Simons (lead vocals)
click image to visit Epica FaceBook
image © Nuclear Blast 2012

Simone Simons
Simone Simons (lead vocals)
click image to visit Epica MySpace
image © Nuclear Blast 2012

Simone Simons
Simone Simons (lead vocals)
click image to visit Epica MySpace
image © SharQ Photography 2012

 

(27 March 2012) Epica has arisen to be one of the most successful Dutch progressive metal bands of the decade. Founded by Mark Jansen, formerly with After Forever, from their debut release The Phantom Agony (2003) and supporting singles, the band drew tremendous attention by combining the stunning vocal work of Simone Simons with sympnonic metal arrangements. They followed up with two albums in 2005. The first, Consign To Oblivion, continued to build the band's sound along the same vector as their debut. The second, The Score, clearly demonstrated Jansen's desire to develop a more orchestral, classically-derived, sound.

In addition to the extensive range of singles that span the band's career, a well-filmed DVD released early in their career drew attention to their live performances outside of Holland and Germany leading to tours that reached far corners of the globe. Between albums, the band released The Road To Paradiso (2006), a uniquely created sound book to their fans' delight. Promoted a with vast tour, The Divine Conspiracy (2007) carefully blended orchestral work into their repertoire. Backed with a huge orchestra and amazing choir, The Classical Conspiracy (2009), is a 2xCD set that captures both the classical and heavy rock aspects of Epica. During this period, Epica's lead vocalist Simone Simons also contributed to the Xystus recording of Equilibrio - A Rock Opera (2008). Our three interviews with the vocalist span Epica's first three albums.

Design Your Universe in 2009 took the band to yet another high water mark. It was the Epica's fifth album and a record that bursts up boundaries and makes your breath slow down. Epica has never sounded that intensive and unique, so versatile and hymnic. Known as a perfectionist, songwriter Mark Jansen has exceeded himself and presents the most mature, heaviest and best album to date. The majestic mix of classical music, gothic and heavy metal could be the soundtrack of a fantasy epos as well. Mystical synth parts mix up with orchestral bombastic choirs and a classical set up at its best. Over the top you find the ravishing beauty and stunning vocalist Simone Simons with her operatic and dynamic voice, which enchants everybody and everything. You'll hear a wide range of her musical personalities in this recording.

Requiem For The Indifferent (Nuclear Blast (USA), NB 2558, 2012) is Epica's fifth studio album. The album's fourteen original tracks run for about 80 minutes. Fronted by Simone Simons (vocals) and led by Mark Jansen (guitars, grunts and screams), the Epica line-up is completed by Coen Janssen (synths and piano), Yves Huts (bass), Isaac Delahaye (guitars) and AriŽn van Weesenbeek (drums). Requiem For The Indifferent was produced, mixed and mastered by the legendary Sascha Paeth at The Gate Studio in Wolfsburg, Germany.

When asked to put listeners inside one of the songs from the new album, Simone said in a recent interview, "Regarding, 'Serenade of Self-Destruction,' I am a movie freak and I saw this movie. It's called Shogun, and I like the Japanese culture and the samurai and the suicide ritual. The song has a Japanese feeling. I wanted to write about it, it's about suicide seen through different perspectives of culture, like for samurai, it's about preserving honor, or it can be about tan individual who is not happy with life anymore. There is also 'Storm the Sorrow,' which was written by our keyboardist for our bass player, since he has a certain rhythm and we wanted to write a song about it." Read the rest of the interview here.

Requiem For The Indifferent is full of the band's now trademark hymns, significant lyrics and powerful guitar riffing. Epica's sound of course also includes cinematic interludes and Simone Simons' angelic voice. Her crystalline vocals grace the songs of the album that vary from hard metal-edged rock to anthems, hymns and ballads. The new album is it is a very logical step from Design Your Universe. It is an album which has to grow on the listener, so make sure to give it a plenty of time to get the whole picture.

Epica has mixed hard, technical and fast with intimate and slow, with as good as everything in between. However, on Requiem there are the huge contrasts as well. The album takes a journey through brutal metal, sweet melodies, technical instrumental passages, theatrical moods, epic orchestration, varying vocal ranges, catchy tunes and complex songwriting. Listen for the richly arranged harmonious choral parts on the album as well.

Epica connects all these extremes flawlessly, making this a more dynamic, more versatile, more detailed, more style transitions than their earlier outings. All of this is actually an accumulation of individual talent, as the band is comprised of several of the finest musicians around. Fronted by Simone Simons, who has an extremely diverse, unique and enchanting voice is supported by an outstanding lineup. AriŽn Van Weesenbeek, one of the best drummers in the metal scene, supported by the solidness of bass player Yves Huts. Isaac Delahaye, known for his adventurous guitar riffs and praised for his tasty soloing. Mark Jansen, main songwriter of the band, rhythm guitarist and grunter. The classically trained pianist Coen Janssen, who is also responsible for all the choir arrangements.

Requiem for the Indifferent is proof that this band is on a constant quest for renewal and that only the best is good enough. The album title refers to the end of an era. Mankind can no longer stick their head in the sand for the things that are happening around us: tensions between different religions and cultures, wars, natural disasters, a huge financial crisis. As we are all connected; the universe, the earth, nature, animals and human beings, this period in time will be the prelude to the end for those who still don't want to, or simply won't see it. A requiem for the indifferent but also a possibility for a new beginning with great new chances.

In a surprise turn of events following the release of Requiem For The Indifferent, Epica realized that the version "Serenade of Self-Destruction" on the first pressing of the CD was not the intended version thereby making it a rarity. The band and their label released the intended version digitally for everyone that acquired the original album. In addition to both versions sounding incredible, we admire how the band and the label handled this incident. Epica go from strength to strength. Bravo!

 
Ľ return to top ę
last updated on: