The Divine Conspiracy
Style: Symphonic Power Metal
Release date: September 7th 2007

Because this album is not easy to put into a specific category, we've decided to make this a joint venture between Peter and me (Kenn).


Prior to 'The Divine Conspiracy' I have only been briefly exposed to Epica, and their earlier albums never managed to win me so much over that I wanted to listen to a full album. And being a big fan of female fronted symphonic metal they really should be my kind of metal.

But things have clearly changed with this their first full length concept album. To label their music symphonic power metal is a bit too easy, even though the basics are strongly founded there they do add so much more. If I had describe their style it would be a symbiosis of Nightwish, After Forever, Within Temptation, Therion and a solid portion of some unmentionable black metal.

What to me really stands out on this album is the song writing - we are served with parts that would make the master himself (Christofer Johnsson, Therion) proud - the perfect example is the almost 14 minutes long title track - awesome!

Musically this album has everything a symphonic power metal fan could wish for; fast and furious parts, atmospheric and huge sound collages as well as intense and powerful passages - the technical level is very, very high and the band is tight.
If we turn our attention to the vocal department, and this is where some fans might run into some problems; Simeone Simons has one of the best voices in female fronted metal today and she shines throughout the album, no matter if it’s her clean voice, her operatic voice or her more aggressive side that is at display. As a contrast to her voice they are operating with some very harsh and extremely aggressive male voices - for most parts drifting into black metal territory. It works in some parts; in others it annoys me, because I feel they are over-doing it... Aggressive vocals are fine when used with caution - something I feel Epica fails to do at a consistent level.

That put aside, this is a very good and very intense piece of metal, which should bring much well deserved attention to Epica. This album offers so much; a great production (by Sascha Paeth), an outstanding vocal performance by Simone and a song selection that should appeal to most metal fans because of the songs have so much depth and quality.

Check it out once it's released.

Kenn (88/100)


Well... I honestly didn’t see this one coming. Epica, the female fronted Symphonic Metal band from the Netherlands is about to conquer the world with their brand new release “The Divine Conspiracy”.

I must admit that I’m only familiar with their debut album “The Phantom Agony” (2003), but this album is not above average in my humble opinion... or is it??? I do have my doubts now... because after numerous listens to their latest release “The Divine Conspiracy”, which I find awesome, I should definitely give their debut album another chance to grow on me. 

We get 13 tracks and everything from Symphonic Metal to the more aggressive stuff... namely Black/Death Metal parts. While Simone Simons’ beautiful voice hypnotize you, Mark Jensen’s grunts and growls will bring you back to reality again. I really do like the mix between the Opera/Symphonic stuff and the more aggressive stuff... a mix which makes this CD a little unpredictable and a definite joy to listen to. 

Don’t be disappointed if “The Divine Conspiracy” doesn’t hit you where it hurts after the first listen... just give it the time it needs to blossom. In my humble opinion it needs maybe 3-4 listens before it begin to really open up. There’s just so much going on in their music, melodies, harmonies and all that stuff, so give it some time. The more aggressive parts could scare some of you away but I must admit that I welcome it.  

The choruses here on “The Divine Conspiracy” are catchy and memorable and it’s hard for me to name any standout tracks because they are all quite good... but then again... track 2 “The Obsessive Devotion” and the last track (the title-track), “The Divine Conspiracy”, are a tad better than the rest. Especially the title-track is huge. Everything is present here; splendid musicianship, professionalism and an astonishing atmosphere... and a huge and very catchy chorus. 

To me this album is one of the most intense Symphonic Metal experiences I’ve ever heard.
Now I can’t wait to check out their back-catalogue.

Check it out in September!

Peter (90/100)

Label: Nuclear Blast
Distribution: VME (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Peter Laursen / Kenn Jensen
Date: July 19th 2007
Website: www.epica.nl