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