without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Chasing the Dragon is the second single off Epica's 3rd studio album The Divine Conspiracy.
The first half of this single contains an edited version of the aforementioned song. It's quite a well crafted ballad featuring some very nice gentle acoustic guitar work, ethereal feeling female vocals by Simone Simons who is backed up by the always excellent Epica choir and atmospheric keyboard with some light metal riffing later on in the song. By missing the best elements of what the original had which includes the memorizing extended intro, Mark Jansen's grunt vocals and a lot of the build up. You can see at 3:08 in the edit there is an abrupt cut and a very big large portion of the original song is missing, it essentially makes the preceding 3 minutes much less meaningful. These missing parts also take away much of the feeling and impact of the lyrical subject matter of drug abuse. This song may be quite nice by itself but the original unedited version featured on The Divine Conspiracy blows it out of the water.
The second half contains the song "Replica", a cover of a band with a very mixed reaction inside the metal community under the name of Fear Factory. I know very little on the Industrial metal genre but Epica covering an industrial metal type of band may not seem like a very good decision and there is much evidence inside the song to prove that statement correct. None of Epica's major strengths are shown in this song except the choruses which Simone breaks the annoying robotic sounding vocal effects that plagues her parts earlier in the song and delivers an enjoyable segment. Mark Jansen harsh vocal performance seems to be off here as I don't particularly like the way the drags out some of the vocal lines e.g the line "There is no love" and he doesn't sound good doing it. The signature drum beat of the original is left intact here and the riffs remain loyal to the source material so nothing to complain about in those fields. Fear Factory fans may get a kick out of this cover but a large majority of the Epica exclusive fan base won't find much enjoyable here.
This single could of been made a lot better by adding the original version of "Chasing the Dragon" and by covering a band that is universally adaptable or that resembles their style of music a lot better. The edit is a nice melodic song but I suggest to you that you skip going out of your way to get this single and just grab a copy of The Divine Conspiracy so you can hear "Chasing the Dragon" in its full euphoric glory or better yet the european digipak version if you're a Fear Factory fan so you won't have to worry about missing out on a cover of "Replica".