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EPIC(A) - 95%

Cloud0129, December 12th, 2012

Goodness, what was I missing out on? This Dutch band, named after a Kamelot album, has surprised me with this masterpiece, considering that I'm not the biggest symphonic metal fan. (Though I don't think it's an awful genre.) From the lovely Simone Simons' angelic opera vocals to Mark Jansen's solid death grunts and the classical composition playing alongside the rocking riffs and great drumming, there isn't much to miss.

Requiem for the Indifferent is not just a symphonic/gothic metal album, it also has influences from melodic death metal, classical music, and progressive metal, and yet still sounds coherent and cool. Just listen to the title track or "Monopoly in Truth" and you'll get an idea of what I mean. The riffs are surprisingly heavy considering the genre and quite catchy to boot. The intro riff in the second track has a very clear melodeath influence, being much faster than what you'd expect from standard gothic metal. The rest of the song that are on the heavier side instead of the more melodic, softer ones, are also quite catchy. Guitar soloing here is average but not offensive not detracting. At least they decided to simply go with the flow instead aimlessly shredding to show off. Drumming sounds really goddamn heavy as well on said heavier parts- an example of the superb drum-work when the time calls for it can be seen in the song "Storm the Sorrow" when Mark joins Simon later on in the song. Bass, I suppose is good, but I feel that it just follows the guitar rhythm and leads, but I suppose it doesn't detract from the songs.

Some of the songs are long, yes, which may be a turn-off to some. However, I didn't feel that the songs were tedious at all. In fact, the longer songs tend to have much more going on so it does not feel like a chore listening to these longer tracks. (The longer songs vary from 6 minutes to 9). All of the songs have some degree of atmosphere to them that captures your attention and doesn't drag on to like the later Opeth songs. I already have the longer songs being the most played on my Ipod.

Did I mention that Simone is a brilliant vocalist yet? This young woman has a very impressive range, sporting four octaves and she sounds nice to boot as well. Mark Jansen got a lot better over the years. When I heard the song "Cry for the Moon", I thought he was laughably bad there, but he sounds a lot better here. Before, he seemed to merely throw in the growls/screams for the sake of it. Here, he managed to put some charisma into them. Granted, his growls aren't as brutal as, say, Frank Mullen of Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse era Chris Barnes, but they work quite well. I guess starting a death metal side project and years of practice in previous albums made his voice increasingly better. Oh by the way, Mayan, Mark's side project, is also really awesome.

The "secondary" band isn't too bad either. When neither Simone nor Mark is doing any vocals in a part of a song, they have a small orchestra choir perform and their addition really does add to the atmosphere. It sounds like music that could possibly be played in the middle of an epic battle in a medieval fantasy setting.

I'm so glad I discovered this band. Detractors of such music can say what they will, but to me, Epica will be one of those bands I adore due to their uniqueness and beauty/sorrow. Give yourself a pat on the back Epica. You deserved it.

Best Songs
Requiem for the Indifferent
Monopoly in Truth
Serenade of Self-Destruction
Deter the Tyrant
Storm the Sorrow.