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Epica - The Score CD (album) cover

THE SCORE

Epica

 

Progressive Metal

3.28 | 18 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Epic Hollywood metal.without the metal

While "The score" officially forms an integral part of Epica's discography, it should not be looked upon as such. Given that the band's sound is based around progressive metal, the complete absence of guitars, drums and bass, plus the exclusion of vocals from all but a couple of tracks immediately indicates that this collection is somewhat different to the band's first two releases.

The music which appears on "The score" was written for a Dutch film entitled "Joyride", a project which began in 2002 (prior to the band's debut) but which was only completed in Summer 2004. While the musical themes which make up the 20 or so tracks here have all the epic Hollywood pomposity of "The phantom agony" and "Consign to oblivion", they are all performed by a small orchestra. As such, the album has the feel of an elongated intro to an Epica (or Rhapsody) album. This is dramatic, cinematic music, pure and simple. Most of the pieces are short, but each stands alone as a separate track. Personally, I feel the album would have worked better if an effort had been made to segue from one to the next to form a continuous symphonic whole.

There are a few highlights along the way. "Caught in a web" contains some beautiful solo violin counter-pointed by bursts of majestic orchestration. It all sounds a bit like a theme from an imaginary western, but it is pleasing to the ear. "Angel of death" comes a little closer to the standard Epica fare through the chorale arrangement, which may be played on synths. As with most soundtracks, certain themes recur throughout the album, these quickly becoming familiar.

As the concluding work on this project was happening simultaneously with the recording of Epica's "Consign to oblivion" album, there is some overlap between the two. Three songs from that album appear here, there being two versions of "Trois Vierges". On the "Consign.." album, this song was a duet between Simone Simons and Roy Khan of Kamelot. Here, Simone makes her first appearance on the album (on track 7) singing the song alone and with only orchestral accompaniment. The remaining three tracks from "Consign.." form the last three tracks on this album. Vocals are not heard again until the second version of "Trois Vierges", which this time becomes an orchestrated piano ballad. The rendition of "Solitary Ground" here is a single version of the ballad from "Consign..". The version of "Quietus" is simply an alternative take on the album recording, and as such sees us presented with a bona fide Epica number for the first time on the album.

Fans of Epica, and of symphonic metal in general should approach "Score" with some caution. While it is undoubtedly an enjoyable listen, it is in no way a metallic album and is not representative of the band's true identity.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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