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Kamelot - Epica CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.86 | 168 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
1 stars Bad karma

Epica is by some considered to be more progressive than previous albums by Kamelot. If there is something to this decree it is probably in virtue of two things: that it is conceptual and that it is even more symphonic or even orchestral than the previous album, Karma. While this is all true, I personally think that the musical direction remains basically the same as on Karma. This means that what we have here is just more of the same which is Kamelot's own brand of Symphonic Power Metal. I pointed out already in my review of Karma that being symphonic or orchestral should not be confused with being progressive. For me, this album comes across as more bombastic and quite overblown in a way that the previous two albums did not.

What they have done for this release is to add a conceptual element as well as several short symphonic interludes between the songs and some occasional operatic female vocals. There are also a couple of spoken word passages and small pieces of Pink Floyd-ish dialog. None of these additions are particularly successful in my opinion, and make the album a bit incoherent and lacking in direction. Apart from these supposed enhancers of their basic sound, Kamelot follow their previous formula pretty closely with Epica. Just like the previous two albums, the present one too starts with a short instrumental by way of introduction. What follows is a rather typical set of Power Metal numbers with catchy melodies and the characteristic rapid dual bass drum attack. I like this type of song to a degree, but I sometimes find them a bit tedious. Overall, I think that these songs were stronger on Karma and The Fourth Legacy.

There are however also some very good moments on Epica. These mostly come towards middle and end of the album. The first that really caught my attention was A Feast For The Vain with its excellent Flamenco-influenced (!) middle section and brilliant acoustic and electric guitar work. This song would have fitted well on The Fourth Legacy which, in my opinion, is Kamelot's best album. On The Coldest Winter Night is a very nice acoustic ballad, with an almost jazzy feel. The short acoustic guitar solo is wonderful. Lost & Damned is another strong number. The very appealing Folk influences that, for me, made The Fourth Legacy such a thrilling experience are more apparent here than they ever were on Karma. The use of the bandeón, which is a kind of Latin accordion, was probably unheard of within Metal music before the release of this album and gives a nice touch to the song. (The brilliant guitarist Al Di Meola is very fond if this instrument that brings a melancholic and nostalgic mood and maybe the Kamelot guys have been listening to Di Meola's music as inspiration?) Had only the rest of the album been as eclectic and inspired as this!

Epica is not a bad album, but it is a bit fragmented and some parts, like the spoken and orchestral parts as well as the operatic female vocals, are out of place. This makes the album occasionally come across as overblown and overly bombastic and I am left with the feeling that the band bit off more than they could chew. There are some excellent moments to be found here, but the listener must wait too long for them to arrive and they then pass to quickly.

I think I got most of the Kamelot I need from the previous two albums

SouthSideoftheSky | 1/5 |


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