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Epica - Requiem For The Indifferent CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.58 | 86 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Epica's "Requiem For The Indifferent" is an album that resonates with orchestral symphonic beauty and merges with the extreme end of death metal. It begins with a choir and full blown orchestral arrangement with swooping strings and horns on 'Karma'. There is a dense choral majesty like Magma or Therion choirs.

'Monopoly on Truth' breaks into intense metal distortion and Mark Jansen's metal rasping growls as intense as Mortification or Sepultura, and this is counterbalanced by Simone Simons' operatic vocals. 'Storm The Sorrow' is another heavy blaster with power chords and intricate riffs merged with symphonic layers. Simone is capable of some exquisite beauty on vocals such as with the very pretty 'Delerium'. This has lovely ribbons of flute, creating a mesmerising gorgeous atmosphere of tranquillity, that is so tranquilising,after all the shredding.

'Internal Warfare' is a tirade of Dream Theater metal riffs, off sync and punctuated with sudden stops in the rhythm with jarring effect. The time sig is fractured and there is a symphonic orchestra that is omnipresent beneath. The stirring choirs are also a key factor in the Gothic atmospheres generated. The growling vocals are disconcerting after all the classical references but they balance it out well. The fret melting lead work is battled out with high speed keyboard fingering. Soprano vocals emanate in the choir, complimented by Simone's vocals.

The highlight is the title track where Arabian flavours are joined by a fast complex razor sharp metal riff that blazes away, then growls now and then are heard along with Simone's angelic singing. The breaks are sudden and striking, the choirs get more forceful as the melody locks in with a fast cadence. The precision galloping riffs are exhilarating. The growls snarl venomously and the sig switches into a measured rhythm. The lead guitar arpeggios and pentatonic scale is extraordinary over breakneck drumming. Then it relaxes into a measured tempo with lovely shades of flute, and sweeping strings. Simone joins the melancholy atmosphere but it is short lived and Jansen's growls return sounding angry and evil. The choirs add a sense of grandeur and cap off a spellbinding track of immeasurable dexterity and intricacy.

'Anima' is a short piano and strings interlude, a calm in the eye of the storm, that is followed by 'Guilty Demeanour', an outbreak of thunderous metal. The horns and guitars open proceedings then a tempo of complex riffs locks in, the choirs are on standby coming in at the counterpoint of strings and bass, with an incessant pounding drum. The lyrics focus on dying for all, traditional Gothic themes, "burnt and crucified, haunted and if I belong, break my back against the wall."

Acoustics open 'Deep Water Horizon', with Simone's soloing very pretty and then it builds to a stirring chorus. This has a compelling melody and even when the metal riff begins to chug it retains a haunting beauty. Serrations of violins sweep through as the pace quickens and growls return briefly. The lead break is an incredible elegant melody soaring, then a speed metal tempo shreds through, until the final section that switches time sig yet again; an incredible song from Epica.

'Stay the Course' is one of the heaviest songs beginning with rasping vox and a darkened mood of choirs competing over crunching riffs. Simone balances out the gritty distortion with her high pitched resonances. It kind of sounds like Napalm Death infiltrated the London Symphony Orchestra and Mormon Tabernacle Choir; very bizarre and extremely heavy. It ends with Simone singing some nice melodies but this is all over the place and a genuine oddity.

'Deter The Tyrant' is another metal blaster that has Jansen's growls and operatic vocals interchanging throughout. There are some narrative dialogue samples that have some political connection, and again the time sigs change constantly and within there is a powerful melody.

'Avalanche' begins acoustically with Simone softly singing a dreamy melody, "in another time you left me for someone else to serve your every need and set your world apart, the strain is now unbearable." Growls come in, the dark side of the music punching a hole into the serenity. The rhythm gets faster and symphonic strings sweep over.

The last song is 'Serenade of Self-Destruction' opening with minimalist piano and birdsong vocals. Then the violins slice along with a pounding metal rhythm. Magma choirs are heard and then the growls return. It is a trademark sound of Epica that will either grow on the listener or make them run for cover. The battle between good and evil continues with Simone duelling with Jansen. The atmosphere grows with majestic choirs, male bass sections balanced with female opera sections. It is an effective device and overseeing all is Simone's constant acrobatics. The pace quickens in an instrumental break with massive riff gallops and orchestral arrangements of cinematic grandeur.

The one thing that keeps me inspired is the merging of the two mediums as both are at the extreme ends, at polar opposites usually, but the classical meets metal surprisingly works if it is handled correctly. Epica have mastered this style along with other Gothic female fronted metal artists. I am no fan of death metal growls, and when the growls come it feels dated as prog metal is slowly pulling out of this phase, but at least Epica balance their music with complex riffs, orchestration and beautiful female vocals. "The Divine Conspiracy" is better if you are after something conceptual and progressive. Epica's "Requiem For The Indifferent" is an album that will appease their fanbase and metalheads will adore it, along with those who enjoy Gothic metal blended with orchestral beauty with an angelic vixen at the helm.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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