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RETROSPECT

Epica

Progressive Metal


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kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars As may be surmised from the name of this album, here we have a collection looking back over a period of time. In this case it was to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the band, and they put on a very special concert indeed to make it a memorable night indeed for their fans. Recorded last March in front of thousands of ecstatic fans at Klokgebouw (Bell Building) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, the three-hour concert (which included accompaniment from the seventy piece Extended Rem'nyi Ede Chamber Orchestra and The Miskolc National Theatre Choir) was a very special night indeed. As well as using a full orchestra and choir to enhance their own brand of symphonic metal they had Floor Jansen (Nightwish, Revamp) join them for two powerful duets, while they also performed a special performance of their breakthrough single, 'Quietus', with founding members Jeroen Simons, Ad Sluijter, and Yves Huts. Released in November as either a double DVD or double Blu-Ray set: what I have here is the triple CD version, which is some three hours long!

Simone Simons has an incredible voice and obviously relishes the opportunity to show just what an incredible performer she is. The arrangements are incredible, with songs such 'Monopoly On Truth' bringing together the power of an orchestra at speed with a rock band, as well as the choir providing support to everything that is going on. Any review of Epica is going to bring forth a comparison with Nightwish, and I found myself doing exactly the same thing throughout. In some ways this album reminds me of Nightwish's superb 'End of an Era', but while both of these are incredible performances by soprano fronted symphonic metal bands, the Nightwish album wins as in my opinion they just have better songs.

But, there is no dispute that this is quite an achievement, showing that metal and orchestras can fit well together, and in this case it sounds as if they have always been that way. I can't comment on the visual aspects, but on the sound this has to be a 4* release at least, even though I prefer Nightwish.

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Posted Thursday, January 30, 2014 | Review Permalink

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