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A.C.T Last Epic album cover
4.07 | 311 ratings | 39 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro (0:48)
2. Wailings From A Building (4:21)
3. Mr. Landlord (4:40)
4. Torn By A Phrase (5:35)
5. Ted's Ballad (3:46)
6. Dance Of Mr. Gumble (2:09)
7. Wake Up (4:27)
8. Manipulator (6:13)
9. A Loaded Situation (3:29)
10. The Observer (3:07)
11. The Cause (3:26)
12. The Effect (4:39)
13. Summary (5:04)
14. Outro (1:15)

Total time 52:59

Bonus tracks on 2007 reissue:
15. Ted's Ballad (Demo) (3:39)
16. Summary (Demo) (3:01)
17. Mr. Landlord (Demo) (4:51)
18. String Medley (2:52)

Total Time (with bonus tracks) 69:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Herman Saming / lead & backing vocals
- Ola Andersson / guitar, lead & backing vocals
- Jerry Sahlin / keyboards, lead & backing vocals, vocoder, string arrangements
- Peter Asp / bass, percussion, backing vocals
- Thomas Lejon / drums

- Sara Svensson / lead vocals (12)
- Tomas Erlandsson / percussion
- Johan Ederfors / string arrangements & conductor
- Stefan Pöntinen / violin
- Kajse-Lotta Soleke / violin
- Malin Wikblad / viola
- Per Tidstrand / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Asp and Johan Lindberg with Max Alm Norell (photo)

CD Atenzia Records ATZ 02005 (2003, Sweden)
CD Avalon MICP-10349 (2003, Japan)
CD Dope Entertainment DE-17005 (2003, South Korea)
CD Inside Out Music - IOMSECD 268 (2007, Germany) With 4 bonus tracks, new cover art
CD Soyuz Music SPV 79452 CD (2007, Russia, with 4 bonus tracks)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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A.C.T Last Epic ratings distribution

(311 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

A.C.T Last Epic reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Cabaret Symphonic Prog Rock - a true masterpiece album!

Who say prog music must be dark? Well, some people do. The darker the music, it's much more prog - so they say. But A.C.T. has proved the other spectrum in which their music - most of them are upbeat and in a fast tempo - gives a humorous nuance even without having to know the lyrics. Funny, but it's very enjoyable and I started to love the band. When I look deeper in greater details on their music, it's composed neatly with an excellent melody and top notch arrangements. On the basis of tight and neat composition, the musicians deliver their contribution flawlessly. This is my only CD of the band. Previously I made a review of their debut album Today's Report on a loan basis from my prog mate's CD collection. I loved the music that's why I purchased this album from local music store where I was very fortunate that it was available down here in Jakarta for USD 19.10. Is it expensive? I don't know. It's worth the investment because I got great music! Well, Jakarta is not bad for CD availability hah? I think so. At least there are many prog stuffs down here and of course . many prog lovers. Unfortunately, very few prog bands that DARE to come here. They are so concerned about ridiculous Travel Warning issued by their Government. Come on proggers .. Don't let your fear overwhelm you, show your progness by coming to my country .!!! (BTW, every month there always be one BOYS BAND coming here. Last week there were 300 jazz artists came here to do CHARITY concert. Where are you proGGers?????). I invite proggers all over the world to do a serious meeting deciding to do a concert here. We have a great promoter down here. Don't worry .. OK? Email me now!

Back to Last Epic of A.C.T. , the following is my view. I am doing this with a labor of love because the music is damn GREAAAAAATTTTTT ..!!! (sorry, I'm not exaggerating. I urge you not to read this long and boring review, just GET THE CD MAN! You won't regret! Satisfaction guaranteed.).

Intro as the name implies, it sets the opening theme for the album. It comprises a real orchestra arrangement in an overture style. Nice.

Wailings from a Building blasts the music off with a fast tempo intro using keyboard solo as the lead, accompanied with a guitar rhythm, bass and drums performed in fast speed but it does not like a typical power metal rhythm. It's really cool intro, I would say. The music suddenly turns into quieter passage when the vocal starts to join the music. "No, it cannot be the morning light.". What's so unique is the music riffs that accompany the first singing part - it's a very neatly arranged violin / cello combined with keyboard. It reminds me to prog metal music but it's not that heavy. Oh man . it's a wonderful arrangement. For me personally, I never found this kind of music before. It sounds funny but amazing!!! The vocal is so powerful. During the interlude part, guitar does a stunning solo with no distortion at all. Well, everything in this track has been neatly arranged! Am speechless man ..

Mr. Landlord starts off with a humorous style lyrical part "You better honour him, don't jeopardize your stay. Put on that perfect smile and start sucking up! Hey! Mr. Lanlord , nice to see you again ." in relatively medium-fast tempo. WHOAAAA . man . what a great opening part. The song flows dynamically with great variations of high and low points singing style by the lead vocalist. Violin / cello plays beautifully during musical transitions. Guitar solo plays shortly with great melodies. It sounds like a cabaret symphonic prog rock music, I would say. Is there any kind of that sub-genre? I don't know ..

Torn by a Phrase - oh my GOD! This track is really killing me now. The intro is so catchy. It starts off with soft and inventive guitar riffs (oops!! Do not imagine that this is something like a prog met riffs man, it's so cool and soft). The keyboard sound enriches nicely with a beautiful repeated chords. When vocal starts entering the music, acoustic guitar and violin / cello plays beautiful music at the background. During the singing part, the music plays beautiful chords in a riffs mode. There is also a beautiful transition with classical touch and improvisations by multi instrument. Well, ACT music is so unique and I would say that it's very hard to classify their music. It's an ACT music. Probably it's not a derivative one.

Ted's Ballad begins with a violin / cello sound that brings the vocal to start mellow, in a very melodic way, accompanied with beautiful piano sound in classical vein. I thought that this is gonna be a sad song - nuance wise - but when it reaches the chorus, it does not sound that way. The interlude part explores a light orchestra arrangements dominated by cello and electric piano. Oh, what a great arrangement!

Dance of Mr. Gumble brings the music in a very fast tempo again with excellent keyboard and guitar works, composed neatly, performed flawlessly. The keyboard sound provides a symphonic nuance but with sort of soft musical riffs. The guitar solo is stunning, even though it's not a long one. It's an excellent instrumental piece.

Wake Up show-casts how the band plays the game again through providing a music that makes you laugh. Yeah . it starts simply with a reggae style man. But it's not truly reggae as the band has included orchestral arrangements as well. The interlude features guitar solo with a different rhythm section that sometimes gives me surprise such as sudden change to a quiet passage with short bass guitar solo.

Manipulator is probably the most symphonic as far as opening part. What a surprises me is then a guitar riffs followed with a powerful vocal tone. This track has a variety of melodies whereby sometime the music turns mellow with melodic vocal line backed with violin, and sometimes having heavy riffs. It's so dynamic as far as composition. I cannot picture precisely on how great the composition of this song. Top notch and very original! I cannot identify any influence by other band.

A Loaded Situation explores dynamic keyboard solo in fast speed with technical capability at its best. The music suddenly change to another form with great combination of guitar, bass, drum and keyboard. Another great instrumental piece in a very discrete structure but it produces an awesome music. I love it man ..

The Observer opens with a short choir recorded in a sound effects mode. The music flows in an upbeat tempo with an uplifting mood. Vocal plays important role where the vocalist sings in his full swing that able to bring the music dynamically. It has powerful keyboard solo and great symphony at the back.

The Cause is a fast tempo music with a combination of distanced singing style. The mood is still uplifting especially during chorus with backing vocals. This is probably the simplest form of ACT music as the composition is less complex than the others.

The Effect has different singing style; it's performed in low register notes accompanied by a nice cello works augmented with piano. The chorus brings the vocal line into a higher register notes. Light orchestra is inserted in between segments. The nice thing is that in some segments the lyrical part has a very catchy melody.

Summary is a very powerful song with great composition whereby it contains fast tempo music and melodic singing during mellow passage with excellent violin / cello. It sounds like ACT music has a very dynamic styles whereby tempo changes happen frequently and in an unpredictable way. For example is the inclusion of wonderful keyboard solo in the middle of the track that happens suddenly beyond my anticipation. Well, it's hard to say it but it's better if you buy the CD and find your own words to best describe this song's composition. Wonderfully crafted man!

Outro comprises melodic light orchestra with a short lyrics "Now you've heard a tale been told. It's up to you, could this be true".

One thing for sure that it's true: this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED album. Full five stars rating (because I cannot go higher than five!). The production and sonic quality are great. It's truly a masterpiece. Keep on proGGin' ..!!!

Yours progressively,


N.B. *** Hey, don't you realize? Sweden has produced so many talented musicians in progressive arena. I think Sweden has become the land of progressive music in this millenium. It's no longer England, I think. Or, simply put: It was invented in England, but it has grown significantly in Sweden. Probably Sweden is the highest in number of progheads per capita in the world. What do you think? ***

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Prog Metal - let's hope it's the first epic...

Here is a prog metal album that is fully worthy of the term - even if it does fall a little shy of bands such as Dream Theater in the virtuosic stakes, it more than makes up for it in terms of energy and musical ccraftsmanship.

A.C.T. out-dream the theatrical ones on many levels - not only do they understand the importance of a dramatic structure, but they understand that less really can be more in places and that light and shade are not only opposites but a broad spectrum to be used as a painter mixes oils on the canvas. They also know how to write original and damned good riffs, IMHO :o)

The Masterpiece star is lost partly because I would imagine this might have a slightly narrow appeal - fans of the seriously heavy stuff may not like it, those obsessed with complexities will not appreciate it, and those not into metal may not take to it. There are also weak points which I will describe later. However, there is a very broad appeal which makes this album well worth investigating.

Overall, there is a pronounced Broadway Musical/Circus feel to the album, and a more than reasonable variety of musical textures that are well executed on the whole, although maybe the forays into cringeworthy rock quasi-reggae territory in "Wake Up" or "The Effect" could have been ommited... This is not to say that either is a bad track - it's worth hanging in there for the guitar solo section around 2:35 in "Wake Up", which is engaging and nicely proggy in feel without being dramatically groundbreaking.

Keeping focussed on the textures, the keyboard sounds are very well chosen to accentuate the moods of the various pieces, and where cheesey sounds do drift in, one at least feels that this was intentional. Mostly the soundscape is of a highly crafted quality, often evoking Queen, ELO, Supertramp, Foreigner, Saga and Dream Theater amongst others.

But this is not some pale imitation - A.C.T. have a wide pallete of their own mixing to draw upon, and create timbral lights and shades with ease - with a slight tendency towards the light. The constant circus references in the music I think are intended to be macabre, but are possibly slightly overdone as this does not fully work for me.

Harmonically there's nothing drastically exploratory, but there are some really nice "tangs" with harmonic shift motifs that quickly become an A.C.T. trademark. These are not simple shifts to extremes, but carefully considered phrases and progressions that add real drive and freshness to the music and help to blur or accentuate harmonic bases as needed.

Melodically A.C.T. are hard to fault - there's nothing far out, but if you like your melodies to worm their way into your skull and lodge there for a week or two, then this album will occupy you for a good few months.

One other melodic area of note is in the virtuosic interjections in riffs, between phrases and liberally used as seasoning throughout this album. None feel out of place or like scale practice - all are sensitive to the music and elaborate existing thematic material in order to draw attention to the piece as a whole, rather than to the virtuoso. This is a brilliant technique that many could learn from.

Rhythmically, it's got just about everything you could want, using complexities in rhythm rather than being driven by complexity, subtle and percussive interjections and real variety through development - as opposed to the mush of bewildering changes one often hears, which is often merely a kind of bluff to hide lack of musical imagination.

The common weakness in "prog metal" is form. As a generalisation, A.C.T. aren't really any different in this - but use their techniques well to blur and hide standard formal approaches, a tradition that goes back to the prog greats and shouldn't be underestimated. This lends an organic feel to the pieces which is rare in prog metal. What is missing, as ever, is the spontaneous feel to the piece that shows that the music arose from jam sessions or interplay between the musicians. It is clear that most pieces have been crafted from the riffs up - but such is metal, I suppose!

So, in summary, a wide variety of prog ingredients are in place and mixed together well. The root is quite obviously metal, but never extreme or overly intense - yet managing to maintain a huge and "symphonic" approach where needed. Stand out tracks are "Torn By A Phrase Garden" (with a main riff that sounds suspiciously like "Cherry Red" by the Groundhogs) and "Manipulator", in an album where you could literally dip in anywhere and pull out something excellent... but not quite awesome.

I do feel a little cruel about this.

But I just can't bring myself to awarding the coveted "Masterpiece" status to this exceptionally fine prog metal album, even though it probably deserves it.

So imagine, if you will, an additional half star, for an album that is not only an Excellent addition to ANY prog music collection, a masterpiece of it's own genre or subgenre and probably other subgenres too... but for all that, an album doesn't get me singing along, jumping out of my chair, punching my fist to the skies or air-guitaring like a lunatic for whatever personal reasons I have and do not see fit to reveal.

Strange, considering that it really is very good indeed. Buy it and make your own mind up - it's certainly money well spent. The mp3 that's available here is a good representation of the overall quality of this album - so try before you buy!

Review by Menswear
4 stars It's a crazy world we live in.

With such an amount of musical diversity, this album is pretty crazy, topsy-turvy material. Not that it's psychedelic or especially innovative...but oh so original! It pops musically and right out of your stereo.

The true strenght of A.C.T. is their clerverness to match light hearted songs with total Dream Theater complexity in the same track without sounding superimposed. The tracks are smoothly going without fake time changes; the guitar played is especially skilled in this record, he's firing rounds at top speed many times. The keyboard is tasty and modern, lots of textures reminds me of nightclubbing boom-boom dancefloor music.

You can spot lots and lots of influences, but at the same time, you are so amazed to hear 'Dream Theater/ Queen/ Supertramp/ Backstreet Boys' that actually don't sound corny, it's freaking awesome! Oh yeah, I haven't felt that excited about a record in a long time!

This album is definitely my big surprise of the year (even if it's from 2003). I know I'm a few years behind, but it's better late than never!

Good, good, good.

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars It was by chance that I came across this group, and boy am I glad I did. This album quickly made it's way into my all-time favorites. What we have here is a very inventive group melding prog-metal with some cabaret sylings and occasional Queen-esque vocal parts and straight up rock. The first two albums had a similar approach, but they really proved themselves to be a brilliant and powerful force with Last Epic, which is a concept album with a very dark plot, yet immensely fun music - music-lyrics irony that reminds me of The Smiths and earlier music by The Cure. Most listeners will fail to notice the wretched tale behind all of the catchy hooks, funny surprises and fantastic solos. That's where the albums real treasures lay anyhow (not that the story itself is bad). The music is a whole lot of fun, and it is very meticulously structured to fit the concept and is performed flawlessly. Every track is entirely memorable and manages to be fun and [emotionally] powerful at the same time. Admittedly, Herman Saming's vocals may take some getting used to, but they are very fitting and well-used throughout. There are so many parts to get your toes tapping, parts that you will laugh at, parts that you will shake your head in shock and amusement, and parts that will really wrench your heart. A flawless masterpiece. I cannot express this album in words; you will just have to grab it and find out for yourself.
Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Happy happy joy joy!!

I'm so happy to know this band , i've heard some of their other albums but nothing really grabed me. this one stole my heart , this is what i call good music. the music have a bright , happy feel to it , i believe that one of the things that makes it sound like that are the vocals, it has a high pitch and feel like it's being done by a character from a cartoon , don't get me wrong it's never silly. i recently noticed by chance that 3 of the members are credited for lead vocals?! i always thought they were done by the same dude! they sound so similar. another thing is that the music is never dark it's most of the time fast and very intricate.

So what's the music like?

always maintaining a high intricate interplay between all . a lot of orchestrated pats that gives it a symphonic touch , it's groovy , great melodies , songs are truly fantastic, ant totally rocking , i wouldn't call it metalic like others stated , the guitars are not that heavy and the playing is not a riffing attack but more of guitar lines, fast complex ones ( not like petrucci ) with good taste! they have a good sense of writing songs it's done right , and very mature. one problem i had with this at start was the keyboard sound , a little bit cheesy , no warm 70's like sound in sight! , but it's all ok now once the music grew on me.

Highlights are the opener 'waillings from a building' it's a great example of their complex rhythm fused with good melody, amazing. 'ted's ballad' is just my favourite one , it shows this band really has it ,beautiful melody , violins added and although it's a ballad it is still intricate with that great bass , backing vocals are outstanding. 'wake up' is another killer track with some more complex groovy rhythm , and a good guitar solo. songs are mainly short , the music is not about jaming or one's ability to solo , it's about making good tight very effective songs. if you like that you can't do better than this!

Althought it sounds poppy at times this is still high qualiity music and very enjoyable. a very good example of crossover eclectic prog , not a masterpiece but deffinitely recommended!!

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars WYHIWYG

Swedish band A.C.T. (the band refuse to reveal what the letters stand for) released this their third album in 2003. For the first time (for them), they created a full blown concept album, the over-riding theme being the story of a building and its occupants.

Taking their influences from the lighter, more pop orientated end of the prog spectrum, A.C.T. cite band such as Muse, Saga and Electric Light Orchestra among those who have inspired them. Indeed, those familiar with ELO's "Time" album can consider that release a reasonable indication of what to expect here. Both albums consist of high quality pop songs, which blend together to form something slightly more progressive when seen as a whole.

After a brief strings section "Intro", we are immediately into "Wailings from a building", a sort of ELO meets Styx song, the melody being the ELO part and the vocal style that of Styx. And so the pattern is set for the album. We have a succession of highly melodic, instantly accessible pop prog songs. There are further suggestions of 10CC without going over the top on the cleverness, of Queen in the killer hooks, and even of the pop side of Genesis. There is nothing particularly challenging here, it is very much a case of what you hear (first time) is what you get.

There is a satisfactory diversity to the musical styles adopted, ranging (on consecutive tracks as it happens) from pleasant pop ballad ("Ted's ballad"), through heavier guitar instrumental ("Dance of Mr. Grumble") to the 10CC calypso style (Wake up"). The most prog orientated track is the 6 minute "Manipulator" which segues into the surprisingly Dream Theater like instrumental "A loaded situation".

In summary, an enjoyable if somewhat lightweight album. The band are clearly highly capable in terms of both composition and execution. It would be interesting to hear the results were they to really challenge themselves.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars Last Epic's ho-hum first impression as a pop album is stripped away with each successive listen, revealing a quirky, buoyant, and intricate concept album with memorable melodies and a depth uncommon to its approachable sound.

The first and most prevalent key to this success is the snappy songwriting, which takes the listener on an enjoyable journey through big, made-for-FM hooks, ballads, and intense instrumental passages. The sample song here on PA is a good example of what one can expect. The variety alone is a big selling point, but the fact that the band itself is quite excellent makes everything that much better. Each member of the band cooks, with Andersson's guitar standing out with rhythmically dexterous leads, heavy and at times a little bit metal, but never overbearing; solos are smart and frequent, and his playing never tries to steal the show. I was also impressed by the rhythm section, which is exceptionally intricate and precise. Combine this with heavy use of varied synthesizer for textures and melodies and we've got a complex web of sounds hidden beneath an outwardly popish veneer.

Vocals deserve special mention as well, since a big part of ACT's sound is the exuberant voice of Saming. The biggest part of Last Epic's outwardly pop sound is due to his singing, which is very catchy and genuinely fun to listen to. He sings a lot, so be prepared. Fortunately he's quite good, and belts out the leads throughout, with some eccentric vocalizations adding much to the variety.

A worthy listen, unique for its intense pop sound and tight, intricate playing which rewards many plays and road trip sing-alongs.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yes! Crazy, that's the word that fits here perfectly. Because from beginning to end, this is big ride of insanity, even it's quite pleasant one. Quite a lot. Because we're talking about third in a row of half crazy / half insane (remember, I see these words as synonyms) album here, intended to be just for the pure beauty of it. And again, things that are melodic are tended to be rated lowly, because of pop leaning. No way, I feel absolutely calm here, even more than with their previous one. And having emphasis on melodies isn't crime, as a lot of people are trying to persuade us. Let's unite and join our group against these prejudices, we're on every social site like, facebook, myspace (just kidding, don't worry).

4(+), but I was serious about melody factor here. It's alfa-omega here, it stands and falls with it. By my opinion, these intelligent and mature tunes are pleasant for soul and interesting enough to be listened by proggers. It's well wrapped present, in a shiny paper with flitters and these sh_ts, but inside, it's even better. Much better. It's unexplainable, but be sure that this had hit me straight to the heart.

EDIT: It seems almost funny how crazy I was about this band while back ago. I lower, as long as first enthusiasm fell down. Let's be serious here and tell that this is really good album. With some weak spots. Because it depends on strong melody line / lines, when they aren't here, listener, used to hear them from previous tracks lack something.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Listening to this album for the first time created a feeling I've experienced only on a few previous occasions. I'm talking about the sensation of realizing that I am listening to a masterpiece. Those type of moments are rare and far between so it's a real treat when it actually occurs so spontaneously.

With Last Epic A.C.T decided to higher the stakes, skip the short tracks and create one long concept composition. The result is an excellent trip that doesn't let go of the listener until the last note of the Outro is played. Although it's show stealers like Wailings From A Building and Mr. Landlord that will grab most listeners' attention the album will steadily unveil itself as a great all-around composition.

My favorite part of the record is the ending section that consists of the trio The Cause/The Effect/Summary. It reminds me somewhat of Dream Theater's ending of Scenes From A Memory that consists of One Last Time/The Spirit Carries On/Finally Free. It's basically the type of conclusions that makes me want to replay this album so that I can experience the entire trip from start to end and relive all these great moments.

I recommend Last Epic to everyone who enjoys creative bands with a sense of humor!

***** star songs: Wailings From A Building (4:21) Mr. Landlord (4:40) Dance Of Mr. Gumble (2:09) Manipulator (6:13) The Cause (3:26) The Effect (4:39) Summary (5:04)

**** star songs: Intro (0:48) Torn By A Phrase (5:35) Ted's Ballad (3:46) Wake Up (4:27) A Loaded Situation (3:29) The Observer (3:07) Outro (1:15)

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars ACT have been described as a blend of QUEEN, SAGA and STYX while they themselves (as noted by Easy Livin) list ELO, MUSE and SAGA as influences. I can't say i'm into any of those bands unfortunately but this music is hard not to like.They do contrast those slower sections with the uptempo ones a lot. The music is fairly poppy with lots of strings helping out. And this is a concept album.

"Intro" is mostly strings then "Wailings From A Bullfrog" kicks in in such a great way. It settles unfortunately when the vocals arrive as contrasts continue. "Mr. Landlord" is powerful with vocals but again it settles quickly. Nice bass and we get some strings too. Contrasts continue. A guitar solo before 4 minutes. "Torn By A Phrase" opens with strings followed by a heavy soundscape. Nice. A calm with intricate guitar and vocals takes over. Strings are back then contrasts continue. "Ted's Ballad" is just that a ballad with piano, strings and reserved vocals. "Dance Of Mr. Gumble" is a really good instrumental.

"Wake Up" has an almost Regaee feel to start. Strings before 2 1/2 minutes then a guitar solo. The next three songs are my favourites. "Manipulator" has a nice heavy sound early with vocals. It settles with strings as contrasts continue. Good song. "A Loaded Situation" is heavy with guitar and drums leading. An excellent instrumental. "The Observer" is also heavy with vocals. "The Cause" opens with drums and processed vocals. The tempo picks up with normal vocals. This is poppy. "The Effect" features strings and vocals early. It kicks in at a minute. Catchy stuff. Guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. "Summary" is also catchy (aren't they all ?) and upbeat with vocals. It does settles as contrasts continue. "Outro" is mainly strings and vocals.

A good album no doubt about it, just not in the style I like.

Review by Warthur
3 stars The concept behind Last Epic, as far as I can tell, is about some sort of weird apartment building in which all the activities are watched by sinister figures in the Surveying Room, but that's just from glancing at the song titles. But to be honest, I've never been able to follow the lyrics closely enough to put the story together completely. I've not found the music especially gripping either; it all tends to wash over me, with the moments that stand out (such as "Ted's Ballad") standing out for the wrong reasons - they're the bits when I say to myself "man, this song is *really* outlasting its welcome", and when you find yourself saying that about a song that's less than 4 minutes you know there's a problem.

For the most part, A.C.T.'s music seems to sit somewhere between the occasional heavy bit reminiscent of Dream Theater and more upbeat and brighter bits that remind me of The Flower Kings. It's an interesting blend, and I'm not entirely sure that it works for me - I've never found the FKs to be to my tastes. It's a good enough little album, but I also think it's not going to be to everyone's tastes; for my part, I don't get anything out of it.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Third album from 2003 named Last epic, even has it moments of greatness is for me less intresting and convinceing, at is less progressive. Now they almost sound like a AOR band with prog leanings here and there. Again the music is up tempo with good parts, combining prog metal passages but without being a prog metal band with more bombastic parts, Imagine Saga meets Dream Theater for example. The pieces are shorter, but is a well balance between heaviness and more melodic parts. Is an ok album for me, nothing is groundbreaking here , I prefere Imaginary friends much more. 3 stars, good effert but kind far from masterpieces status.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Last Epic" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through Atenzia Records in January 2003. "Last Epic" was re-released through InsideOut Music in 2007 and thereby given a wider distribution and publicity.

The music on the album is an interesting combination of 70s influenced art rock and a soft type progressive metal. The band are incredibly skilled musicians and pull off both complex rhythmic playing and more mellow type playing too. The vocals are especially impressive with both skillfully executed choirs and harmony vocals. I´m often reminded of the theatrical nature of Queen but actually even more of 10cc. There´s a tongue in cheek kind of humour about the music that points in the direction of the latter mentioned. The progressive metal element isn´t dominant on the album but when it appears the band can actually play some pretty heavy riffs and intriguing instrumental parts. I´m reminded slightly of early Dream Theater in a much more simple form. The predominantly brief instrumental parts are usually cleverly placed in the otherwise predominantly vers/chorus structured tracks. There are several highlights on the album, but I´d mention tracks like like "Wailings From a Building" and the wonderful "Mr. Landlord" as some of my personal favorites.

The sound production is clear, powerful, and detailed and suits the music well. So "Last Epic" is overall a quality release and while I sometimes feel the band could have cut down on the more ballad type tracks in favour of more hard rocking tracks (which is where I feel the band excel), even the ballads are a means to an end and upon conclusion "Last Epic" is a pretty well balanced album with a good flow. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by The Crow
3 stars Nothing new in the horizon...

But with this superb production and strong songwriting is also this lack of surprises is not so important. If that's the first A.C.T album you hear you'll be totally blown away with their eclectic vision of prog-rock, dramatic changes in almost every song and their influences, which balance between Dream Theater, Saga, Queen and musical and cabaret spectacles.

The king of the record is still Ola Andersson and his marvellous guitars and solos, alongside with the good vocals (but a bit too high pitched for my taste) of Herman Saming. The rest of the band is also great! And they managed to expand a bit their instrumental sound with some strings arrangements this time.

Nevertheless, I have the problem that I heard the A.C.T two previous albums before Last Epic, and therefore I find this third effort a bit repetitive and not really better, despite the general opinion. Actually, I think is under Today's Report and Imaginary Friends in terms of quality. It's obviously not so progressive and too ballad oriented, and the lyrical concept just weak.

Wake Up, Manipulator and Mr. Landford are outstanding and dynamic tracks, while others like Ted's Ballad are just average. Nevertheless the whole album is enjoyable thank to the incredible Andersson solos and imaginative riffs, along with the spectacular choirs and vocal melodies.

Conclusion: Last Epic brought nothing really new to A.C.T fans, apart from another very good example of eclectic prog, strong songwriting and pristine production. And all of this is great, but I'm a bit disappointed with the lack of evolution of the band. They just made a record which sounds just like the same of the two previous albums, but a bit less progressive and more conventional. Maybe they were trying to be more commercial?

Hard to say.

Best Tracks: Wailings from a Building, Mr. Landford, Wake Up, Manipulator, Dance of Mr. Gumble.

My rating: ***

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Report this review (#17104) | Posted by | Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'll begin this review like most others reviewers did: WOW! If I don't rate this album as a masterpiece, I wont rate any album as a masterpiece. LAST EPIC is the best album I have heard from a long time ago. All is simply wonderful here. ALL! This is a pure orgasm for my brain. The magic singi ... (read more)

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