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Epica - The Divine Conspiracy CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.94 | 131 ratings

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4 stars Oh .. finally I got a chance to listen to this album by a band that I have known the name before but never got a chance to listen to it by my own ears. At first spin, the music could easily infuse into my ears and my mind and in fact I did enjoy it so I made couple of spins to get familiar with the music. It's not that difficult for me because the music is similar to any symphonic power metal bands : Kamelot, Nightwish, Within Temptation, or in fact Sonta Arctica even though each of the band has its own musical characteristic. The vocal quality of Simone Simons can be compared to (was) Nightwish' Tarja Turunen even though Simone is in soprano style. Overall, the music is tight in terms of composition and overall flow of songs in the album. Each song has catchy notes in terms of melody on vocal line as well as solo. The symphonic style with layers of keyboard are prevalent throughout the songs contained in this album plus some vocal harmonies and choirs.

As usual with power metal bands, the album starts with an overture through "Indigo - prologue" (2:05) followed by a blast of power metal music on "The Obsessive Devotion" (7:13). The double pedal bass drums bring the music in fast tempo with keyboard based rhythm section followed by heavy riffs provided by bass guitar that let Simone vocal to enter backed by male vocal in growling style which makes the music more powerful. At minute 3:00 there is a short break where keyboard provides string section in eastern music style. The music interlude starts on 3:45 with string arrangement followed by guitar work and a music blast augmented by choirs and growling vocal. The music turns into higher tone at the ending part.

"Menace of Vanity" (4:13).kicks off nicely with keyboard solo in string section followed by heavy riffs and music with fast tempo combining double pedal bass drums as beat keeper and bass guitar augmented beautifully by keyboard in symphonic style. The choirs and vocal harmonies work really well in this track. "Chasing the Dragon" (7:40) provide a break to a mellow style music with beautiful symphonic arrangements especially on keyboard work. At approx 5:10 the music moves into a grandiose part and followed by fast tempo music that makes it energetic.

"Never Enough" (4:47) is a very beautiful song especially the excellent opening which basically is a combination of heavy riffs by guitar and string arrangement using keyboard augmented by drums and bass guitar. Wonderful opening and it then flows to vocal line with catchy melody. I swear I like this simple song, really! Simple and it produces great energy for me. Wow! I love the riffs man ."jeg - e - jeg - jeg - jeg " ..oh my God .. I love it, really! I also love how the vocal sings this melodic track. At 2:50 the music moves higher with female chanting and makes it a grandiose composition. Bravo, Epica! I do love this piece of music, in its entirety!

"La'petach Chatat Rovetz - the Final Embrace" (1:46) explores acoustic guitar in ambient nuance with nice textures reminiscence of eastern music, especially when percussion enters the music. It's so captivating - especially when I play my amplifier outloud. This is like an opening of a movie. It suddenly moves into a full blast of music in very fast tempo overlaid by powerful metal in "Death of a Dream - the Embrace that Smothers part" VII (6:03). The keyboard is in a style of eastern music. The music flows in high energy and heavy riffs. "Living a Lie - the Embrace that Smothers part VIII" (4:56) is a heavy music with growling male vocal followed by female melodic vocal.

What a coincidence when I was driving to the local FM Station (Trijaya) for a Saturday Night Rock program with a theme of "Religious Side of Progressive Rock" I played this album in my car. When it reached track 9 "Fools of Damnation - the Embrace that Smothers part IX" (8:42) I was surprised with the fact that this song captures Muslim's Prayer Call (adzan) in the middle of the track "Asyhadualla illa ha ill Allah ." (There is only One God - Allah) which made my driving a very pleasurable one and , in fact, my adrenalin was running faster when I heard this song. If I knew this song before I made the setlist I would have probably included this track in the program. Never mind, for next program.

"Beyond Belief" (5:25) is a heavy music in fast tempo followed by mellow and beautiful melody of "Safeguard to Paradise" (3:46) with nice piano work at intro part. Simone enters her vocal brilliantly. I find Simone vocal is similar to Sally Oldfield in this song. "Sancta Terra" (4:57) starts brilliantly with heavy string arrangements followed by heavy riffs which feature female vocal singing.

"The Divine Conspiracy" (13:56) concludes this album wonderfully with great orchestration, catchy melody during singing, great breaks between segments and also tight composition. The key strength is basically its tight composition, combining many styles. The band is genius because this composition is masterpiece, in my opinion. Why? The flow the music is interesting, it's like an epic and moves in different kind of styles and moods. I believe this song will satisfy most of you adore symphonic power metal music, it's really a wonderful track.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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