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Epica - The Phantom Agony CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.83 | 80 ratings

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3 stars The symphonic gothic metal band Epica’s debut album is a fairly good start of their career. This album is a stepping stone to what they would achieve later with ‘Consign to Oblivion’. I won’t really compare ‘The Phantom Agony’ and ‘Consign’ because this album was the first to created, and ‘Consign’ is easily a better and more polished album. However, I’d like to point out that both albums actually have a same format in the song arrangement. Both ‘Phantom’ and ‘Consign’ have an orchestrated opening and a title track that can be seen as an epic. Anyway, ‘The Phantom Agony’ has its own moment, and it’s not really a far weaker as a comparison either.

Now, let’s talk about the tracks. Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, the opening track is an orchestrated track which also has some choir singing. ‘Adyta’ takes you to the epic atmosphere that the band tries to create in the album. ‘Sensorium’ continues where the piano melody in ‘Adyta’ ends plus a drumming in a slightly fast tempo and also some guitar riffs. The vocal in this track seems a bit um… dull? No, not really, it’ still good actually but It just not Simone’s best vocal I believe. There’re little growling vocals here, and also some strong choir singing in the middle part of the song. ‘Cry for the Moon’ has an orchestral opening part that sounds like a movie soundtrack. Growling vocal is also here, and track has less clear vocals and more choirs. ‘Feint’ is the first softer track that you’ll hear in this album. This track only features Simone’s vocals with some orchestration and drumming, no metal sound at all.

‘Illusive Consensus’ brings back the metal sounds. This track has a haunting vocal from Simone. Near the end, the symphonic metal passage is quite strong and awesome, with the choir, orchestration and the keyboard. ‘Fašade of Reality’ continues with a strong and quite epic opening. The growling voices are back in this track, but as always, there’re only a few of them. From the middle part this song becomes more excellent with Simone’s haunting vocals, strong choir and great instrument passages that quite blowing. Next is ‘Run for a Fall’. This track starts like a ballad song at the beginning, and then it turned into an excellent symphonic metal song that has a beautiful orchestration, especially toward the end. ‘Seif al Din’ kicks out some heavy riffs and quite powerful drumming at the beginning. The song has little bits of eastern music sounds in a few parts. The growling is here, and it can be heard from the beginning of the track, although they aren’t going for the whole song. And now, we’re approaching the epic title track. It starts with some orchestration, some sort of speaking with little choirs which turned into a great symphonic metal track with the orchestration (again), strong choir, guitar riffs and drumming and not to mention the haunting vocals and a little of uh… growling voices as well (you’d probably used to it by now, hopefully). The middle part of this song is quite awesome and the song ending in a quite similar way as it begins, only with greater orchestration that goes through the end of this song and album as well. It’s quite an awesome ending I think.

Overall, ‘The Phantom Agony’ is a really good album, almost great in fact. This is a fine symphonic metal album and I think whoever into this genre (and gothic metal as well) would probably like it. This album has slightly more metal elements than ‘Consign’. I’d say it doesn’t really matter whether you started with ‘Consign’ or this album first. If you like ‘Phantom’, you’ll definitely dig ‘Consign’. Even if you started with ‘Consign’ first, you’d still like this album. Three and a half stars.

kazansky | 3/5 |


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