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Epica - The Phantom Agony CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.83 | 80 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 24 carat symphonic prog metal! One of the best debut albums I have ever seen in a long time. When I first heard about the band I was not very enthusiastic about it. Back in 2002 it was common place to find prog metal bands with female vocalists. Besides, I was never a big fan of After Forever, Mark Jansen's previous band. That band was good, but not really exceptional. So I was quite surprised when I heard Epica's CD being played in a record store I was just passing by. I was completely taken by that incredible and tasteful music. I bought the album hoping the remaning of it could be as good as what I listened there. Fortunalty my senses were right.

The songs were very well crafted, arranged and performed. The orchestral arrangements (with a real orchestra) and the choir (with real, professional classical singers) were not really a novelty, but man, were they good! They work as a part of the overall sound of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. the result is stunning! Great symphonic, powerful, melodic and beautiful music that is hard to label. It's simply wonderful! And it gave the world the first taste of the fantastic singer Simone Simmons. She not only has a great, classical trained, voice, but she is also a strong and unique perfomer. She is really Epica's s most outstanding figure, in a group full of outstanding musicians.

All tracks are ecellent, very powerful and inspired. It's difficult to point some highlights here, since there is not fillers or even weaker tracks, but my favorites are Illusive Consensus, Sensorium and the poignant power ballad Feint, among others. The only parts I really don't like are some of the death metal vocals by guitarrist Mark Jensen, but they are few and far between. With a superb production and great booklet, this is one of the most surprising debut albums by any band in the new millenium.

I was not really goind to give it 5 stars, but upon hearing it again after all these years, it would be unfair to rated The Phantom Agony anything less. It is a masterpiece of prog music, IMO. And I recommended it to any prog lover that does not care for labels, but for great symphonic music.

Tarcisio Moura | 5/5 |


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