While I did enjoy Epica's last album “Requiem For The Indifferent”, I did think that it was the bands weakest albums. I did like the change in direction that the band where attempting, but I did feel that while they did write some brilliant tracks, there was a mad amount of filler. But now the band have steered towards their older stuff yet still have held their newer influences and sounds.
Musically the band have definitely went into a more heavier direction, with the guitar sound being a lot more prominent and heavier on this album. This album has also seen the band bring back the focus on choirs, with the choir being a big main attraction on this album. One of the bands biggest positives has to be Simone's vocals, which in my opinion are the best they've ever been.
One of the bands biggest attractions would have to be the bands lyrics, with the band going in some interesting directions. Dealing with concepts on humanities inability to deal with aspects of reality which are too hard to contemplate (explaining the reference to the id, ego and superego on the album cover). I do believe the band have some pretty cool lyrical moments on this album, but sometimes the bands lyrics can be a little bit generic, although very rarely though.
The opening track “The Second Stone” shows off one of the bands most interesting riffs in the past few years. Pretty catchy chorus carries the song too.
The first song to be previewed from the album “The Essence Of Silence” has to be one of the bands strongest and most interesting songs to come out in a while. With an epic choir adding to the bands epic sound, the songs real highlight is the chorus which shows off some very impressive vocals from Simone.
One of the albums most interesting tracks is “Sense Without Sanity -The Impervious Code” Lyrically dealing with a lot of different philosophical ideas being brought forward. The songs arrangement is also pretty interesting too.
The album's single “Unchain Utopia” is a rather interesting choice for a single. With a chorus which is channelled by a choir based chorus, it is rather catchy, but I do find better and more obvious examples which could be used as the albums lead single.
The albums interlude “The Fifth Guardian” is probably one of the bands best interludes in the past few years, with some lovely instrumental arrangements. The interlude is also a brilliant passage way into “Chemical Insomnia.” A kick ass guitar riff and a pretty cool chorus, this song is definitely one of the strongest tracks on the album. Lyrically the song has a lot of beautiful poetry, which is strange because the song (which is about drug abuse) is quiet hard to do, but the band have done it before in their classic track “Chasing The Dragon.”
One of the albums most anthemic and catchiest songs has to be “Omen – The Ghoulish Malady.” With an anthemic chorus and some pretty cool vocals, the song is one of the albums more sing all songs.
The album's final track “The Quantum Enigma – Kingdom Of Heaven Part II.” Being the bands most epic song in the past few years, with some pretty impressive arrangements, especially with some briliant clashes between clean and guttural vocals. Lyrically the song is pretty impressive too, attacking religion with some pretty interesting view points.
In conclusion, this is pretty much business as usual, but it is a definite step in the right direction when compared to “Requiem For The Indifferent”. By a long shot this isn't their best album, but it is a pretty strong effort nontheless. Packed full of surprising tunes and showing a heavier sound to the band, fans of the band will definitely love this album.
Genres: Symphonic Metal, Progressive Metal, Death Metal, Extreme Metal, Power Metal
Country of origin: Netherlands
Year of release: 2014