KAMELOT — Epica

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KAMELOT - Epica cover
3.80 | 38 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2003

Filed under Power Metal
By KAMELOT

Tracklist

1. Prologue (1:07)
2. Center of the Universe (5:26)
3. Farewell (3:41)
4. Interlude I: Opiate Soul (1:10)
5. The Edge of Paradise (4:09)
6. Wander (4:24)
7. Interlude II: Omen (0:40)
8. Descent of the Archangel (4:35)
9. Interlude III: At the Banquet (0:30)
10. A Feast for the Vain (3:57)
11. On the Coldest Winter Night (4:03)
12. Lost & Damned (4:55)
13. Helena's Theme (1:51)
14. Interlude IV: Dawn (0:27)
15. The Mourning After (Carry On) (4:59)
16. III Ways to Epica (6:17)

Total Time: 52:18

Line-up/Musicians

- Roy S. Khan / vocals
- Thomas Youngblood / guitars
- Glenn Barry / bass guitar
- Casey Grillo / drums

Guest musicians

- Miro / keyboards and orchestral arrangements
- Günter Werno / keyboards
- Jan P. Ringvold / keyboards
- Mari / female vocals
- Sascha Paeth / additional guitars
- Luca Turilli / guitar solo on #8
- Robert Hunecke-Rizzo / choir vocals, djembe on #11
- Cinzia Rizzo / choir vocals
- Herbie Langhans / choir vocals
- Annie Langhans / choir vocals
- Fabricio Alejandro / bandeneón on #12
- Olaf Reitmeier / acoustic bass on #11
- John Wilton / master on ceremonies on #9 & #13
- Andre Neygenfind / double-bass on #11

also features Rodenberg Symphony Orchestra.

About this release

Release date: January 13th, 2003
Label: Noise Records

Thanks to adg211288, diamondblack for the updates

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KAMELOT EPICA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Sinkadotentree
"Epica" is a concept album based loosely on Goethe's "Faust". We get a ton of guests helping out with orchestration, choirs and some obscure instruments all to bring this story alive, lots of samples as well. The band EPICA named themselves after this album and their female singer has since guested on KAMELOT recordings. While i'm not big on concept albums there is plenty here to satisfy my tastes in Metal. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered in Germany. I have to mention "Descent Of The Arcangel" which featrues a killer guitar solo from guest Luca Turilli the guitarist for RHAPSODY. Lots of highlights though making this an album that Power-Metal fans should check out.
Conor Fynes
'Epica' - Kamelot (7/10)

While I am indeed a fan of Kamelot (and european-styled power metal in general) they've never passed me as being all too progressive. However, any progressive metal fan should be able to appreciate the progressive and classical nuances of this band. Roy Khans classically-trained operatic vocals are among some of the best in melodic metal, and the band certainly makes an impression with 'Epica.' While it's probably not my favourite material from the band, 'Epica' is a metal opera that lives up to it's name and beyond.

For those relatively familiar with power metal, there shouldn't be too much here that you won't have heard before. Kamelot's sound is unique in a sense, but they are definately not progressive to the point of completely distinguishing themselves from their contemporaries.

There is definately a story of sorts being told here; and while I've never paid too much attention to the lyrics themselves, the plot elements feel very classical, as if this was the grim soundtrack to some renaissance tragedy.

While all of the music is great, the problem (and reason that this is not a five star album) is because there aren't any tracks here that truly stand out as being exceptional. 'Epica' is a piece that flows as one, but there aren't any parts that really knock one's metaphorical socks off. However, the fact remains that Kamelot is a very talented band, and 'Epica' shows this very well.
topofsm
Epica by Kamelot is a fairly well known power metal album. It pretty standard fare as far as power metal is concerned. It's got most of the elements. Fast speeds, major keys, concepts, and even the obligatory sequel album (the Black Halo).

It is worth listening to once, though really once the first couple of tracks are through there's not much to say. Each track blasts through in standard quick paced tempi (though thankfully not quite as fast as other power metal contemporaries), and guitars go up and down scales at lightning speeds (though again far more tastefully than a couple of bands ever solo-ing orgies with their instruments). All in all, Epica is basically regular power metal with an extra dose or two of prog, though that doesn't necessarily help.

Of course, who can deny that the performers are bad musicians? Roy Khan of course has an exceptional voice like plenty of power singers and he can sing along with the best of them. The guitar leads by Thomas Youngblood are competent to say the least, and truthfully are excellent at best. And the drummer Casey Grillo is unsurprisingly ever present with the rapid battering of his double-bass pedals.

However, the album suffers from what plenty of power metal albums suffer with: same song syndrome. It's track after track of energetic paced music with obligatory rapid guitars and drums, and really after a while the album loses its energy because of lack of dynamics or variety. Of course, the listener is occasionally given a break with four short (though musically lacking) interludes, or the obligatory ballads, which by the mere mention of the names cause metalheads to groan by their cheesinees. Of course, once back onto one of the fast tracks, it's more of the same old same old. Even the casual Kamelot fan knows the first real song to the album "Center of the Universe", and it actually is a great track and it definetely stands out in the metal world, yet it seems that after that, the listener is subjected to "Center of the Universe" parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, which for 16 tracks including a few slower songs and 6 tracks that don't really hold their own as musical compositions, is really too much of the same.

Epica only slightly gets off from being a horrible album because of a couple cool numbers and a decently tied together concept. However, the cliche power metal elements are completely overpowering, and the cheesiness found in its 52 minute entirety is probably too much. Kamelot as a power metal band is far from breaking new ground, and although they are able to pull a great song out of themselves from time to time, are pretty standard otherwise.

Members reviews

SouthSideoftheSky
Bad karma

Epica is by some considered to be more progressive than previous albums by Kamelot. If there is something to this decree it is probably in virtue of two things: that it is conceptual and that it is even more symphonic or even orchestral than the previous album, Karma. While this is all true, I personally think that the musical direction remains basically the same as on Karma. This means that what we have here is just more of the same which is Kamelot's own brand of Symphonic Power Metal. I pointed out already in my review of Karma that being symphonic or orchestral should not be confused with being progressive. For me, this album comes across as more bombastic and quite overblown in a way that the previous two albums did not.

What they have done for this release is to add a conceptual element as well as several short symphonic interludes between the songs and some occasional operatic female vocals. There are also a couple of spoken word passages and small pieces of Pink Floyd-ish dialog. None of these additions are particularly successful in my opinion, and make the album a bit incoherent and lacking in direction. Apart from these supposed enhancers of their basic sound, Kamelot follow their previous formula pretty closely with Epica. Just like the previous two albums, the present one too starts with a short instrumental by way of introduction. What follows is a rather typical set of Power Metal numbers with catchy melodies and the characteristic rapid dual bass drum attack. I like this type of song to a degree, but I sometimes find them a bit tedious. Overall, I think that these songs were stronger on Karma and The Fourth Legacy.

There are however also some very good moments on Epica. These mostly come towards middle and end of the album. The first that really caught my attention was A Feast For The Vain with its excellent Flamenco-influenced (!) middle section and brilliant acoustic and electric guitar work. This song would have fitted well on The Fourth Legacy which, in my opinion, is Kamelot's best album. On The Coldest Winter Night is a very nice acoustic ballad, with an almost jazzy feel. The short acoustic guitar solo is wonderful. Lost & Damned is another strong number. The very appealing Folk influences that, for me, made The Fourth Legacy such a thrilling experience are more apparent here than they ever were on Karma. The use of the bandeón, which is a kind of Latin accordion, was probably unheard of within Metal music before the release of this album and gives a nice touch to the song. (The brilliant guitarist Al Di Meola is very fond if this instrument that brings a melancholic and nostalgic mood and maybe the Kamelot guys have been listening to Di Meola's music as inspiration?) Had only the rest of the album been as eclectic and inspired as this!

Epica is not a bad album, but it is a bit fragmented and some parts, like the spoken and orchestral parts as well as the operatic female vocals, are out of place. This makes the album occasionally come across as overblown and overly bombastic and I am left with the feeling that the band bit off more than they could chew. There are some excellent moments to be found here, but the listener must wait too long for them to arrive and they then pass to quickly.

I think I got most of the Kamelot I need from the previous two albums
friso
Kamelot - Epica (2003)

After the charming 'Karma' Kamelot offers us their first progressive work; Epica. Still present are the melodic heavy metal guitars and the power-metal bass and drums and the distinctive vocals of vocalist Khan. New is the storyline of the album (concept album alert!) and the experiments with choirs a symphony. The songwriting of Kamelot always had some positive catchy elements and the instrumental parts had already been developed in a good way on Karma, but now the whole affair got a vision. Kamelot had find a way of making music that gave their music a new direction and made the compositions great in their context. If you dislike power-metal you can still stop reading here, but if you an open minded progressive metal fan or a heavy symphonic fan you might still be very interested in this record.

The good thing about this concept album is the shift in atmosphere. As the album begins very optimistic with the up-tempo and bombastic Center of the universe it slowly develops into a more serious and pessimistic way. The main character of the story sells his soul to the devil and slowly becomes darker after loosing his girlfriend and unborn child. The final track of the album, III Ways to Epica is a real progressive track and a great ending of the album. All other tracks are a strong as well and the interludes are functional.

Conclusion. An up-tempo album with a strong emotional content and some progressive elements. This is definitely the best power metal ever made because of it's good story line and great songwriting. The sound of the band is at it's best and the instrumental parts have become great melodic parts that are important for the sound of the band. I can recommend this album to fans of symphonic hard rock and metal and concept album, but still I don't think fans of technical and very progressive metal will be very pleased with this album. This is the best Kamelot record and it deserves a five star rating because it's some of the best power metal.

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