|Review: Epica - Consign to Oblivion|
|Consign to Oblivion|
Label: Transmission Records
Year released: 2005
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Review online: January 3, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Consign to Oblivion
Rated 4.58/5 (91.67%) (12 Votes)
Epica's debut, "The Phantom Agony" was a fine example of Symphonic/Melodic metal, and I was quite impressed by the artistic intent that went into it. But it was a bit lugubrious, a bit pretentious. It had a certain ponderous feel that a really fine album should not have, so even though I rated it 4/5, I did not listen to it much. It was well-done, but not really engaging. Which is why "Consign To Oblivion", Epica's follow-up, is such a nice surprise.
On their last one Epica seemed to be trying too hard to prove themselves, and as a result the songs were a little overloaded and didn't focus too well, but that seems to have been fixed. Not only have Epica stepped well out of the shadow of Mark Jansen's old band After Forever, they have moved beyond dismissive Nightwish comparisons as well. On this album Epica establish much more of an individual identity, while not moving beyond the boundaries of their genre. This is still epic-scaled Symphonic Metal with a female singer, but it is much tighter and stronger this time out, if less complex. Album standouts like "The Last Crusade" and "Blank Infinity" are genuinely visceral and rousing, and the affecting "Trois Verges" stands counterpoint as a lovely ballad with guest vocals from Roy Khan of Kamelot – who has probably the most beautiful voice of any man in the world. Again Simone Simons impresses with her technicality and diction – she's definitely one of the best operatic vocalists in the metal firmament.
Rather than become more dense and classical – which I feared – Epica have become more accessible without losing their touch, and "Consign To Oblivion" is a fine piece of work. Those unimpressed with this band's debut should give them another listen, as they have come a long way, and show every sign of continuing to improve.
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