Epica are known for their penchant towards super-epic, somewhat overstuffed and choir-heavy productions. Starting as a Symphonic and Gothic Metal outfit with the astonishing The Phantom Agony, the band slowly evolved towards an orchestral laden, bombastic style that left many of their earlier fans confused in their wake. Over the last years we have seen many of the major players in this genre move into a similar – if not the same – direction. Which means that what should be innovation turns out to be the new mainstream of sorts. It is a little like this drive to political correctness, where nobody likes to step outside the boundaries of the comfort zone. But to get progress, you need to do exactly that. [...]
Well, is it better than the other records or is it not? After Consign to Oblivion I grew a bit wary of what I was going to find in this Pandora’s box that this band usually delivers. Much to my relief, Epica‘s fourth studio album Design Your Universe is probably one of the better records – previous and past. It kind of sounds like a mix between Delain, Within Temptation and Nightwish fueled by top quality vitamins. They actually quite shamelessly erred on the latter’s territory.
But seriously, this is probably one of the most authentic and complex albums this side of The Phantom Agony. Even if the cheese has grown exponentially in some of the tracks. And as is custom, Epica – or more their fearless leader Mark Jansen – have again chosen a difficult and almost scientific target of desire, which is how things connect together in sub-atomic way of thinking, no less. Oh my…! [...]
But, where is the #Metal? This is the question I asked myself since starting with this record. It kind of gets off the ground with some theme seemingly from the Pirates of the Caribbean or something and then - more symphonic orgasms by the dozen. But the metal? The METAL?
'Tis a most strange production! Or is the 2nd studio album 'Consign to Oblivion' of the Dutch Symphonic Metal band 'Epica' just an example of playing it safe? But as they like to call their style Gothic Metal - well, this is kind of an important question.
The theme is - of course - again of the sophisticated kind.