Epica - The Divine Conspiracy

1. Indigo
2. The Obsessive Devotion
3. Menace of Vanity
4. Chasing the Dragon
5. Never Enough
6. La’petach Chatat Rovetz – The Last Embrace
7. Death of a Dream – The Embrace that Smothers p. vi
8. Living a Lie – The Embrace that Smothers p. vii
9. Fools of Damnation – The Embrace that Smothers p. ix
10. Beyond Belief
11. Safeguard to Paradise
12. Sancta Terra
13. The Divine Conspiracy

Simone Simons (V)
Mark Jansen (G & V)
Ad Sluijter (G)
Coen Janssen (Sy & Pi)
Yves Huts (B)

The Score (2005)
Consign to Oblivion (2005)
The Phantom Agony (2003)

Recording info:
Produced by Sascha Paeth

Ariën van Weesenbeek (D)
Sander Gommans (V)

Nuclear Blast

Dutch band Epica combines darker metal like death metal with more classical symphonic style and operatic vocals sung by redhead Simone Simons. They have two real albums behind them, two solid efforts no doubt, two efforts that really raise expectations for this album.

In the beginning everything is just fine, the intro tune is majestic and impressive and promises gold for the upcoming songs. Well I must say that I am quite impressed with what they have made, still you may notice some reservation in the tone in which I am writing. It goes well for quite some time but as track 60-70 pass I start to loose interest and that happens fast, the album reaches an impressive 75 minutes and beyond; that amount of time in an album is seldom a good thing, maybe listening to it in halves is better but it is the album as a whole we grade in our reviews and unfortunately Mark Jansen and friends have forgotten the rule of less is more. They probably should have skipped the side tracks in the storyline that comes within the lyrics, that probably should have shaved 25 minutes of the total time and thereby made the album confine within a tolerable timeframe. Though I can’t say that I hate every album longer than an hour since there are many excellent albums over an hour out there but they are much more varied in style that prevents the listener from loosing interest.

That about time, the songs are actually good; that means every one of them. On the track level this album is the best album by far, but as a full I would hold Consign to Oblivion as the top choice. The imagery of sound is brilliandtly created by Sasha Paeth who shouldn’t need any presentation among metal folk, nor should his studio, Gate Studios in Wolfburg, Germany. The cover art is quite interesting as well if anyone cares about that. I am impressed by what Epica have put together, but still I think they should have been a bit more picky about which songs to use on the album. And Nuclear blast shouldn’t divide the promos into 99 tracks.

official website

Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - After Forever/Tristania/Theatre of Tragedy

Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm, Caj Källmalm