KAMELOT - Epica
November 20, 2002, 16 years ago
Although Epica is the first studio platter to go under the Sanctuary banner, it's the sixth overall, but to be fair, really just the third since the breakthrough, The Fourth Legacy. The album comprises 16 bits total, though not all are songs. Some are merely soundbites or brief instrumental interludes, moving this musical adaptation of Goethe's Faust along. The Floridians (plus Norwegian singer Roy Khan) have employed a host of guest appearances, including Rhapsody guitarist Luca Turilli on 'Descent Of The Archangel' and Elegy's Ian Parry (whose Consortium Project Thom Youngblood has been a frequent contributor) on 'Dawn'. First heard on Karma, female vocalist Mari returns, singing lead on 'Helena's Theme', as well as bookending her efforts on the first proper tune 'Center Of The Universe', as well as the concluding 'III Ways To Epica'. The album is very polished, with Khan’s silky voice rarely pushed above a reserved tone, even on the aggressive and aforementioned 'Descent' which, along with 'Farewell,' is one of the few guitar-dominated tracks. After a rousing one-two kickoff, Epica becomes a much more brooding, emotional platter than most are used to, understandable given the subject matter. There's lots of ear candy throughout the record, filled with keyboards, symphonic instrumentation (particularly strings), and synthesizer amongst Youngblood's lone guitar. 'The Edge Of Paradise' opens with the multi-voiced choir of 'Opiate Soul’, the first of four short intermezzos. 'On The Coldest Winter Night' is a ballad, and features Khan, atop sparse acoustic guitar, tempered drums, piano and synthesized strings. Believe it or not, 'Lost & Damned' trots out an accordion and concertina! Otherwise, it's a rollicking metal number. A worthy successor to the recent Kamelot lineage, and equally recommended for first timers.