Review Summary: Epica reaching its peakpoint
No one can ignore the Holland's recent explosion in metal. In this country, some great bands from every genre can be found, and one of the 'golden' bands from there is the Symphonic Metal band Epica. Epica somewhat resembles the old period of Nightwish and the Therion's sections of 'mating with heavy metal'. However, Epica, certainly has a unique style. Consider like, more power, more heavy riffs, brutal vocals, and an "epic" music which is parallel to the name of the band, are linked up to the old periods of Nightwish. Then include the "Simone Simons" factor, at the end, what Epica resembles would be more clear when you consider all of these.
It's obvious that the band always tried to make itself heard with the different singles and EPs produced even three times in a year. Well, of course every band would want to make itself heard and known. And don't consider this as a comment trying to say "oh ***, they just think about their money and popularity". Of course not, these days there are limitless opportunities and their choice, not surprisingly, belongs to them. Moreover, you can easily understand that they don't try to shake the music market with an album containing slow, "deeply emotional" songs, like some symphonic and folk bands do (and what if they do? Actually I think it might be great, I just want to point that this album contains sincerely-written 'tough' parts). Listen the flow of music that sometimes become transformed in a "cursed" form and listen the heavy riffs and hash brutal of Mark Jensen, you'll realize what I mean.
Riffs, sometimes being really dazzling, generally contain heavy/thrash/power, even progressive metal. The reason of the riffs' being dazzling just for 'sometimes' is because of Epica's being a Symphonic band of course, and in a Symphonic Metal band, you don't always need some dazzling riffs, you need a collectivity. And considering about the collectivity of "Design Your Universe", I can say it's nothing but dazzling. As to lead guitar, I don't know whether some outstanding partitions and solos are written by the founder of the band, Mark Jensen or the new guitar player he added to the band but if these are the new guitar player's work, I have to say Mark Jensen done a very good job choosing him.
Epica proves to be one of the best theme composers with this album again; it's just a feast. The form of the music is not always European, the mystical athmosphere of the eastern world also plays a role in some parts. The layout of songs; where to boil up or where to calm down, where to get in to a new variation, all are adjusted perfectly. Maybe that's the reason why every second of the album is delightful. I'm ready for torturing to whom says "Epica is colorless and boring", at least for this album.
Design Your Universe is also an indicator of the band's running its own style at its full pelt. But there are certainly some exceptions. In some parts, an obvious huge progressiveness can be realised. I think if the band gets more into that, everything would be quite different. I think this progressiveness and more varied style just cries out like "Rush me uuup!". I remember saying "Nightwish" at the beginning of the review. Getting back to it, I must say that the current Epica is a way, way better than the current Nightwish, and even Haggard, who did so little new stuff but repeated itself (well not maybe 'way' better than Haggard's new album, but I think it's obviously sounds better).
If you already like the old stuff of Epica, you mustn't miss that one. Moreover, if you don't like the old ones, I strongly suggest you to give another chance. Because "Design Your Universe" is the peak point of Epica. It's time that Epica is compared with Therion and Haggard.
Choir is one of the most important determinants of Symphonic Metal. But what determines the characteristics of Epica as to vocals is Simone Simons, who has a parching effect on us. Along with her attitudes and detrimental image, with her voice that makes listener leave the concept of concreteness, what the hell can anyone feel something other than pure adoration? Because my adoration is a bit redundant, I want to dedicate the end of my review to her:
"Dear Simone, you're an existence which god created diligently for himself, but accidentally sent to the earth. If you're a human, I must be something else. Best regards".