Review Summary: An inevitable collaboration, a bombastic performance, but more importantly a great result.
Let's be honest here. It was always inevitable that at some point in the band's career, Epica were going to collaborate with a soundtrack as already overblown and suitably pompous as the Japanese Attack on Titan
anime series. You can imagine the amount of sheer glory stretched across the faces of anime and symphonic metal fans alike then, when back in December last year an EP entitled Epica vs Attack on Titan Songs
was to be released only in Japan. Now broadcast to the entire world, fans of the aforementioned anime have something to be both intrigued by and excited about just as much as Epica devotees. Someone give this band a headline slot already.
Sure enough, the songs you hear on this EP sound EXACTLY like typical Epica tunes, regardless of how exactly the soundtrack from Attack on Titan
works in tandem with the band's usual repertoire. Opener "Crimson Bow and Arrow" is suitably composed with the utmost conviction and flair, Simmons' lush vocal work changing pitch, tone and feel as suddenly albeit fluently as the bombastic musicianship bouncing around. In that respect, it's more of the same in regards to a typical Epica song, but it's not until the chaotic mid-section, when we discover the band's fairly newfound penchant for prog-tinged synthesizers is unearthed. From this point, you can visualise the vivid wet dreams of prog and symphonic metal nerds the world over as the second half of the song spirals out of control, keyboards and operatic ululations abound. "Wings of Freedom" ups the heaviness with daring menace, but generally has the same direction imprinted on the musical direction. "If Inside These Walls was a House", in contrast, is the only really delicate song of the four here, though as with any Epica ballad (or semi-ballad, if you will) it builds and builds until a crescendo of passionate vocal work and the usual earthy grunts of Mark Jansen unfold. Interestingly enough, it turns out to be the finest song of the bunch. "Dedicate Your Heart!" is ultimately more forgettable because of how back-to-basics it seems in its approach, but at least it ends things on a positive and confident note.
If you listen to this album and moan about the fact that Epica doesn't offer anything new (apart from the fact they're covering an anime soundtrack), or that for some reason Attack on Titan
was a questionable choice on the band's part, you'll basically have wasted 20 minutes of your life. If you enjoyed it however, then that's essentially what Epica intended from the get-go. They had fun making this after all, so why shouldn't the listener" At the end of the day, it's a grandiose if predictable collaboration between one of symphonic metal's finest acts and a world-renowned anime series. On that evidence, you should know definitively if this EP is for you or not.