Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent (EN)
text: Gerianne Meijer
Dutch female-fronted metal band EPICA celebrates their ten year anniversary this year. Since debut album ‘The Phantom Agony’ the band has shown that they belong at the top of the genre. Their success does not limit itself to The Netherlands, but to other countries as well, since they rank at number eleven on the Dutch export list.
Their last album ‘Design Your Universe’ (2009) received good critics and the band showed that they had grown further and were not afraid to venture into a harder sound. Their newest album ‘Requiem for the Indifferent’ will therefore have to meet a lot of expectations.
Song by song Review
According to opener ‘Karma’ the band knows exactly how to approach these expectations. The bombastic arrangements, in combination with an uplifting choir, invites to close your eyes and simply listen. Without a glitch the intro leads into ‘Monopoly on Truth.’
This track features a powerful choir as well, combined with raging guitars, fast drums and trumpets. The clean vocals of Simone Simons are strong. Together with the grunts from Mark Jansen (guitar, songwriter) the strength rises. The song builds up from beautiful choir parts, rough parts and sublime vocals to a wonderful guitar solo by Isaac Delahaye. On this seven minutes long cracker, the band delivers a song that surely ‘ll make the volume cranked up.
‘Storm the Sorrow’ is the first single of the album and not without a reason. The song is quite the sing-along and Simons shows here that her vocals are grown over time. Nearing the end the song, it takes a dramatic turn, as grunts and low guitars are added. It gives a darker edge that is rather fitting and gives the song something extra.
Successor ‘Delirium’ could be labeled as a ballad, but Epica wouldn’t be Epica, if they didn’t add their own elements. Starting with a melodious choir and a beautiful piano by Coen Janssen, the song allows a lot of room for the fragile vocals of Simons. It will give you goose bumps!
The over six minutes lasting track, builds up exquisitely and weaves all the elements together. So well done, it’s almost impossible not to listen breathlessly. It is fitting for the band’s style that Simons knows how to keep her vocals small and doesn’t go over the top. Even the guitar solo isn’t overly theatrical but adds to the intimate feeling of the song.
‘Internal Warfare’ breaks with that feeling immediately en goes all out with fast arrangements, loud guitars and banging drums. Still the band knows how to keep it accessible by means of the vocals: the chorus will probably be a killer on stage. Halfway there is room for grunts and a flashing guitar solo. The last chorus is given strength by the choir, which reaches unbelievably high notes: compliments are in order!
‘Requiem For the Indifferent’ is a title song like we are used to hear from the band: long, complex and full. Therefore the song needs many listening sessions before it fully hits in, but when it does it is a real winner! With eastern elements, lots of tempo changes and an uplifting choir, a classical Epica song.
‘Anima’ is a gorgeous resting point of nearly a minute and a half. The melancholic piano takes you away, so there isn’t the idea of listening to an intro. This is in essence the strength of the entire album. All songs are by itself pearls that strung together make a brilliant jewel.
‘Guilty Demeanor’ adds to this as well. Opening with heavy drums, guitars and bass by Yves Huts the song flows into catchy verses and a fierce chorus. The thriving song takes you away and when it ends too soon, you wish for more.
Fortunately ‘Deep Water Horizon’ lasts longer. A beautiful guitar, strings and fragile vocals form a soaring whole, where the drums by Ariën van Weesenbeek create more power. The chorus takes time to get used to, but once you do it’s very vivid and causes goose bumps. The vocal lines force you to listen with intent, and the tempo change halfway makes sure the head bangers will have something to smile about.
‘Stay The Course’ entails soaring guitars, a flute and heavy grunts. The chorus however is catchy and shows very fine singing by Simons. Mark Jansen shows his best side as well and growls his heart out. The combination of loud and soft parts is shown very well here and gives a nice contrast.
With ‘Deter the Tyrant’ Epica gives us one of the fastest and hardest songs of the album. Opening with a great fast guitar it is hard to stay still. Even the vocals are fast and rhythmic. The choir adds bombast and the chorus is catchy though hard. One of the better songs of the album, as far as that is able to define.
‘Avalanche’ will drop some jaws as well. Beginning as a ballad with beautiful vocals, the song develops into a true headbanger. The switches from emotion to roughness, are commendable. And halfway through the song it surprises you again by weaving the bright falsetto voice of Simone with the powerful choir and tight drums. A great example of how well Epica build-up songs and makes them interesting.
Final song ‘Serenade of Self Destruction’ shows that as well. Opening with an emotional piano and high belts of Simons, a dark atmosphere is created, where drums build up the tension. Again a prominent spot is reserved for the Epica-choir and grunts. Also heavy guitars are undoubtedly present as well. After all this musical violence, the beautiful chorus gives an emotional impact and adds momentum to the track. Again amazing songwriting, build up amazingly, and makes it a worthy ending to an already great album.
With ‘Requiem For the Indifferent’ Epica once again delivers a sublime album and confirms their spot at the top of the genre! The album feels like the Epica the fans know, but it takes a while to get used to as well because of small changes in their sound. The sound is more balanced than before and shows more an eye for details. Adding to that the vocals of Simone and Mark Jansen have grown too.
All this makes sure that ‘Requiem for the Indifferent’ will grab you and not let go. Even after dozens of listening sessions it still surprises you: it will be wise to press the repeat button while playing this album for the first time. With this record the band rings in their anniversary with a bang, bring on the next ten years!