I must admit, I came by “Epica” a bit by accident. I was experimenting with various power metal bands, found “Karma” acceptable, so when I found “Epica” in my nearby music store, I bought it, without reading any reviews beforehand. This turned out to be one of my best music purchase decisions ever made.
“Epica” is an album that excells on all fronts. First of all, musically, it is two notches up from the previous Kamelot works. There’s a lot of instrumentation here, many “guest stars”, and it is all used to the furthest extent possible. In terms of musical complication, this approaches the barrier of classical music, which is a pretty high achievement for a metal band.
What is also incredible about this album is that it is one, complete composition. This causes two things. First of all, listening to the entire album is a wonderful experience since all the songs follow a main theme and as you listen, you feel yourself flow with it. Second of all, this means that all the songs on the album are important, and thus, althought this sounds nigh impossible, all of them are of great quality. There is no song on the album that I consider inferior, no song that feels like a space-filler. Every single title has its place.
Another quality of “Epica” is its diversity. You have fast pieces like the opening “Center of the Universe”, you have slow ballads like “Wander”, you have epic songs like “Lost and Damned”. Everything you would expect from great power metal and more is on this CD.
It is of course hard to rate music because musical taste differs from person to person and a 5 star rating might not necessarily mean something that goes well with you. However, I cannot give “Epica” any other rating – it is my favorite album, not only in the power metal genre, but overall, which is quite an achievement. If you like this sort of music, I strongly urge you to try it out – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.