Released: 2012, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The 6th album of Dutch symphonic goth-metal collective Epica, marks the departure of Bassist Yves Huts who has delivered the strong supporting rhythms of the band's sound since their humble beginnings as Sahara Dust. The album serves as a fitting memorial to his departure. Delirium and Anima, lyrical ballads, offer aural respite from an otherwise non-stop, power-metal influenced, theatrical album.
The beautiful classically trained voice of Simone Simons echoes throughout every track and the scorching sound of the orchestra and choir that supports the band adds a truly majestic and operatic quality to the lyrical Storm the Sorrow, Internal Warfare and Requiem for the Indifferent - definitely the three major highlights of the CD. The title track offers a mix of metallic grunting, industrial-metal riffs and folk backing accompanying the operatic vocals to illustrate the full extent of Epica's power-metal/ goth-metal crossover sound.
Every song is pumped with emotion and despite the number of performers (both in the band and backing) they are not afraid to experiment with ever-changing rhythms, challenging the listener at the same time- this is not music that drifts into the background, but music which creeps over the soul and possesses you. This is music that transports you to a fantastical, mystical landscape - it is the soundtrack to your dreams. But just as you begin to drift Mark Jansen's growling grunts and screams battle against the fairytale voice of Simone to expose the conflict at the core of so many of their lyrics.
This is a classic Epica offering, while Yves may be departing this is certainly not the end for this truly epic, Dutch group who continue to deliver powerful riffs and piercing vocals in harmonious, spectacular songs.
Review by Viki Walden