Album Review: Epica – Requiem for the Indifferent
Posted by Reggie
Epica blessed symphonic metal fans with a new album, Requiem for the Indifferent. This is their fifth studio album which follows up 2009’s Design Your Universe. The Dutch 6-piece returns with more of Mark Jansen’s grunts and screams accompanied by the beautiful vocal stylings of Simone Simons. If you are largely unaware of Epica, but a fan of Kamelot, you have seen Simone Simons. She is a guest on many of their songs, videos, and even tours with the band. Simone is a highly talented vocalist who carries the weight of vocal duties in Epica. For that reason alone, Requiem for the Indifferent is worth your time and money.
The contrasting vocals are a popular style choice with some symphonic metal or even symphonic death metal bands – not to get too deep with genre labels here. This particular style was hard to get used to when I first came across Epica. When I listened to them I gravitated toward their songs where one vocalist was much more predominant than the other. Usually, they were the ones where Simone sang most of the song. I think they are both super-talented; Mark’s grunts and screams rock and Simone’s voice sends chills down my spine. I appreciate Epica’s music wholeheartedly, but find their opposing spectrum male/female vocals tough to get used to. Once I get hooked on Simone’s voice, I don’t want it to end. Requiem for the Indifferent, however, bridged that gap.
As far as my own Epica collection, I started with Design your Universe and went back to purchase The Divine Conspiracy; both pretty good albums. Compared to those two albums, their time devoted to recording/writing Requiem for the Indifferent paid off. It is a much better album, in my opinion, than the other two. After complaining about vocal disparity in the above paragraph, I now have the pleasure of saying Epica did a great job of narrowing the gap between their contrasting vocals. Though Simone carries the weight of vocals, Epica found a way to make vocal dissimilarity less apparent.
Deep water Horizon is a good example of bridging the gap vocally. The song starts off slow, symphonic, and pretty with Simone singing. About half-way though, the tempo and tone change to a more metal feel and Mark takes over the vocal role which seems very appropriate. Then Simone returns, still with a heavy rock sound and wraps up the song beautifully. Epica made the music match vocals. Perhaps they have been doing this all along and I never noticed, but Requiem for the Indifferent melds the two styles better, in my opinion. Other good examples of meshing vocals are Monopoly on Truth and Storm the Sorrow.
Requiem for the Indifferent an improvement over the last two albums. Some of the standout songs are Storm the Sorrow, Guilty Demeanor, and the absolutely haunting Delirium. Again, they took their strong suit – vocals – and made it work better than I thought they did on previous albums. Die-hard Epica fans should really love this album and those of similar opinion as me will most likely find this album an enjoyable experience. Requiem for the Indifferent in an evolutionary leap forward for Epica.
For those that like to buy CDs, there might be an opportunity to acquire a collectible item. Epica’s initial CD press omitted lyrics off the track Serenade of Self-Destruction. For some reason, the wrong master copy of that song got sent to the press. The problem is being worked; therefore, some CDs could be collectible at some point. There is more information on this issue which you can read here.