Epica – “Epica vs Attack on Titan Songs” EP (Nuclear Blast Records)
Oh wow, if Epica impressed me on their last release “The Holographic Principle”, then this branch out into film score metal is nothing short of mind blowing! As you can guess, this 8 track EP is based on the Japanese anime “Attack on Titan”, but get this, the original score which was composed by Revo of Linked Horizon, was actually influenced by the music of Epica themselves!! As such, these adaptations could be no better – in fact, they are perfect!!! I can’t begin to describe how excited I am over the 4 songs here, each in its original form but also presented as ‘instrumentals’ less the astounding vocals of Simone Simons – so you don’t need to guess which ones I prefer ha ha. World renowned as masters of beauty-and-the-beast dual vocal symphonic metal, this Dutch band have really exploded in recent years, and the performances here are nothing short of stellar. As the deep horns and ethereal choirs begin the fast paced bombast of ‘Crimson Bow & Arrow’, Simons angelic soul resonates across chopping riffs, flow pianos and hammering double bass drumming beats – not forgetting growling partner Mark Jansen who forms their crucial bond as the two dance out mesmerising melodies and harmonies to blow your mind! Bursting forth with even more symphony is ‘Wings Of Freedom’ which in no small part features the incredible keyboards of Coen Janssen (who also had a large part to play on the arrangements and production) and is very intense track not just for its tempo, but the sheer range of sounds being compressed into its passion from raw screams to Isaac Delahaye’s virtuoso guitar to spoken words and soft folk passages – man, talk about epic. Thankfully giving my heart a rest on the quieter ballad of ‘If Inside These Walls There Was A House’ with Simons gentle vocals and Coen’s tender keys making for a more genteel moment, before ‘Dedicate Your Heart’ with its massive choirs and Simons’s own soprano highs brings a really majestic feel to the number in all its epic glory and passion, not forgetting Ariën van Weesenbeek’s precision beats, more of Delahaye’s blinding guitars and Coen Janssen’s incredible keys. An unbelievable release previously only available in Japan intended specially for the fans there, I’m really pleased the band have now extended this unforgettable experience to the rest of the planet (and probably the galaxy too) ha ha!