Devil's Review: Epica – Requiem For the Indifferent

Gothic symphonic metal. It sure has gone through quite a few changes in the past 10 years since Nightwish spawned tons of clones. Most of those clones are gone now with others changing styles for a more pop rock sound and even Nightwish themselves taking their sound to a new level. In the midst of all of this is Epica who managed to not only rise above most of their contemporaries but still continue to garner new fans. I think the reason is fairly simple. If you have a striking front woman with red hair that sings like a lead in a musical and musicianship on par with film or stage scores combined with the aggressive tone of metal why mess with the formula? Especially when the competition seems to be falling off year after year. That’s not to say that Epica has not had it’s share of growing pains along the way. The early incarnation tried too hard to be the next best thing in beauty and the beast vocals that the songs were almost cartoonish in their bombast. 2009 saw the release of ‘Design Your Universe’ which for me was the pinnacle of enjoyment thus far. With Requiem of the Indifferent the big questions were going to be if Epica can top it or finally start to tread waters in familiar ground or follow some of their contemporaries into a whole different style.

Well the answer is no, yes, and sort of. Requiem only has one song that stood out for me that I could find myself revisiting more then the rest of the album and that is ‘Storm of Sorrow’. This was the first single released and is very memorable in it’s melodic hooks. Most of the rest of the album is standard Epica fare with a brief atmospheric choral intro in ‘Karma’ which I have to say I wish bands in general would stop doing. It’s a tired and cheap form of squeezing a track on the album. While most of the songs are extended in length putting in a minute and half intro doesn’t really build up any kind of anticipation anymore. I’d dare to venture that half the time intro tracks like this get skipped. But then again this is also a trademark of Epica so it’s probably not going to go away.

As far as changes there are styles not heard before that get sprinkled into tracks like the pure rock solo in the second track ‘Monopoly of Truth’. ‘Internal Warfare’ employs some prog synth near the end I don’t recall hearing before. But these changes are few and far between. There are two ballads on Requiem and honestly the ballads are not my bag. While musically they’re beautiful they don’t really stand out from anything else I’ve heard over the years. I think the problem is what I call the Dream Theater Syndrome. Epica packs so much music in each track and has the skill and talent to pull off truly epic tracks but after awhile even these songs start to sound like retreads. If this was the first album I ever heard from Epica I’d probably be gushing over it like a hundred other sites seem to do every time there is a new release.

Simone Simons is still one of the top female vocalist in the genre and actually employs some vocals that are closer to rock which is refreshing and when she pulls out the operatic still is great. But these songs tend to favor her range between each and after an hour starts to wear. The choirs are inserted in tracks liberally and at times are unnecessary to achieve an atmosphere.Mark Janssen’s harsh vocals are good but on Requiem he also has regressed at times to the more blackened vocal style that used to grate me on earlier releases. There is no doubt that he is a great composer though especially when you consider that this band releases an album, tours relentlessly and is right back in the studio for a follow up. Other bands would normally require an extra year to get these kinds of compositions recorded.

I suppose this isn’t the most positive review in the world and apologies to the hardcore fans but keep in mind this is just one opinion from someone who has listened to a ton of Epica music over the years. On that note I should also probably get one last thing off my chest. I would really like to hear an Epica album that did not center around sociopolitical themes as heavily as this band does. Music is supposed to be at times escapism and I believe everyone who listens to this band knows the world can be a bad place. I don’t need to be reminded of these things constantly. If I wanted to hear songs about how we’re ruining the planet or that wars are bad I’d just continue to read the news sites like CNN instead. I certainly don’t believe that the themes that Epica throw out there are going to change anyone’s views on the world that didn’t already agree. I also believe that with 8 billion people in the world with different cultures, religions, temperaments, and mindsets are never going to come to an impasse and there be peace. Humans are tribal by nature and you throw spiritualism into the mix and you will have wars forever long after we’re gone. I know this album’s name is directed to people like me but it’s not indifference but realism that I feel. All we can really do is be the best people we can be to other people and know it won’t be reciprocated at times. And a Dutch metal band sure doesn’t have the clout to start any kind of revolution that hasn’t already been started by countries that have never heard of Epica. So let’s change things up a bit even for at least one album shall we Mark? Between Epica and Mayan I think we get the message.

Overall fans of Epica in general will eat this up and love it and if you’re new to the band or just getting into this form of metal do check it out. It is an enjoyable album I just don’t see it standing out much from earlier releases prior to Design Your Universe. I’ll leave you now with my favorite track off Requiem for the Indifferent which releases on March 13th in North America and March 9th in the old countries.

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14 responses to “Devil's Review: Epica – Requiem For the Indifferent

  1. this is a really bad review, you actually clame that all the positive things are the bad things like their lyrical themes and so on. when i came to the part where you said that storm the sorrow is your favorite song i just knew that you’re a tasteless moron. please, stay away from their future albums and keep your biased opinions to yourself.

    • “fans of Epica in general will eat this up and love it ”

      I guess he was right. Boo hoo. You didn’t like someone’s opinion of your favoritest, favoritest band. Here is a tissue.

    • I knew the butthurt would flow over this review. You must have missed the part when I said it really is an enjoyable album. Try really reading and comprehending what is being said next time. This goes to prove that Epica fans treat the band like a spoiled little princess and how dare anyone not just gush over her.

      On a side note….are you saying Storm the Sorrow is a bad song? How dare you. Just because it’s the ‘single’ it must be for the masses and not for a person of such refined Epica taste as yourself? Be more pompous please.

      • No, I like them, but I can hardly call myself their fan. I heard samples and three whole songs and it’s good, typical Epica, but nothing special for them.
        You didn’t understand me; your review is bad no matter if it was revolving around Epica or any other fucking band!
        Your pros and cons are completely misplaced or even switched between, not to mention pointing out probably one of the cheeziest songs ever written in the genre (yeah, it’s bad, no matter what were they aiming for, I could care less. I also hate pop influences that are present also in other songs) among all the other stuff and so on.
        Your quick judgments about me are off just like this review, who’s pompous again? Here, have a tissue yourself so you guys can clean the crap you leave on your keyboards you arrogant asses.
        Boo hoo, someone hates my ‘brilliant’ ‘journalism’.

      • So in your first sentence you just regurgitated what the essence of my review really was. Fine, you don’t like my review for how it’s constructed. That’s cool. Obviously your response and intent was not cleverly constructed either or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If you’re going to troll and attempt to be superior at least truly be superior. Have a nice day.

  2. Ok, so being a HUGE Epica fan, I’d like to throw my two cents in. The Album is really good. Simone sounds great, as usual, and the musicianship is on par with the quality of music you would expect from seasoned musicians like Epica.

    However, there is not one track on this album that didn’t blow me away or sound like anything I haven’t already heard before. Though I disagree with Mr. Liz in that I hope people hear the things they’re trying to say and that there are things wrong with the world that need attention and I applaud Epica for being a voice for change.

    Will I buy this album when it comes out? Yes. Will I see them live (again) when they come around to tour this album? Yes. Do I still love Epica? Yes. Is this their greatest release to date? No.

    And to Mr. “I heard samples and three whole songs”? We’ve heard the album in its entirety. Trust us when we say that the album isn’t great. We should know, we’ve actually heard in instead of assuming.

  3. i really enjoyed the epica so far, i wish in the USA, we;d see more Gothic Metal, and Power metal given a chance on Radio, MTV and VH-1 are too one sided,

    bands like Epica/Krypteria/Sirenia. are great crank it up………………….

  4. I think this is a good, honest review. I, too, don’t think it can stand out between their other albums. With every album they’ve changed so much, it’s incredible. But Requiem for the Indifferent sounds almost exactly like Design Your Universe, but just without most of the keyboards and orchestra. That’s why I think it’s not mindblowing; every album by Epica has always sounded completely different when compared to its predecessor, but this album doesn’t have that first impression. There are tracks, though, that I think are truly phenomenal (“Monopoly on Truth”, “Deter the Tyrant” and “Avalanche”). And I get your opinion about the lyrical themes! I already had the same feeling with DYU. They really need to try something new, musically and lyrically. And if they need more time, I wouldn’t mind waiting a couple more years. Epica is a great band, but I think this album was a little bit rushed.

    And to the haters of this review, please shut up, you’re obviously not smart enough to be talking about music at all..

  5. After the first listen, I was a tad disappointed, but after a few listens, it has grown to become one of my favourite Epica albums, probably second after Consign. Good review, I would be interested to hear what you think of it now after its had time to sink in.

    • That is a good point. Many times when we review an album it’s based off of first impressions, though depending on the band it will take multiple listens in order to get a full perspective. I listened to this two or three times by the time I wrote up the review and I may go back and visit it as the year goes on. I will definitely revisit in time for the year end lists and recaps so we’ll see if I like it better then.

  6. I didn’t care for this album the first 4-5 times I listened to it, but now after I have listened to it a lot more it has grown on me a lot. I always give Epica albums this chance because The Divine conspiracy, which ended up being one of my favourite albums ever, Had to grow on me the same way. I think this review was more than fair. They are a bit preachy for my taste but, I am never one to judge music on its lyrics. I really have a passion for the instruments, and to me the vocals are just another musical instrument.

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