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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 March 2012
Apparently, 'Design Your Universe' is the most played album on my iPod, and 'Unleashed' the most played track. That's a good indication of how much I liked Epica's previous effort, so I had high expectations for this album.

IMPORTANT: the first thing to be aware of is that there was an error in the mastering of the CD which means that, on this initial batch at least, the final 'proper' track (i.e. excluding the bonus track), 'Serenade of Self-Destruction' has made it onto the album without the vocals. It doesn't appear, at present, that Nuclear Blast are offering a disc replacement scheme, which is poor. However, a download of the full track is available via the band's website, so the first thing you should do is head over there and grab it. It comes in two formats, one of which is .WAV, so it sounds great, but the whole situation is unfortunate. I suppose I might have / should have deducted a point from the score for this, but ...

Onto the album itself. On first listen I wasn't sure about it. There is so much going on that it's hard to take in at first, and it's definitely not as listener-friendly initially. On second listen I used my headphones and sat with the lyrics in front of me, and the whole album opened up into a world of wonders. Third, fourth and fifth listens have only emphasised how good it is. The production is fantastic, bringing through all the minor details. Simone's vocals are outstanding. I believe she's really been pushed on this album, and it works. There is a lot more grunting on this album, and it really serves to accentuate the light and shade of the songs. The musicianship is, as you would expect, first class. Isaac Delahaye's solos have an excellent clarity and power. The whole thing has a sense of collaboration about it, which is impressive.

The songs themselves: time will tell, but at the moment 'Storm the Sorrow', 'Requiem for the Indifferent', 'Deep Water Horizon', 'Deter the Tyrant', 'Avalanche' and 'Serenade of Self-Destruction' rank among my favourites that the band has yet recorded. And the rest of the tracks aren't far behind. It also has to be said that, even in its pseudo-instrumental form on the CD, 'Serenade ...' is simply awesome, conveying bags of atmosphere, and the full version has a marvellous, soaring chorus. I have to say that 'Delirium' is probably my favourite on the album at the moment: it's a showcase for Simone's voice and builds up slowly but steadily to a brilliant finish.

So, in short, it is another marvellous effort from the band and, for me at least, they seem to be building and improving upon what has gone before with each successive release.

Hoping for a UK date on the tour.

ETA: I notice that the Amazon page for the digibook edition is now showing 'Twin Flames' included as a bonus track. Please note that this was not on the version I received, and isn't shown on the image of the digibook's back cover either. It is, however, available to download from the usual outlets.
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on 12 March 2012
First thing is that you need to listen this album a few times, my first impressions were a very promising start in the first four songs and then it went a bit down hill after that but after listening to it a good few times the brilliance of the album as a whole became obvious.Like all the previous studio albums this one has plenty of cinematic energy but in my opinion its not quite as good as design your universe, in part because the grunt vocals are not as clear and there is a slight increase in screaming.All the songs are excellent but storm the sorrow, avalanche and the title track requiem of the indifferent are particularly brilliant, overall its not their best work but an excellent album nonetheless
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on 20 March 2012
Here it is. Epica's eagerly awaited (by me at least) fourth studio album, Requiem for the Indifferent.

Requiem, as any existing Epica fans may expect, is very much in a similar vein to their previous two albums, The Divine Conspiracy and the absolutely untouchably fantastic Design Your Universe. They would have a hard job exceeding their past record, and in a sense, they haven't. I don't know what the band would have had to pull out of the bag to surpass Design Your Universe, but they haven't done that. Nonetheless, they have produced yet another great album of similar quality.

Requiem doesn't display an enormous amount of difference or progression from previous works. The same vocals and instrumentation are still there; typical Epica style is unchanged. Soaring operatic vocals from Simone, symphonic elements giving a touch of movie-soundtrack theatricality, mid-heaviness guitars... There are a few differences though. There are softer moments, with piano sections, whispered and softly sung vocals, more melody and less blasting guitar. Then again, there are heavier moments too: more use is made of the guttural death metal-style vocals (although the music itself never approaches death metal territory) and the guitars chug in an impressively heavy metal fashion. There are also some interesting elements woven in too, such as the Arabian rhythms of the title and final track. Most interestingly, though, and most impressive is the more progressive edge that surfaces now and then amongst the more traditional power/symphonic metal stylings. My personal favourite track - the apocalyptic Internal Warfare - other than being massively badass is also surprisingly progressive, especially towards the second half. Rhythmic shotgun guitars, soundtrack symphonics, epic, chorally backed vocals, wonderfully dramatic key changes, tempo changes and contrasting piano backing. Quite simply an excellent track which is far more in-your-face power metal-tastic than you would expect from Epica. The Dream Theater dual guitars and keyboards at the end provide yet more unexpected awesome. The title track also plays with exotic rhythms, solos and clever dual guitar melodies in a way that suggests the band have gotten a little bit cleverer since their last foray.

The album slows down a little towards the end, with softer (yet still great) tracks like Avalanche, which builds to a heavier conclusion, Chasing the Dragon style. The softer and cleaner bits are well contrasted with After Forever-esque fist-pumping power, epic orchestral drama and satisfyingly heavy crunch. The second half of Deep Water Horizon is more like listening to the orchestral soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean, albeit with some guitar solos, while Deter the Tyrant is pure Dream Theater (although of course with Epica's own twist on things).

Quite simply put, it's not quite as good as Design your Universe, but isn't far off.
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on 22 March 2012
If you like Epica, you will love this album. There are more detailed reviews elsewhere but this is all you need to know!

Really nice packaging. Makes the digipack feel worth the small amount extra over the regular CD.

Just be warned that the only bonus track on this album is 'Nostalgia'. 'Twin Flames' is listed but not here. I have told Amazon so the listing should change soon.

2 years later:
==========

As time has gone on, this has been the Epica album I have listened to least. Some songs I just don't like. I thought I'd grow into them but the reverse has happened so I have lowered my rating to 3 stars. I play tracks 1,2,3 then skip to 12 & 13 before playing Twin Flames which I bought separately.

The new album 'Quantum Enigma' is just fantastic. Listening to that made me realise I had given 'Requiem ...' too many stars!
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on 23 September 2015
Although the guitar tone is slightly annoying and rubbery sounding in places, this is a really good album. Storm the Sorrow was the single that caught my interest in Epica again after they fell off my radar for a few years and although there are a couple of unfocused moments throughout the rest of the album, they are not to the detriment to its overall enjoyment.
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on 4 May 2013
This is an epic album - literally (over 76 minutes) - starting with a proper pompous choral anthem and then breaking into Epica's typical hard rock music. As soon as you hear Simone Simons' vocals, you know you're in for a treat. I'm not a particular fan of 'extreme' vocals, but those of Epica's Mark Jansen fit well into the musical whole. If you've never heard of Epica before and you like hard rock with soaring female vocals and the 'big' effect of employing a choir for occasional backing, then I recommend this album without hesitation. It's not all hard rock - some ballads are filtered in (eg 'Delirium') where you can really enjoy the sound of Simone's vocals. Epica are deservedly huge in Europe and some of their earlier albums can be difficult (for that read 'expensive') to acquire (I'd guess due to conservative production volumes), but as long as you're sensible about not paying inflated prices for the rarer ones you won't be disappointed by anything you buy. From personal experience, 'The Phantom Agony', 'The Divine Conspiracy', and this are all top notch. If you can go see them live, then you must do so - some bands rely upon studio magic, but Epica are excellent.
A small plug now for the Metal Female Voices Fest (every October in Belgium) - Epica have been stalwarts of MFVF since its inception in 2003 (in their own early days) and this event has rewarded them with co-headliner status for the last few years. I've attended every year since 2007 and it's a great way to spend a weekend listening to a variety of bands (mostly European, but occasionally from further afield) spanning a range of styles from lyrical folky at one extreme to deathly at the other - something for everybody. Epica, Leaves Eyes and Delain are among the better-known regular attendees in this particular style of music, but every year I hear more good bands for the first time, so it's well worth it.
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2014
Epica are unique and whilst their music follows a similar theme of classical and rock music mixed they always sound fresh and interesting. I guess you either like the dramatic or you do not. I do and I would recommend their music to anyone.
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on 13 August 2012
This album is typical Epica, it's big, bold, bombastic in places, reflective in others and does not disappoint if you like that sort of thing. There is a nice mix in vocal styles held together by Simone's wonderful voice. I would say this album has more a metal feel than say the cinematic Consign To Oblivion but it fits very well with Design Your Universe. As with most albums of this genre it is not an "instant" album but requires attention and is not as accessible as say Nightwish or Sirenia more recent efforts. I like the flow to the album and my only negative is the bonus track, Twin Flames, it feels cheesey and I would have liked the album closer to be the excellent Serenade of Self Destruction.
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on 12 March 2016
I hadn't heard of Epica until recently and became fascinated with this band after hearing a similar group Nightwish. The band is at its best in full flow with the female lead singer reaching into the depths of her soul. The sound is gentle, impassioned, metallic and operatic in turns.This isn't for the faint hearted but is immensely satisfying.
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on 22 April 2012
I was a little disappionted in this album, i love the previous offerings, Design your Universe & The Divine Conspiracy,so i guess they decided if it works why change it, i was expecting something different from them, but the plus side of it is the musicianship is still there and Simmone has most beautiful voice of female fronted bands, worth a check out but if you have never heard Epica then buy previous offerings.
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