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Design Your Universe

Design Your Universe

19 Oct 2009
4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Design Your Universe
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 19 Oct. 2009
  • Release Date: 19 Oct. 2009
  • Label: NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
  • Copyright: 2009 Nuclear Blast GmbH
  • Total Length: 1:19:00
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B002Q67AWC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,163 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
After the previous masterpiece under the title "The Divine Conspiracy" I was really anxious (and sceptic) about what Epica could offer next. Don't forget that Epica's main composer, Mark Jansen, has been sharing his vision and writing abilities since the glorious days of After Forever (R.I.P.) (remember Prison of Desire & Decipher anyone?). However, there is no need to worry! Mark Jansen & Co are a reliable and massively talented band and have a lot more to offer. This new brilliant album just proves that and shows how hard the band has been constantly working through the years. Honestly, "Design Your Universe" has so many things one can enjoy!

The album is epic and bombastic with amazing melodies, huge choirs, impressively tight rhythm section and on top of that it is complemented by the heavenly voice of Simone Simons (if anyone still has doubts just listen to her voice shining in the superb ballad "Tides of Time"). Even the grunts are generally better in this album. Also, I am sure that having two ex-God Dethroned members in guitars and drums has given much more flexibility in the writing process and added more value to the technical proficiency of the band's music. This explains the existence of more solos, progressive elements and many thundering double-bass parts that make you want to start learning drums yourself (yes, Ariën van Weesenbeek is that good!). I mean there are riffs and crushing songs that even the mighty Amon Amarth will wish they had written. For instance, you can hear that in one of my personal favourites "Martyr of the Free Word" (and oh my god, what a heavenly Gregorian chant comes in out of the blue in 2:45!!). "Our Destiny" is another great song with catchy melodies and blends Simone`s vocals with the choir so nicely in the end!
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Format: Audio CD
It seems that EPICA have found a winning formula to keep the standard high in all their albums.
'Phantom'was an astonishing album and it made me a fan. They haven't returned to that symphonic sound ever since. 'Consign' was a bit more commercial with less growls but still good. 'Divine' was heavier and probably the best one of all their albums (even the new one).
In 'Design' they return to the symphonic sound they had in the first album but they maintain the 'heaviness' of 'Divine'.
The intro to the album is one of the best instrumental pieces they ever wrote. 'Resign to surrender' is one of the best songs of the album, while 'unleashed' (also the video) is not a good representative of the album. 'Martyr of the free word' is almost thrash and 'our destiny' is quite a good song. 'Kingdom of heaven' is a 13-min long epic, with death metal growls, power metal guitars and beautiful ethereal voices from Simone (who by the way sings less and less operatically with each album). a small pointless interlude follows and then comes my favourite song of the album 'burn to a cinder'. 'tides of time' is simply beautiful and 'deconstruct' reminds me a bit of AFTER FOREVER (To tell you the truth, the whole album brings a bit of AFTER FOREVER to the surface). 'semblance of liberty' and 'white waters' im not crazy about and finally 'design your universe' is another epic that reminds me of 'divine conspiracy' (the song)..
this is a very good album by EPICA. More symphonic, heavier...Maybe a bit too long and definitely not as good as the previous album but still GOOD!
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Format: Audio CD
I have to admit that I have been (discracefully) late in discovering Epica. I was aware of them a few years back but thought I was quite content with listening to the female-fronted metal of bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Evanescence, Tarja's solo album etc. Well, how wrong I was. What a treat I have been missing.

I have held off reviewing this album until I had given it a good few listens - just to ensure I was not mistaken. Not mistaken in believing that this is quite possibly the best female-fronted symphonic metal album there is. Right now, the only other album I can think of in this genre that comes close is Nightwish's `Once'. No disrespect to their peers, but Epica have set the bar so high, it will be interesting to see how other bands respond.

Epica are fronted by the most gorgeous woman in metal, Simone Simons. Luckily, she has the vocal talent to back it up. In spades, in fact. She may not have the vocal power of e.g. Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation but she is arguably more versatile than any of her peers, switching from rock singing to opera with ease and with great effect. Her vocals on this album are simply fantastic.

Epica are a curious mix of musical styles. They have a very clear operatic Nightwish influence, but with the 7-string heaviness of Within Temptation and the compositional complexity of progressive bands like Dream Theater. The great thing about this album is that, although it's a very long album, it never feels like it - and there's so much in here too. Every time I listen to it, I hear something new, something I missed last time. Now that's value for money!

Ultimately, Simone's vocal melodies are the driving force of this album.
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