Divine Conspiracy

The Divine Conspiracy

3.7 4
by Epica
     
 

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After two albums of generally finely crafted symphonic metal, Dutch ensemble Epica decided to indulge their orchestral kinks to the fullest with 2005's metal-free The Score: An Epic Journey, but they are back to their usual, genre-meshing stomping grounds with 2007's The Divine Conspiracy, which many fans will likely consider their…  See more details below

Overview

After two albums of generally finely crafted symphonic metal, Dutch ensemble Epica decided to indulge their orchestral kinks to the fullest with 2005's metal-free The Score: An Epic Journey, but they are back to their usual, genre-meshing stomping grounds with 2007's The Divine Conspiracy, which many fans will likely consider their proper third opus. Whatever the case may be, the album gets under way with the entirely symphonic "Indigo" prologue, before slamming into the metallic portion of the program with "The Obsessive Devotion." This, in typical Epica fashion, showcases not only the angelic soprano of Simone Simons, but also a manly baritone choir and ever more demonic death grunts from bandleader Mark Jansen -- all of them juggling lyrics in English and Latin! As with all of The Divine Conspiracy's -- and indeed Epica's -- best tracks (here including "Fools of Damnation" and "Sonata Terra"), the attraction ultimately hinges on exploring the sonic contrasts of light and dark; the punishing intensity of those elephantine guitar riffs and hyperactive drumming cast against the soaring, layered sweetness of the orchestrated strings and keyboards. Remove these contrasts and the fireworks they ignite, and largely uniform offerings like the ballads "Safeguard to Paradise" and "Chasing the Dragon" (overlong, featuring a brief black metal freak-out, and not about a great big lizard, believe it or not) simply leave one wanting more. Similarly, Epica still struggle to compete with hit-penning machines like Nightwish or Within Temptation when it comes to commercial singles with overpowering hooks (see the merely serviceable "Never Enough"). And just when you think Epica had escaped the shadow of the band that spawned them, After Forever, along comes the ambitious but uneven four-song suite titled "The Embrace That Smothers," which, actually originated in Jansen's former group (even though its first five installments appeared on Epica's debut). All that being said, give Epica credit for staying the course (winding as it may be) long enough to deliver the crowning achievement of their career thus far in The Divine Conspiracy's colossal, multi-faceted, 14-minute title track, which closes this LP. Now, if they can only maintain that stellar form for the duration of their next album, things could get really interesting.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/28/2007
Label:
Nuclear Blast Americ
UPC:
0727361195625
catalogNumber:
11956
Rank:
748

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Epica   Primary Artist
Sascha Paeth   Background Vocals
Cinzia Rizzo   Alto,Choir, Chorus,Alto (Vocal)
Jeff Wade   Spoken Word,Guest Appearance
Sander Gommans   Animal Sounds,Guest Appearance
Mark Jansen   Rhythm Guitar,Animal Sounds,Group Member
Olaf Reitmeier   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Guest Appearance
Gjalt Lucassen   Guest Appearance
Yves Huts   Bass Guitar,Group Member
Ad Sluijter   Guitar,Group Member
Amanda Somerville   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Alto (Vocal),Spoken Word,Guest Appearance
Simone Simons   Mezzo-Soprano (Vocal),Group Member
Bridget Foggle   Soprano (Vocal)
Previn Moore   Tenor (Vocal)
Linda Van Summeren   Soprano (Vocal)
Amanda Sommerville   Alto

Technical Credits

Markus Schmidt   Orchestral Arrangements
Sascha Paeth   Lyricist,Producer,Engineer,Writer,Vocal Arrangements
Andrea Beckers   Cover Photo
Mark Jansen   Composer,Orchestral Arrangements
Olaf Reitmeier   Engineer
Epica   Audio Production
Miro Rodenberg   Orchestral Arrangements
Mattias Norén   Art Direction
Yves Huts   Composer,Orchestral Arrangements,Guitar Engineer
Ad Sluijter   Composer,Engineer
Amanda Somerville   Lyricist,Engineer,Writer,Vocal Arrangements,Vocal Producer,Vocal Coach,Lyric Editing
Simone Simons   Composer
Sacha Paeth   Audio Production

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The Divine Conspiracy 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Honestly, some people may listen to this after Nightwish or Within Temptation and say, "Oh it's the same gothic rock crap", and until I listened to more then one song I sort of thought the same thing, but this band has a unique sound all their own! The music on this album is outstanding and so is Simone's voice! I love this group! Right up with Nightwish and Within Temptation!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Greyed More than 1 year ago
Created a Within Temptation channel and Epica came up quite frequently. Bought this CD as a gift for my wife since she loves to sing along to female fronted metal. Imagine my dismay when 1 song on the entire album had a female voice to it. The rest is the low, throat-killing growl. Definitely not what we were looking for. If that's you thing, give it a sample, you might like it. If you don't, skip it, nay, flee in terror!