Epica - Omega review



Reviewer:
7.7

190 users:
7.89
Band: Epica
Album: Omega
Release date: February 2021


01. Alpha - Anteludium
02. Abyss Of Time - Countdown To Singularity
03. The Skeleton Key
04. Seal Of Solomon
05. Gaia
06. Code Of Life
07. Freedom - The Wolves Within
08. Kingdom Of Heaven, Part 3 - The Antediluvian Universe
09. Rivers
10. Synergize - Manic Manifest
11. Twilight Reverie - The Hypnagogic State
12. Omega - Sovereign Of The Sun Spheres


Epica really need no introduction, as far as anyone with a passing interest in symphonic metal is concerned; only Nightwish and Within Temptation really surpass them in terms of international renown. However, whilst those two bands are currently going down increasingly divisive musical paths, fans can rest assured that the same is not the case with Epica on Omega.

Arguably peaking in the mid/late-2000s with The Divine Conspiracy and Design Your Universe, the Dutch collective have nevertheless remained consistent in their approach since then, without ever having a truly concerning dip in quality (even if Requiem For The Indifferent may have unintentionally left some listeners indifferent, based on its rating here). The combination of a chuggy metal base, operatic/growling vocal contrast between Simone Simons and Mark Jansen, extravagant symphonic bombast courtesy of grandiose choral and orchestral arrangements, and cues from World music influences, particularly Arabic music, has remained in place throughout their recent records, albeit with minor deviations or experiments with other stylistic elements. The musical description in the last sentence pretty comprehensively summarizes the contents of Omega as well; whilst I can't speak for the hardcore fans, I don't think there's much to be found here in terms of musical content that's likely to surprise most listeners. Now that it's clear that the style of the music is going to deliver what is expected, the only question that remains is whether the quality of the music will match expectations.

I've seen a few comments in the album thread of Omega criticizing it for lacking in memorability and placing style over substance; to be honest, that's been a consistent issue with Epica throughout my experiences with listening to them, and is why I've never taken to them as strongly as I have Nightwish. However, whilst I would agree that the songs here aren't as consistently gripping as those on their best albums, particularly Design Your Universe, I don't think the gap between them is huge. Probably the bigger issue that Omega has is the distribution of the standout tracks, as I find it to be quite a front-heavy record. "Abyss Of Time" is the first full song on the album, and it may well be the best one here; leaning heavily into power metal, this fast-paced juggernaut draws listeners in instantly with its exciting and memorable chorus and other vocal hooks. This chorus is the first chance of many for Simone Simons to shine; whilst I felt like Nightwish's most recent album didn't play to her compatriot Floor Jansen's strengths, Simons sounds completely in her element throughout Omega, standing out even against the impressive performances from both the metal band and the symphonic components and consistently being the best thing about the album.

"Abyss Of Time" is a tough act to follow, and one that "The Skeleton Key", probably one of the weaker songs on the album, fails to live up to, but the subsequent trio of songs I find to be quite memorable, particularly due to the choral arrangements and Arabian-influenced melodies. I wouldn't say I love the songs, but they generally deliver what you'd hope from an Epica song, particularly the grandiose chorus of "Code Of Life". However, in keeping with past Epica records, Omega is another lengthy effort, and it's a case of diminishing returns after "Code Of Life" is over with. "Freedom" is a tad pedestrian, whilst "Rivers" doesn't recapitulate the soft song magic of something like "Tides Of Time", meaning that it starts to drag before it's over. The remaining few tracks are all solid enough, featuring enough strong moments to make the closing stretch of Omega a satisfying one, even if none of them reach true greatness.

However, this summary does overlook one track that deserves a few words of its own. As hinted at before, I'm not an ardent follower of Epica, but I'm aware of their cross-album sagas, and I'm also familiar with the excellent "Kingdom Of Heaven" from Design Your Universe. Omega brings both of these into play with "Kingdom Of Heaven, Part 3 - The Antediluvian Universe", a 13-minute epic right in the center of the album. Those more committed to the "Kingdom Of Heaven" legacy may have their quibbles with it, but I felt like this track was the only real competition "Abyss Of Time" has as far as highlights on Omega are concerned; the symphonic-heavy moments are epic, the extreme metal portions hit hard (going into full-on tremolo and blast beats at times), and the keyboards during the last couple of minutes threaten to steal the show. It's not the best epic that Epica have written, but it's a solid addition to their collection.

Overall, Omega sees Epica sticking to what they know and delivering an effective album as a result. It may not be the band at their best, and perhaps some Epica fans might wish the band would mix things up a bit more like their peers have done recently on albums such as Human. :II: Nature. or Resist, but at the very least it should be far less divisive than those albums, and I would expect most fans to find it to be another enjoyable entry in their impressively consistent discography.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 9


 



Written on 06.03.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 15   Visited by: 155 users
06.03.2021 - 21:21
Taravilyaion
Taravilyaion
"...only Nightwish and Within Temptation really surpass them in terms of international renown."

And Delain, Leaves'Eyes, Therion & Visions of Atlantis.
----
"Ein wahrer Krieger ist immer vorbereitet auf den Tod - ob eigene oder jemand anderes.. "
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06.03.2021 - 22:58
Rafael Cevidanes
Account deleted
Same old formula. Exhaustingly the same. I don't know how someone can keep themselves relevant doing the same work over and over again. Epica is stratospherically overestimated. They can be simplistically summarized by only 3 albums: Design Your Universe, The Quantum Enigma and The Holographic Principle. Besides these, there's too little to add to their reputation and Omega doesn't feel like doing different.
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07.03.2021 - 02:47
nikarg
Mod
Written by Taravilyaion on 06.03.2021 at 21:21

"...only Nightwish and Within Temptation really surpass them in terms of international renown."

And Delain, Leaves'Eyes, Therion & Visions of Atlantis.


Spotify numbers:

Visions of Atlantis --> 125,539 monthly listeners
Leaves' Eyes --> 156,251 monthly listeners
Therion --> 279,301 monthly listeners
Delain --> 296,852 monthly listeners
Epica --> 759,519 monthly listeners
Within Temptation --> 1,655,627 monthly listeners
Nightwish --> 1,868,251 monthly listeners
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07.03.2021 - 10:25
The Melting Snow

I quite agree with the review. Epica is one of those bands that if you've heard, say, 15 of their songs, you've heard just about their whole discography.

On the other hand, if you are asked to point out bad/mediocre songs, you probably won't be able to. They're good, but too 'consistent' for my taste.
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07.03.2021 - 11:51
musclassia

Written by nikarg on 07.03.2021 at 02:47

Written by Taravilyaion on 06.03.2021 at 21:21

"...only Nightwish and Within Temptation really surpass them in terms of international renown."

And Delain, Leaves'Eyes, Therion & Visions of Atlantis.


Spotify numbers:

Visions of Atlantis --> 125,539 monthly listeners
Leaves' Eyes --> 156,251 monthly listeners
Therion --> 279,301 monthly listeners
Delain --> 296,852 monthly listeners
Epica --> 759,519 monthly listeners
Within Temptation --> 1,655,627 monthly listeners
Nightwish --> 1,868,251 monthly listeners


Thanks for doing my job for me; that sentence wasn't a testament to the quality of any of the bands, but it's pretty irrefutable that Epica are more popular than all those other bands. Just another metric of that:

Facebook likes/follows:

Nightwish - 3.9M
Within Temptation - 2.3M
Epica - 2.1M
Delain - 281k
Therion - 684k
Leaves' Eyes - 252k
Visions Of Atlantis - 67k
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07.03.2021 - 12:03
fenchik

Probably their Best album since 2009"Design your universe". But nothing can't top their first 3 albums!!
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08.03.2021 - 13:12
boo-boo

Quote:
And Delain, Leaves'Eyes, Therion & Visions of Atlantis.


Kidding, right?
----
World won't end today - it's already tomorrow in Australia.
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09.03.2021 - 09:40
Enemy of Reality

I'm not exactly a fan of Epica, Nightwish and alikes, but i'm always interested in checking their new albums. Design Your Universe being my fav work from them. From the rest of their discography i tend to pick one or two good songs and add them to my Epica spotify playlist.
With this album i'm sadly having quite the difficulty in adding any song to that playlist. The album sounds oversaturated, more than usual i mean. Their sound has always been bombastic and grandoise, but here it just gives me a headache the amount of "volume" they put into their songs. Maybe it's the production or the songs aren't really that great individually. It ends up being distractive and it's actually detrimental to the musicians themselves, since it's hard to appreciate their individual work behind all the fat orchestration.
I'd say Key of Solomon and Code of Life are good moments, but overall maybe it's time for them to hit the gym and cut down the excessive fat of their songs and let the musicians shine.
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09.03.2021 - 16:46
mariano

Written by musclassia on 07.03.2021 at 11:51

Written by nikarg on 07.03.2021 at 02:47

Written by Taravilyaion on 06.03.2021 at 21:21

"...only Nightwish and Within Temptation really surpass them in terms of international renown."

And Delain, Leaves'Eyes, Therion & Visions of Atlantis.


Spotify numbers:

Visions of Atlantis --> 125,539 monthly listeners
Leaves' Eyes --> 156,251 monthly listeners
Therion --> 279,301 monthly listeners
Delain --> 296,852 monthly listeners
Epica --> 759,519 monthly listeners
Within Temptation --> 1,655,627 monthly listeners
Nightwish --> 1,868,251 monthly listeners


Thanks for doing my job for me; that sentence wasn't a testament to the quality of any of the bands, but it's pretty irrefutable that Epica are more popular than all those other bands. Just another metric of that:

Facebook likes/follows:

Nightwish - 3.9M
Within Temptation - 2.3M
Epica - 2.1M
Delain - 281k
Therion - 684k
Leaves' Eyes - 252k
Visions Of Atlantis - 67k

It really strikes me that Within Temptation is more popular than Epica... specially the numbers from Spotify.
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10.03.2021 - 10:10
The Melting Snow

Written by mariano on 09.03.2021 at 16:46

It really strikes me that Within Temptation is more popular than Epica... specially the numbers from Spotify.


always a good idea to turn into a pop band. stats don't lie
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11.03.2021 - 09:26
Taravilyaion
Taravilyaion
Written by nikarg on 07.03.2021 at 02:47

Written by Taravilyaion on 06.03.2021 at 21:21

"...only Nightwish and Within Temptation really surpass them in terms of international renown."

And Delain, Leaves'Eyes, Therion & Visions of Atlantis.


Spotify numbers:

Visions of Atlantis --> 125,539 monthly listeners
Leaves' Eyes --> 156,251 monthly listeners
Therion --> 279,301 monthly listeners
Delain --> 296,852 monthly listeners
Epica --> 759,519 monthly listeners
Within Temptation --> 1,655,627 monthly listeners
Nightwish --> 1,868,251 monthly listeners


Yeah, cause the whole world listens to Spotify only.
There's also a thing called Bandcamp, Youtube, Deezer, Tidal and there are these plastic discs called CD's.


Written by musclassia on 07.03.2021 at 11:51
Just another metric of that:

Facebook likes/follows:

Nightwish - 3.9M
Within Temptation - 2.3M
Epica - 2.1M
Delain - 281k
Therion - 684k
Leaves' Eyes - 252k
Visions Of Atlantis - 67k


Facistbook is mostly for older people now.
The youth mostly uses Insta now.

Anyway..... whatever.
I like the last 4 much better than the first 3.
----
"Ein wahrer Krieger ist immer vorbereitet auf den Tod - ob eigene oder jemand anderes.. "
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11.03.2021 - 10:19
musclassia

Quote:
Written by musclassia on 07.03.2021 at 11:51
Just another metric of that:

Facebook likes/follows:

Nightwish - 3.9M
Within Temptation - 2.3M
Epica - 2.1M
Delain - 281k
Therion - 684k
Leaves' Eyes - 252k
Visions Of Atlantis - 67k


Facistbook is mostly for older people now.
The youth mostly uses Insta now.



Instagram followers:

Nightwish - 212k
Within Temptation - 317k
Epica - 323k
Delain - 80k
Therion - 48k
Leaves' Eyes - 37k
Visions Of Atlantis - 20k

Written by musclassia on 07.03.2021 at 11:51
Just another metric of that:
Anyway..... whatever.
I like the last 4 much better than the first 3.


That's entirely understandable, but that's a completely different point to those bands having larger international reputations/fanbases than Nightwish/Within Temptation/Epica, which all easily checkable metrics show is not the case. If you want to argue that those four bands are more renowned than the first three, which it seems you're still trying to by acting sniffy towards spotify listeners and facebook likes as indicators of popularity/reach, consider providing any evidence that actually supports this argument.
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11.03.2021 - 11:34
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Let me see what other metrics I can find.

last.fm:

Nightwish - 1.4M listeners
Within Temptation - 1.1M listeners
Epica - 551K listeners
Therion - 397K listeners
Leaves' Eyes - 329K listeners
Delain - 240K listeners
Visions Of Atlantis - 175K listeners

Deezer:

Nightwish - 871K fans
Within Temptation - 448K fans
Epica - 353K fans
Therion - 110K fans
Delain - 90K fans
Leaves' Eyes - 40K fans
Visions Of Atlantis - 8K fans

YouTube (Most viewed 3 videos)

Nightwish - 127M / 112M / 73M
Within Temptation - 84M / 38M / 29M
Epica - 40M / 19M / 15M
Delain - 11M / 6M / 4M
Therion - 7M / 5M / 5M
Leaves Eyes - 3M / 2M / 1M
Visions Of Atlantis - 3M / 1M / 900K

RateYourMusic (most rated vs least rated full length):

Nightwish - 3329 -> 649
Therion - 1734 -> 271
Within Temptation - 1556 -> 434
Epica - 1094 -> 280
Delain - 461 -> 212
Leaves' Eyes - 486 -> 70
Visions Of Atlantis - 186 -> 70

Metal Storm:

Nightwish - 2446 fans
Epica - 1631 fans
Therion - 1239 fans
Within Temptation - 1060 fans
Delain - 465 fans
Leaves' Eyes - 322 fans
Visions Of Atlantis - 145 fans

Wish there was a coherent way to heck album sales too.
----
Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.

2021 goodies
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14.03.2021 - 17:53
The Melting Snow

Hahaha so many in-yo-face stats. the guy should be running now
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25.03.2021 - 00:31
Novas

Y'all also gotta keep in mind that Nightwish has been a band since early/mid-90s. They were the first symphonic metal band. Followed by Within Temptation - who were more gothic starting out, later hard rock & now pop - and After Forever in the late-90s. Then came along Epica early 2000s. So of course Nightwish & WT gets more attention. Epica imo is more power metal than the three, and heavier. I like the fact Epica stays true to their roots. Although, "Omega" is pretty weak of an album. Simone has been pretty ear-piercing since 2 albums ago & Jansen sounds like he's straining his grunts like he had a cold. The instrumentation is good, but the lyrics, using too much choir than usual, the decision on opening the album with "Abyss of Time" & how they went about singing was poorly executed. My favs are "Code of Life" & "Kingdom of Heaven III." Solid 7/10.
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