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Epica - The Phantom Agony review


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Band: Epica
Album: The Phantom Agony
Release date: June 2003

01. Adyta (The Neverending Embrace)
02. Sensorium
03. Cry For The Moon (The Embrace That Smothers - Part IV)
04. Feint
05. Illusive Consensus
06. Façade Of Reality (The Embrace That Smothers - Part V)
07. Run For A Fall
08. Seif al Din (The Embrace That Smothers - Part VI)
09. The Phantom Agony
10. Veniality [bonus]
11. Triumph Of Defeat [Japanese bonus]

2013 Reissue
Disc I
01. Adyta (The Neverending Embrace)
02. Sensorium
03. Cry For The Moon (The Embrace That Smothers - Part Ⅳ)
04. Feint
05. Illusive Consensus
06. Façade Of Reality (The Embrace That Smothers - Part Ⅴ)
07. Run For A Fall
08. Seif al Din (The Embrace That Smothers - Part Ⅵ)
09. The Phantom Agony
10. Veniality
11. The Phantom Agony [single mix version]
12. Triumph Of Defeat

Disc II
01. Adyta [orchestral version]
02. Sensorium [orchestral version]
03. Cry For The Moon [orchestral version]
04. Feint [orchestral version]
05. Illusive Consensus [orchestral version]
06. Basic Instinct
07. Run For A Fall [orchestral version]
08. The Phantom Agony [orchestral version]
09. Veniality [orchestral version]
10. Feint [piano version]
11. Cry For The Moon [single mix version]
12. Run For A Fall [single mix version]

I guess that no one hasn't heard that Mark Jansen had to leave After Forever in April 2002; it was quite big news in the Metal world.
And then did his little side project, Sahara Dust become his fulltime band, Good or bad? Well, I guess good, now we have two bands in the same genre, even if I like Epica a bit more than After Forever.

I read something about Epica and decided to brought their album, and believe me, I was highly surprised of what I heard, Gothic Metal, with classic singing mixed with growls, and the songs sounded damn good too.

On vocals, the young and beautiful Simone Simons does a great job, with her classic singing style, make Epica reach another level, and with no other than Tarja Turunen as her idol.
And Mark does a great job to, as songwriter, singer and guitarist, his growls fits perfect with Simone's clear and powerful voice.
The albums it self is a very serious story, based on stuff like 9/11 and so.

As I said, the band was in the beginning named Sahara Dust and was a side project that Mark was working on, in the same time, as he was a member in After Forever.
The only Sahara Dust release to see daylight was a two-track demo called "Cry for the Moon" after that; they changed to Epica (Taken from the Kamelot album with the same name, Kamelot is one of their favorite bands). "The Phantom Agony" was recorded in Wolfsburg with Sascha Paeth, the same guy that recorded with Kamelot and Rhapsody. (And he was a member of the old Power Metal act, Heaven's Gate).
So the production is out of complains, but what could you expect from Mr. Paeth?

The Phantom Agony gives us 9 songs, 2 of them was included on the Sahara Dust demo that I was talking about. ("Cry for the Moon" & "Illusive Consensus"). And 7 new written songs.
And to give the album an extra push, they added 8 strings too (3 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos) which gives the album even more Gothic feelings and some extra power.
And together with Simone, they fit perfect into the album.
The lyrics are filled with feelings, precisely as the music, and it very easy to take Epica to your heart and really love them.

So all of you, that want Gothic with Tarja alike vocals and some growls, check up Epica, and all After Forever fans, that miss Mark, this is for you, even if you don't miss him, this is for you too, 'cause it's close to After Forever, even if Simone is a better singer than Floor (It's my opinion).

Killing Songs: "Cry for the Moon" will kill you, believe me. And the rest of the album too, it's hard to do such a solid album.

Written by Malcolm | 02.12.2003


Comments: 8   Visited by: 187 users
12.07.2006 - 19:58
The Alchemist
The album is good, I like it, but it's not so good as Consign to Oblivion. But there are really good songs.
The first one would be "Cry For The Moon", excellent work, Simone's voice, Mark's growls and the awesome choir, just seeing the recording video... "Sensorium" is a great song too, personally I like it more than "Cry For The Moon" for the instrumental management, the music and the vocals sound more powerful.

Another songs I like are: "Adyta", the intro, the music is so deep, so gothic... one of the best choirs I've heard in Gothic Metal. "Feint" and "Illusive Consensus" are great songs, specially for Simone's voice

A fact that surprised me is that before recording this album, Simone didn't receive singing lessons! and she sings beautiful there

I'm not afraid to die, I'm afraid to be alive without being aware of it
Sensorium - Epica
01.03.2009 - 16:17

Totally agree with the review. I mean this album has everything what it needs to sound perfect. Definitely an epic strong release. And the Simone's voice is just amazing...
02.03.2009 - 01:42

I love this album..The combination of the music, the lyrics and the amazing voice of Simone makes it great!!
10.03.2009 - 14:19
Rating: 9

Their best album IMO. All the songs are great, i like more Cry for the Moon, Façade Of Reality, Feint, The Phantom Agony.
17.05.2009 - 09:46
Liver Failure
Not their best work, but I liked ''Sensorium'' and ''Illusive Consensus''. Beautiful songs.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
25.05.2009 - 21:55
Rating: 9

This album is a very good piece of Symphonic Metal. Nice debut from this wonderful band. The songs "Sensorium", "Cry for the Moon", "The Phantom Agony" and "Seif Al Din" are for me the highlights of this CD.
The band is very consistent, and has an amazing female vocalist Simone Simons. By the way she´s very beautiful aswell.

Stay Metal dudes!
31.08.2012 - 02:06
Rating: 9

One of my favorites.
14.12.2012 - 18:12

Funny how a lot of people like Epica more than After Forever.. A lot of complains about how AF changed their style after Mark left... Funny is that Epica changed a lot since Ad Sluijter left.. So they did the same as AF only After Forever had a better change then Epica in my opinion. But anyhow, love both singers but Floor a lot more

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