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Epysode - Fantasmagoria

by YngwieViking at 14 October 2013, 8:35 PM

In Complement with the Conceptual overwhelming releases of great interest such as the magnificent EARTHCRY late last year, the adventurous NERGARD and obviously the more commercial AVANTASIA and AVALON earlier in 2013, EPYSODE is another high profile choral / “All Star” project. The new CD called "Fantasmagoria" is the second-coming chapter of the brainchild thrilling concept-story created by Guitarist Belgian Samuel Arkan (VIRUS IV) with 14 tracks and over 60-minutes in length plus an extensive 20-page booklet insert, "Fantasmagoria" is a serious piece of Euro Power / Prog Metal, Mixed & Mastered by the ubiquitous Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT / PRETTY MAIDS / MERCENARY / DIVIDED MULTITUDE / ANUBIS GATE).

This follow-up concept album, is an amazing sequel to the debut 2011’s "Obsessions", it features the extensive and exemplary work of a great line-up of International guest. The vocalists Henning Basse (METALLIUM / SONS OF SEASONS) and Tom Englund (EVERGREY) from mighty Sweden are two of the most easily recognizable voice, and they are some of the best performers in the Metal scene of today and they share the same haunting and sensitive way in the interpretation, even in the middle of a difficult environment made of the intense arrangements & such complex melodies.

The lesser known third male singer acting under the prime role character of an older Shawn is Canadian born Matt Marinelli, frontman from the great newcomers BOREALIS (their 2011's album “Fall From Grace" is warmly recommended) who gave all his heart and soul to this project with Sincerity & Spontaneity, indeed he is maybe the most reliable singer and the perfect cohesive element to complete the Tenor Tryptic. It's an amazing trio of highly talented guys, flawless and powerful in the organic singing parts, which are definitively the best elements and the strongest asset out of this recording. The casting is terrific; the choice of those singers is particularly clever, as they all melt in a very precise and dense direction, the perfect amalgam of voices instead of playing with the antithesis of the tone divergence.

The bunch of girls that provides some elegant vocals are comprised of Miss Ida Haukland (TRIOSPHERE) from Norway aka Amy “Amber” and the Jordane persona is interpreted by Tezzi Persson (BETWEEN THE SILENCE), in a very regular way with talent but not with a real inspiration state, I must confess that the male / Female voice contrast trick, isn’t working anymore with me. The new material is way heavier than before, nevertheless EPYSODE still sounds very Genuine , broader than ever, yet darker even modernized, apparently improved however loyal to the Metal's spirit with straight guitars and sharp stainless steel riffs / huge lead breaks (“T.H.O.R.N.S.”) executed by the Italian Shred-Maestro Simone Mularoni (DGM / LALU / EMPYRIOS) with pure virtuosity, this particularity along with the strong impersonated voices and the epic harmonies reinforced by an updated work on progressive Atmospheres/intriguing Symphonic and massive orchestral parts are the cherry on the cake .American Citizen Mike LePond (ex-DISTANT THUNDER / AFFECTOR / PAINMUSEUM / HOLY FORCE/LALU) from SYMPHONY X fame is the bass player and along with French drummer Léo Margarit (PAIN OF SALVATION), he's an essential part of the overall sound with this immensely bold rhythmic section, a skilled foundation of groove, ballsy, discreet but efficient. The gloomy sophistication in the thick ambience is the norm here (“File - 4180-2”), it reach its climax with the cold intro for “Garden Of Exile” and the Gothic Metal inspired title track “Fantasmagoria”.

My favorite number, is the superb track “Venom”, which is sounding very dark and evil, actually not far from the SONS OF SEASONS / WITHERSCAPE or CRIMSON CULT style, with obviously another supreme, operatic rendition and a fantastic vocal job done by Herr H. Basse, the following song “The Black Parade” and later “Living Fortress” are more in the SYMPHONY X territory with great dueling vocals between Matt Marinelli and Tom Englund, both songs holds a technical fury and a fat riffage frenzy mania. The next one “T.H.O.R.N.S.” is clearly in the best KAMELOT / EVERGREY mode, it's more or less the same flavor for “Raven's Curse” and the early single called “The Arch”.

“Now And Forever” is introduced by a short but impressive declamation cut (“The Inheritance”) - I'll had wished that it lasts longer than that - it belongs to the same genre displayed with “Morning Rose” or “Forgotten Symphony”: Enigmatic and vaporous , deep and deeper in the Dark vibes of Goth Orchestrated Metal Tradition, think AFTER FOREVER meets DELAIN meets EPICA meets REVAMP. The closing track, "Unreal" is a very typical one, Power Metal oriented with Double kick onslaught, lifted by an all-guns-blazing-like-Romeo lead solo spot by DGM’s Guitar guru, Mr. Mularoni !

The final choice between all those 2013’s Metal Opera is going to be very difficult to rank for a top list, and it’s a big contender for the higher slots, but I’ll suggest that you should place this “Fantasmagoria” at the head of your buying list.

4 Star Rating

1. File-41-80-2
2. The Arch
3. Morning Rose
4. Venom
5. The Black Parade
6. T.H.O.R.N.S.
7. Garden of Exile
8. Raven’s Curse
9. Living Fortress
10. Fantasmagoria
11. The Inheritance
12. Now and Forever
13. Forgotten Symphony
14. Unreal
Samuel Arkan – Guitars
Léo Margarit – Drums
Julien Spreutels - Keyboards
Mike LePond – Bass
Ida Haukland – Lead Vocals
Tezzi Persson – Lead Vocals
Henning Basse – Lead Vocals
Tom Englund – Lead Vocals
Matt Marinelli – Lead Vocals
Simone Mularoni – Lead Guitars
Record Label: AFM Records


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Edited 28 May 2023

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