Epica (album)


Epica (album)


Infobox Album |
Name = Epica
Artist = Kamelot
Type = Album


Released = January 13, 2003
Recorded = Recorded at Gate Studio (Wolfsburg, Germany) June-October 2002
Genre = Symphonic metal
Power metal
Progressive metal
Length = 52:12
Label = Noise
Producer = Sascha Paeth and Miro
Reviews = * Lords of Metal rating-10|9.2 [http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showreview.php?id=1613&lang=en link]
* The Metal Circus rating-10|9 [http://www.themetalcircus.com/review.php?id=13 link]
* The Metal Crypt #1 Rating|5|5 [http://www.metalcrypt.com/pages/review.php?revid=793 link]
* The Metal Crypt #2 Rating|5|5 [http://www.metalcrypt.com/pages/review.php?revid=725 link]
* The Metal Observer rating-10|9.5 [http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=1&id=1854 link]
* Metal Storm rating-10|10 [http://www.metalstorm.ee/pub/review.php?review_id=266 link]
* Metal Temple Rating|4|5 [http://www.metal-temple.com/review.asp?id=432 link]
* Sea of Tranquility Rating|4|5 [http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=514 link]
* [http://soundofmetal.se/ Sound of Metal] Rating-10|8.5 [http://soundofmetal.se/index.php?page=kamelotepicareview link]
Last album = "Karma"
(2001)
This album = "Epica"
(2003)
Next album = "The Black Halo"
(2005)

"Epica" is the sixth full-length album by metal band Kamelot. It was released in January 13, 2003 through Noise Records. It was the first concept album by Kamelot. Most of the lyrics were written before the actual music was composed. This album, along with its sequel "The Black Halo", is loosely based on the story of Goethe's Faust. The album inspired the naming of the band Epica after its release.

Characters

*Ariel (Roy Khan) – Ariel is an ever-searching person. A prominent young alchemist, he has become disappointed with the inadequacy of science and religion to answer his questions, and seeks the universal truth that they have failed to provide. He feels that this truth is the only thing that can make his life worthwhile.
*Helena (Mari) – Helena and Ariel grew up together, and she is the only person Ariel has ever truly loved. She represents innocence and all that is pure and good.
*Mephisto (Roy Khan) – Mephisto is the archangel who most loved God. Thus, when God ordered all the angels to bow before mankind, Mephisto refused, proclaiming that his loyalty was to God alone. For this, he was cast out of Heaven. He appears in many different shapes and guises, and is never quite what you'd expect--rational and sophisticated, yet tricky and deceptive. He desperately yearns to be with God again--and it is this yearning that sets the events of Epica into motion.

Track listing

# "Prologue" – 1:07
# "Center of the Universe" – 5:27
# "Farewell" – 3:41
# "Interlude I - Opiate Soul" – 1:10
# "The Edge of Paradise" – 4:09
# "Wander" – 4:24
# "Interlude II - Omen" – 0:40
# "Descent of the Archangel" – 4:35
# "Interlude III - At the Banquet" – 0:30
# "A Feast for the Vain" – 3:57
# "On the Coldest Winter Night" – 4:03
# "Lost & Damned" – 4:55
# "Helena's Theme" – 1:51
# "Interlude IV - Dawn" – 0:27
# "The Mourning After (Carry On)" – 4:59
# "III Ways to Epica" – 6:16

Limited edition version contains a bonus track:
*17. "Snow" – 4:21

Japanese version contains a bonus track:
*17. "Like the Shadows" – 3:45

Plot

Prologue

Based on the "Prologue in Heaven" from Goethe's Faust, Mephisto and God make a bet; if Mephisto can claim the soul of Ariel, God's favorite man, then he will be allowed to reenter Heaven. But if Mephisto fails, he must be condemned to Hell forever. Musically, we are given scattered glimpses of the events to come through distorted fragments of lyrics, accompanied by an erratic strings ensemble.

Center of the Universe

We are introduced to Ariel's "always searching" mind. He guesses that, at some point, on the verge of death, "someone" must have known the truth he seeks. Without that truth, he feels alone in his homeland--the center of his universe. A moment of calm enters Ariel's raging mind (represented musically by a melodic duet) in which he decides that, having exhausted every venue of knowledge in his homeland, the answers must lie somewhere else.

Farewell

Ariel bids farewell to his old life. He burns all bridges and cuts ties with everyone he has ever known--including Helena. Finally, he rejects God, who is apparently unable to remedy the questions and afflictions of the human condition. Eager to begin his quest, he boards the next available ship and sets sail across the ocean, never to return.

Interlude I - Opiate Soul

This interlude marks the passage of time as Ariel spends many years traversing the wide world in search of truth.

The Edge of Paradise

Grasping at straws after years of fruitless travels, Ariel has turned to the occult and hallucinogenic drugs (represented through slow, meandering vocals and an exotic Arabesque melody), to which he has developed an addiction. Under the influence of these practices, he experiences a brief vision of Mephisto, though, as of yet, he knows nothing of the fallen angel or his divine bet. Ariel realizes that his current lifestyle will not lead him to the great answer, which he still desires as much as ever.

Wander

In despair, Ariel gives up his search and wanders, alone and aimless, throughout the wilderness of winter (the season in which the rest of this tale will take place). He reminisces about Helena, longing to return once again to the youth they spent together.

Interlude II - Omen

This slow, soft instrumental interlude marks Ariel's darkest hour, in which he prepares to take his own life. But Mephisto, his bet not yet won, has other plans.

Descent of the Archangel

Bathed in a halo of moonlight, Mephisto descends in angelic glory to Ariel. This is represented musically through a haunting saxophone opening pierced with simplistic keyboard chords. He introduces himself to Ariel, and proposes a deal: He will serve Ariel in life, fulfill all his desires, and grant him all manner of worldly power--on the condition that, when Ariel dies, Mephisto keeps his soul. Though the offer is tempting, Ariel is initially wary.

Interlude III - At the Banquet

Ariel suddenly finds himself transported to Mephisto's glorious castle, where the fallen angel is holding a feast in his honor. The revelrous mood is set through the upbeat tempo as Mephisto makes his entry to the banquet hall.

A Feast for the Vain

Ariel enjoys a night of gluttony, revelry, and pleasurable company at Mephisto's hand. Awestruck and overwhelmed by the splendor and glory (shown musically through almost Waltz-like progressions), the last of his doubts are banished; he accepts Mephisto's friendship and consents to his deal--with one modification: If Ariel ever experiences a moment in which he is so content that he wishes to linger there forever, only then will Mephisto keep his soul. Mephisto grudgingly accepts this modified contract.

On the Coldest Winter Night

Leaving Mephisto's castle, Ariel runs into, of all people, Helena, who, unbeknownst to him, has been searching for him these past years. A moving acoustic bass portrays the warmth and love that still remains between them, even after all their years apart. The two lovers hold each other close and spend the winter night together in the nearby Town. During this night, Helena conceives Ariel's child--though neither is aware of this.

Lost & Damned

After tarrying in the Town with Helena for a time, Ariel decides that, with the newfound power Mephisto has brought him, it is time to continue on his quest. But he is unwilling to subject the pure and good Helena to the hardships of his journey and the seductive ways of Mephisto. And though he loves Helena, he holds his sought-after answers more valuable than the bond they share. In his words, "Love means nothing to me, if there is a higher place to be." So, though he still loves Helena and Helena alone, he leaves her. The discord between the two is portrayed by a fast-paced drum beat punctuated by slower keyboard chords.

Helena's Theme

Distraught, Helena vows that she will love Ariel even in death, and drowns herself--and, by extension, the child in her womb--in the nearby River. At the prayer of the River Spirit, both Helena and the unborn child ("Alena") ascend to Heaven.

Interlude IV - Dawn

As dawn rises, the Town Crier announces Helena's actions of the previous night. Her body has been found in the River, and discovered to be with child.

The Mourning After (Carry On)

In a dream, Ariel witnesses the twofold death. His dread is confirmed by the Town Crier. He is shocked and bewildered both by Helena's death, and the death of the child, of whom he had no knowledge. Overwhelmed with loss and loneliness, he grieves for Helena. Yet he knows that he must carry on in his quest. After all, if he fails, then what did she die for? It would be a dishonor to her memory not to fulfill the task for which he left her, and compelled her to take her own life.

III Ways to Epica

Mephisto encourages Ariel to continue his quest, rationalizing Helena's death as a cost of "playing with fire." He asks for Ariel's trust and berates him for his grief, proclaiming all human emotions, which are born in passion, as ultimately destructive. Helena, now in Heaven, declares that love is the only thing that humans can truly know, and that, against it, the forces of darkness can never prevail. Ariel, in despair, blames God for his sorrow. His guilt for the part he played in Helena's death consumes him, and he feels that he is beyond redemption.

It is here that the story of Epica properly ends, though there are two additional bonus tracks. Ariel's tale is continued in "The Black Halo".

Line-up

*Roy Khan – vocals
*Thomas Youngbloodguitars
*Glenn Barrybass guitar
*Casey Grillodrums

Guest musicians:

* Keyboards and orchestral arrangementsMiro
* Female vocals – Mari
* Additional guitars – Sascha Paeth
* Guitar solo on "Descent of the Archangel" – Luca Turilli
* Keyboards – Günter Werno and Jan P. Ringvold
* Choir vocalists – Robert Hunecke-Rizzo, Cinzia Rizzo, Annie and Herbie Langhans
* Bandeneón on "Lost & Damned" – Fabricio Alejandro
* Rodenberg Symphony Orchestra
* Acoustic bass on "On the Coldest Winter Night" – Olaf Reitmeier
* Djembe on "On the Coldest Winter Night" – Robert Hunecke-Rizzo
* Master of ceremonies on "At the Banquet" and river spirit on "Helena's Theme" – John Wilton
* D-bass on "On the Coldest Winter Night" – Andre Neygenfind

External links

* [http://www.kamelot.com/epica.htm Official site]


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