Epica – The Classical Conspiracy

I stumbled upon Epica’s The Classical Conspiracy recently while trying to find some new prog rock to listen to. Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal band that has been around for the last 10 years. What immediately attracted me to them was the mixture or classical and metal music and Epica does a great job on this live disc blending the two genres together. This album was recorded live in Hungary with a 40 piece orchestra and a 30 piece choir accompanying the band. The concert starts off with a mix of classical music and soundtrack covers. The drummer does an absolutely great job of accompanying the symphony and choir, especially on my favorites “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Imperial March”. The addition of metal drumming to “The Imperial March” is as great as it sounds, but the real treasure here is their cover of “Pirates of the Caribbean”.  This song will get you amped up and make any mundane task feel like an adventure! This is my first Epica album so I didn’t know what to expect but I absolutely loved the “classical” set the first time I heard it but I was a bit nervous for the second half that was all Epica’s music.

I was bit nervous about listening to Epica’s own music due to their soprano singer Simone Simons. I’m always a bit nervous when prog rockers start experimenting with vocals and a soprano singer in metal music is definitely a first for me. It took a few listens for me to really get into it but Epica does a great job of combining a soprano singer with  a choir and string section to really add to the epicness of the music. Occasionally Marc Jansen will contribute some growling vocals but Simone is the main singer and Marc’s growls serve as a counterpoint to the beauty of Simone’s voice. I got this album mostly for the “classical” first half, but I was delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed the second “metal” half of the album. Not every song of Epica’s is a favorite of mine but a few of them such as “The Last Crusade” and “Consign to Oblivion” stand out as better tracks.

How many times have you wished there was more metal drumming in classical music? How many times did you wish there were more choirs and symphonies with your metal? If you have ever thought these things than Epica’s The Classical Conspiracy is the album you have been looking for! Not every track is a hit but the number of good tracks on the first and second CD combined makes this album worth getting if you are into the more “epic” side of metal. I would recommend the first set (especially the soundtrack covers) to anyone who enjoys classical and metal music while anyone who likes progressive metal should give the second set a try.

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