CD review EPICA ‘Design Your Universe – Gold Edition’

(*/10) Epica belongs to the genre leaders in Symphonic Metal. Numerous longplayers and a lot of live shows have been the key for a winning streak that’s ongoing since 17 years. One of the milestones, an important one was the release of the ‘Design Your Universe’ album. Almost exactly 10 years ago the sixth record has been shipped to the record stores and meant the final breakthrough for the Symphonic Metal passionistas from The Netherlands.

The album defined Epica’s future direction when it comes to music and sound. It was their most mature album to date with orchestral elements blending in with hard riffs, grunts and beautiful female vocals, the latter provided by Simone Simmons. Chart entries have been a logical consequence with a winning streak gaining speed.

Ten years later the band pays extra attention to album and puts it in the spotlight again. Epica re-issues the album in a ‘Gold Edition’. The sound of the new version is very much based on the original recording. Sascha Paeth did a great job at the time and the question was if there’s even a need to adjust. The discussion ended up with tuning some details here and there by utilizing some modern technique developed over the span of a decade. Although being almost a mission impossible the new version sounds a bit better than the original. Big songs sound even bigger and the density slightly increased too, making the ‘Gold Edition’ to an exciting experience for listeners.

The extra that comes with ‘Gold Edition’ are five acoustic songs. These touching versions show the quality of the originals and the potential embedded in those to re-arrange them into terrific ballads with Simmons voice being a centerpiece. ‘Design Your Universe’ in 2019 is as relevant as it was in 2009 with this ‘Gold Edition’ being a well-done celebration of a big moment for band, fans and metalheads in general.

Tracklist:

  1. Samadhi – prelude
  2. Resign to Surrender -A New Age Dawns – pt IV
  3. Unleashed
  4. Martyr of the Free Word
  5. Our Destiny
  6. Kingdom of Heaven -A New Age Dawns – pt V
  7. The Price of Freedom – interlude
  8. Burn to a Cinder
  9. Tides of Time
  10. Deconstruct
  11. Semblance of Liberty
  12. White Waters
  13. Design Your Universe -A New Age Dawns – pt VI
  14. Incentive (bonus)

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: October 11th, 2019

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