Review EPICA ‘The Alchemy Project’

Epica turned 20 this year, which the band celebrated with a brilliant live show at the legendary 013, Tilburg. Since only a limited number of fans could participate in such an event, the Dutchmen came up with something special.

Epica has recorded a very exciting album called ‘The Alchemy Project’. A total of seven songs are on the new release, which reflects 100% Epica and yet is different.

The band has brought guests into the studio to record songs that also represent their respective partners. The result is an excellent album that makes Epica shine brightly in a wider context.

The start of the album is heavy and fierce. Epica recorded the track together with Fleshgod Apocalypse and the result is a powerful stomping metal track with harsh guitars, deep growls and Simmons superb clean vocals. Frenzied parts and twisted structures show the influence of the Italians on this Epica song and thus shows early on, that more is to be expected here than a mere Epica album.

It continues with ‘Wake the World’, a song that reveals another facet. In collaboration with Uriah Heep’s keyboarder Phil Lanzon and Kamelot frontman Tommy Karevik a classic rock oriented song was created that reminds in parts of Rainbow times.

The collaboration with Norway’s avant-garde metallers Shining can be found on the album under the name ‘The Final Lullaby’. Rob van der Loo, a declared Shining enthusiast, tried to write some typical Shining riffs, while the rest of the band tried to do exactly the opposite. The symbiosis of both results in an ingenious track where of course you can’t miss the saxophone.

‘The Alchemy Project’ is like the Alchemy itself very complex and contains different ingredients- On ‘Sirend – Of Blood and Water’ voices meet that fit perfectly together, but have never been heard together before. Simone Simmons, Charlotte Wessels and Myrkur share the vocals and the result is a stunning and very soulful song.

With ‘Death is not the End’ both, choirs and hard guitars are featured. The raging song was created with the support of Frank Schiphorst and Björn ‘Speed’ Stid and it is, together with the opener, the hardest song on this release. At least that’s what you think before all hell breaks loose with ‘Human Devastation’. There is not much left of Epica’s symphonic metal and with support from Henri Sattler and Aborted’s Sven de Caluwé a flawless death metal classic has been generated.

A bit more soulful is the seven-minute finale. The atmospheric and slightly progressive ‘The Miner’ is a perfect counterpart to ‘Human Devastation’.

‘The Alchemy Project’ has become a smashing record. Epica manage to combine their very own sonic identity with the soundscapes of their guests without questioning the own identity. This album is 100% Epica and also a bit more. Courage and creativity are rewarded here.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. The Great Tribulation: Fleshgod Apocalypse
  2. Wake the World: Phil Lanzon (Uriah Heep) & Tommy Karevik (Kamelot)
  3. The Final Lullaby: Shining
  4. Sirens – Of Blood and Water: Charlotte Wessels & Myrkur
  5. Death is not the End: Frank Schiphorst (MaYaN) & Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork)
  6. Human Devastation: Henri Sattler (God Dethroned), Sven de Caluwé (Aborted)
  7. The Miner: Asim Searah (Damnation Plan), Niilo Sevänen (Insomnium), Roel van Helden (Powerwolf)

Label: Atomic Fire Records

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: November 11th, 2022

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