Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent

March 19, 2012 in Reviews by blackwindmetal

Requiem for the Indifferent

Three years after the 2009 release of a pretty spectacular album, Design Your Universe, Epica this month finally gave the world a follow-up, Requiem Tor The Indifferent.  Much anticipated by fans worldwide, the band did the de rigueur stuff over social media, providing teasers and creating buzz, etc., etc.  For a band of their popularity, there was a lot of hype, but that was to be expected.  What I personally did not expect after listening to Requiem For The Indifferent, was the milquetoast CD it turned out to be.

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but after a spate of finding a lot of really great music, I seem to be onto a trend of finding stuff that is not very exciting.  After loving Design Your Universe to bits and believing it was the strongest of Epica’s works, I was kind of expecting the band to put out something at least as good as Design Your Universe.

In preparation for this review, I’ve been listening to Epica’s pre-Design Your Universe stuff and the question that comes to mind for me right away is: what happened to Simone’s opera voice?  She never used it exclusively, but she used it way more often in the “old” stuff than she has in the new stuff, and in Requiem For The Indifferent I only hear it once that I can clearly recall, though I did detect it accompanying some of the choral sections.  I noticed this difference with Design Your Universe, too, but given the strength of that album, I didn’t see it as a weakness at all.  But this is two in a row where it’s been very minimal and I kind of miss the drama it lent to Epica’s sound.  Simone still sounds amazing nonetheless, and her voice has definitely evolved and grown stronger throughout the years, but I miss the opera vox.

The songs in RftI seem very bland compared to the exciting, progressive and more bombastic sound of Design Your Universe.  Epica always produces great hooks and catchy choruses, yet I found this album lacking in them.  No melody or chorus or whatever really stood out to me the way other Epica songs have.  In fact, after three listens, I barely remember much of the CD at all.  Listening to the album was akin to listening to a tire or balloon deflate.  After the a typical Epica instrumental intro, the first two songs, “Monopoly of Truth” and the single, “Storm the Sorrow”, failed to captivate me, and after that the album lost any momentum it might have had.

Of course, these guys can’t seem to release anything without a track containing some kind of political rant spouted by a well-known personality or politician, and on Requiem For The Indifferent there are two songs with talking parts in them, one in “Deter the Tyrant” which is in a foreign language (Arabic?) and the other in “Serenade of Self-Destruction” that sounds like a medley of newscasters being all dire and fear monger-ish.  I don’t know how I feel about these speaking parts anymore, other than I feel they are getting kind of old and predictable.  And in case you didn’t know,  “Serenade of Self-Destruction” was accidentally released only in instrumental version, so if you want the vocal version, you can download it from the Nuclear Blast web site.

Another thing I noticed about Requiem For The Indifferent is that there is more growling in it than I perceive Epica to have used in the past.  I never minded Mark Jansen’s growls before because they were minimal and only showed up once in a while to enhance the emotion of a track.  In this album, there is too much growling, in my opinion.

So, I guess you can say I’m disappointed with this CD.  I did like the bonus track, “Twin Flames,”  so I found something that I could be positive about.  But this album just left me with quite a feeling of emptiness and disappointment.

Allyson’s rating 2.75 out of 5