JCM Records
Release date: October 14, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Melodic, sometimes Symphonic, Death/Dark Metal. Now, if you had to guess where a band playing that style of music comes from, there is only one answer — Minneapolis! (What, were you thinking Sweden or something?)

Epicurean is a six-person group straight out of Minnesota. Their influences range from Cradle of Filth (which you’ll hear plenty of), Dream Theater, Borknagar, and a few others. The biggest thing you’ll notice about this band is their obvious European vibe and complex compositions. And most of the time, it works.

On their debut release, called V.II R. VI, they take you on a hegira from symphonic instrumentals (with names like “Prophetic Damnation” and “Netherworld”) to kinetic constructs like “Demise: The Shattered Soul.” “Demise …” is their best offering by far. It begins with melodic and fast keyboards, intense drumming, and then the death vocals (Malmstorm) jump in. But then, when the clean vocals start (by John Gensmer), the contrast in delivery is apropos, and effective. While the song slows down, where you think it’s going to fade out into a soft keyboard-exit, suddenly the death vocals jump in again, and the guitars flay at you. Intense.

Sadly, by showing they are more diverse and, maybe more “talented” than many bands creating this music, too much repetition becomes somewhat boring. Like in “The Dying Light,” you can tell that in parts, the clean vocals would again fit the song better. While musically, this song offers nothing worthy of complaint, it is best when you can’t hear the vocals. There is a break of about 3 minutes where you hear just music, and then a choral effect ends the song. At the very least, you haven’t heard anything like this before.

The best guitar riffing is probably on track 8, “Nocturnal Deity.” This is where you can hear a bit of a Megadeth influence, musically, but not vocally. They actually get a bit power metal on this one after the beginning, with repetitive guitar parts, drastic tempo changes that highlight the drumming, and a bit more theatrical vocals. This one is close to as good as “Demise …”

Another cool track is “Prophetic Damnation,” a song somewhat reminiscent of Cradle of Filth, or Children of Bodom more, because of the keyboards. The drumming again is superior. This is another one of those times, though, where interspersed clean vocals might make it better.

Epicurean will be able to grab fans from a few different genres. In their words, they are “dark and evil at times, but also harmonious and serene at others.” Plus, they are from Minneapolis, so clones of a local “movement” they are definitely not. Give ‘em a whirl …

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