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On disc: Epysode



Obsessions - Lars Bjrn - 8 stars
Fantasmagoria - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


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Fantasmagoria

Fantasmagoria
(AFM Records - 2013)


Epysode is the brain child of Belgium guitarist Samuel Arkan and it was born in 2011, the same year the debut Obsessions was released. The cast: Tom S. Englund (Evergrey), Henning Basse (Mayan), Ida Haukland (Triosphere), Matt Marinelli (Borealis), Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Lo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation), Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) and Simone Mularoni (DGM).

Unfortunately there is no synopsis of Fantasmagoria, but I guess it continues the story off Obsessions... Scroll down to the review of Obsessions and head over to the story of the debut!





This time Arkan gathered a group of musicians to help him bring Fantasmagoria to life. The opening track is File-4180-2, whatever this should tell us, it begins slowly with keyboard and vocals. The first half with male vocals, then the keyboards remind me of a musical clock plus female vocals. With the riff-based The Arch they shift into gear and present a slightly dark, progressive power metal tune crowned by Tom S. Englund's unique voice. Songs like Morning Rose sound like a melange of Kamelot and 80's heard rock / melodic metal - at least to me and I don't mind, coz I love Kamelot and 80's hard rock. Morning Rose offers female vocals and I guess it's Ida Haukland, but I have no details about the cast. The dark Venom is featuring Henning Basse on vocals, while The Black Parade features more then one singer. Garden Of Exile slowly begins and most of the song is instrumental, it leads to the fast, riff-based Raven's Curse. Now Tom S. Englund takes over the mic once more - and it fits, the song has something Evergrey-esque, even without Tom's vocals - and he is joined by Ida Haukland.

The title track you can check out yourself!





Personally I love the title track, coz I think that Englund's and Haukland's voices work well together, especially at the slow first part which is every emotional, but the second half of the song is powerful. But both singers have powerful voices and so can easily ennoble powerful parts as well.

The Inheritance is more an interlude, then they storm off with Now And Forever, a song with fast and slow parts. A sonic roller coaster ride. They get closer to the end with the powerful symphonic Forgotten Symphony, again several singers get involved. The distorted almost spoken words passage reminds me a lot of Evergrey... The closer is called Unreal, Julien Spreutels' keyboard is very prominent at the opening passage, but soon has to step back to give the guitars more space. And slowly the piano leads you to the end and fades.

The songs aren't too complex, but have a progressive edge. The songs are mainly melodic power metal, partly with a symphonic edge. To understand the flow of the album I would have loved to get a synopsis. Or is Samuel Arkan working on a novel? And we have to wait til he has it finished to understand the album? Anyway, I recommend Fantasmagoria to fans of dark melodic power metal who like it spiced up. Check out the album!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Obsessions

Obsessions
(AFM Records - 2011)


It has been awaited for some time, but now the project of Virus V guitarist Samuel Arkan has been released. It's a metal project where Kelly Carpenter, Oddleif Stensland, Rick Altzi, Magali Luyten and Liselotte Hegt gives their vocal contribute to the album where all the music is based on duets in the 14 songs. In a short update the story behind this project is to describe the concept of a fictive incident in the country district of USA where a young talented police officer investigates two murders and one disappearance, and he himself becomes personally involved and haunted by the whole trauma. The main subjects in the action is souls, ghosts and fallen ones. You can read the synopsis here!

Frankly I have to say that also other bands for example Virgin Steele and King Diamond do an album or two where the idea is to describe a story of fiction, but Samuel Arkan's project is not precise enough, he risks to get his message through, I mean the basic message that it really is a story he is providing. That could have been done a whole lot better.

The musical material is generally good, First Blood is complete action-loaded metal filled with soft singing and hard rhythms, Obsessions is great power and melodic metal in a delightful creation, Invisible Nations is also super melodic and has pure raw power to lift up the album, Fallen's Portrait is heavy with good guitar riffs and with a nice balance between the music and storytelling. Also soft epic songs are present in The Other Side, Season Of Redemption, Divine Whispers and finally in March Of The Ghosts. All in all a well done album but with a little more finishing and concentration it could have been one of the top albums of the year.


8 stars

Lars Bjrn
 

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