After a year of writing and composing, plus five months of recording, the sophomore release from Samuel Arkan’s Epysode is finally available, and it’s definitely worth picking up for fans of progressive/power metal and collaboration albums like Wolfpakk and Ayreon. There have been more of these lately, and I suppose that the internet makes it much easier than it has been in the past to do these kinds of collaborations. Right from the beginning, Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) comes in on “The Arch” making his presence known among the orchestration and pounding metal riffs – not to mention the solo. Yes, it’s that kind of brilliance that opens the album, which also features several other performances from Henning Basse (Mayan), Ida Haukland (Triosphere), Matt Marinelli (Borealis), Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Leo Margarit (Pain Of Salavtion), Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) and Simone Mularoni (DGM).
It’s a hugely symphonic power/progressive metal album that is lifted by its vocal acrobatics and sounds every bit as what you would expect for an entire year of composition. Every vocalist seems well-represented on the disc, with a plethora of great guitar acrobatics and solos (as I previously mentioned.) And yes, the song with Symphony X’s Mike LePond “Raven’s Curse” definitely allows his vocal ability to shine. The title track is also spectacular, as it features a duet between Tom S. Englund and Ida Haukland which comes off as impressively beautiful, enhanced by yet another wonderful guitar solo. There’s really not one song on the disc that I couldn’t recommend (aside from the short interludes, but they’re not long enough to factor into the score), as each and every track on the album really shows what progressive power metal is, and should sound like in 2013. It doesn’t matter the vocalist, no one does a second-rate job and everything sounds just as good as you’d expect it to. If for some odd reason you happened to pass by this disc, it’s definitely worth checking out and will fill the power/prog void for a while. Material like this was well worth waiting almost two years for. (Eric May)