Guitarist Samuel Arkan returns with his Epysode project and new album Fantasmagoria. Here's what we know. It's another ensemble project featuring some of the best talent in heavy metal helping Arkan including Tom S. Englund (Evergrey), Henning Basse (Mayan), Ida Haukland (Triosphere), Matt Marinelli (Borealis), Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Léo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation), Julien Spreutels (Ethernity,) and Simone Mularoni (DGM).
It's also a concept album somehow connected to the first Epysode album Obsessions. Since I've never heard that album and the fact that the promo sheet is sparse on details, I have no idea what the heck is going on here.
What I can tell you is this: this is some fine progressive power metal, definitely on the heavier, darker, side. At times, as with Venom and The Black Parade, Fantasmagoria reminds of a darker Kamelot or with the ensemble vocal cast a darker, heavier, Avantasia. Sometimes the vocals and music combine for a heavy raging feel as with Morning Rose. Alternatively, there are moments of gentleness and genuine beauty in the quiet Garden Of Exile and the stirring duet, Fantasmagoria, featuring Englund and Haukland (watch video below).
Conversely, a duet can have the vocals in contrast to one another as within Now and Forever. In the first half of the arrangement the lighter female vocals are juxtaposed against the coarser male vocals, which are in turn support by more of the raging metal; in the latter half the vocals join with intensity still stirring beneath. Finally, some mention should be made of the guitar lines across Fantasmagoria. While it's unclear who is doing the leads, either DGM guitar wizard Simone Mularoni or Arkan himself, there's some rather terrific leads here, notably within the title track, Unreal, Living Fortress, and Morning Rose. For Samuel Arkan and company, Epysode's Fantasmagoria is fine accomplishment, a solid and entertaining album of progressive power metal. Recommended.
For Samuel Arkan and company, Epysode's Fantasmagoria is fine accomplishment, a solid and entertaining album of progressive power metal. Recommended.
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