Epicurean
A Consequence of Design

Originally released in 2006 on JCM records (RIP), Metal Blade apparently saw enough in this Minnesota band’s second effort to send the band back to studio to re-mix and re-master (and add two tracks and new cover art) to the follow-up to 2003’s promising but flawed effort, V.II R.VI.

With considerable line-up changes, Epicurean appear to have improved in all aspects of their synth-backed take on melodic progressive black/death metal, and though it’s still a bit flawed, there is a lot of promise to be heard and enjoyed on what is essentially still a two-year old album.

While the six members appear skilled and have jelled more than the members on the debut, they still have yet to fully find their true direction. At times, the band delivers some sumptuous symphonic black metal with a progressive edge and some killer guitar and keyboard work (excellent new track “Lithograph,” “The Burden of Eternity,” “Illumination,” the 2:56 mark of “Dividing the Distance,” the surprisingly urgent “To Cast The Mourning Shadow” ). But, at times, and mainly during most of the choruses, the band also teeters on Trivium-with-synths (e.g., choruses of “Dividing the Distance”, “Of Malice and Majesty”, new track “Darkest of Days”, closer “The Departure”) sound that’s partly due to John Laramy’s clean vocals which come across as way more mainstream and wimpy. It occasionally works, as heard on the more somber “Anathema: The Gate Keeper,” where they add a nice perspective to the end of the song, but on the whole they are overused. Those moments are by no means deal breakers — like some metalcore clean vocals –, but they do detract a bit from the otherwise very good music and Laramy’s expected melo-death rasp.

To Epicurean’s credit they are trying a European approach to metal and are moderately successful at it. Though they are not quite ‘there’ yet, but along with Dreamscapes of The Perverse, Epicurean are poised to pull it of on future releases.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 24th, 2008

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