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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Epica discover their inner geek on manga/anime inspired Attack On Titan

OKAY - all you geeks and fans of manga and anime pay attention, because the Japanese release by Epica of 'Attack On Titan' is now available in the UK.

Yep, previously only available in the home of the series, the Dutch symphonic metal crew tribute to the multi-million selling series is out now on Nuclear Blast.

And, it has to be said we approached this with much trepidation. It's not as if we don't like the magna stuff - but c'mon, if anyone had suggested this there would have been much guffaws. That is until you listen to 'Attack On Titan'.

Trying to capture the essence of a series with a worldwide cadre of devoted fans is something that most bands would have baulked at, but Epica have managed the remarkable. This will appeal to fans of the series and fans of symphonic metal.

The headlong rush of 'Crimson, Bow and Arrow' and 'Wings of Freedom' melds into delicacies of Simone on 'If Inside These Walls Was A House'.

While at first 'Dedicate Your Heart' seems a little forced lyrically, it is a justifiable conceit to make sure the sense of what is attempted.

Keyboardist Coen Janssen explained where it all came from: “The 'Attack on Titan' EP is a project very close to my heart.

"More than ever I was involved in arranging and producing and I am very proud of the result! Very cool to see how these Japanese anime-songs turned into Epica songs more and more every step of the way! I’m very excited that our 'Attack on Titan'  will be available outside of Japan"

Now Nuclear Blast and the band have described this as an EP. With eight tracks lasting well over 40 minutes it is at least a mini-album, and longer than many bands attempt.

Attack On Titan' was recorded during the summer of 2017 at Sandlane Recording Facilities by Joost van den Broek. The original songs, which were influenced by the music of Epica, were composed by Revo of Japanese band Linked Horizon.

For the 'EP', the tracks were adapted by Epica and produced by Joost van den Broek.

The choir arrangements and scoring were completed by Janssen who also handled the orchestral arrangements with Joost van den Broek.

While it may smack of a vanity project the four instrumentals (albeit with significant choral elements and spoken pieces) are well worth the price of this release.

But while there will be fans if magna who will devour every second - and salute Eren Yaeger's conflicted journey as they do so.

However, more than that this sits comfortably within Epica's catalogue as a worthy collection. Geeks assemble!

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Attack on Titan is available now on Nuclear Blast

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