A Consequence Of Design
posted on 5/2008 By:
Originally released in 2006, A Consequence of Design is finding rejuvenated life in remastered and augmented form that only a newly struck record deal can bring. This re-release features, aside from the original songs, two additional tracks. Considering Epicurean’s relative obscurity before Metal Blade scooped them up, and the fact that the original album clocked in at over 50 minutes, it would have been just as lucrative to shove a plain ol’ remaster out the door and call it a day. An extra ten minutes of music on top of that is what one might call “mighty nice of them,” provided the band itself is worth listening to. And I have good news in that regard.
It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to describe Epicurean’s sound as “inventive.” There is a blend of styles on this album that is interesting to hear purely for novelty’s sake. As far as the instruments go, the guitars gracefully shred in a sort of Gothenburg-influenced ‘80s style, with the keyboards providing a great symphonic backdrop, and vocals switching between metalcore screaming and melodic singing that wouldn’t be out of place on a pop rock album. Now take all of that, and imagine the product playing progressive metal structured songs with a penchant for memorable hooks. Basically, mash up Dimmu Borgir, Dream Theater, and Mercenary, and the sum, as it happens, turns out to be completely seamless and integrated.
What results is a great album. The guitars are constantly shredding out quality riffs and dispensing great solos on every song. Let’s make this clear: the guitars are fucking awesome. A Consequence of Design is full of solos that will make your hand involuntarily put up the horns. Keep in mind, though, that the album doesn’t hold up to the contemporary standards of proficient guitarwork, which dictate that the faster the guitarist can play random shit the better. Oh no, Epicurean subscribes to an older ideology, wherein well-written melodic shredding takes the crown. Personally, that’s as much as I need, but there’s more to the album. The sung vocals are usually catchy as hell and will stick in your mind long after they finish, driving you crazy until you put the album back on. Varied songwriting is a draw as well: “Behind the Chapel Walls” is vocal driven, while “The Burden of Eternity” is where the keyboards shine, “Illumination” is tinged with a bit more death/black metal, “Dividing the Distance” has an electronic background, etc.
It is also notable that Epicurean impresses me as much as they do, as I usually don’t go for anything with the “progressive” label anywhere near it. Too often it’s a bunch of wankers that have gotten the idea into their heads that writing the soundtrack to the experience of flying through space is something that needs to be done. What these people seem to forget is that space is very large, so the trip is very long, and, given the scenery, very boring. Things might start off with a blast, but we’re all going to give up and die before we ever get to the end. I always imagine when I press the stop button on a prog metal CD that I’m slamming a big, red self-destruct button on the control panel of Space Ship Shit and blowing the self-indulgent band members into the vacuum of space. My point, though, is that Epicurean doesn’t suffer from that at all. They have created a slab of progressive metal that appeals to the common man, who happens to have common ears and a common attention span. The variation and catchiness I mentioned earlier are the primary tools A Consequence of Design uses to make its song structure matter to the listener. Epicurean might meander just as much as any other progressive band, but they make sure the hook in your mouth is good and tight before they drag you along for the ride.
Some people might still be deterred by the progressive leanings, or the overall album length, but for the rest of you, know that A Consequence of Design pulls something from just about every major metal subgenre and combines it into a lasting, shred-heavy, powerfully melodic, outstanding album.
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