Epica Consign to Oblivion

Epica’s latest full-length studio release brings to mind the same adjectives evoked by its predecessors — words like "grandiose,” "momentous,” and "bombastic.” Consign to Oblivion’s Mayan theme is matched by a splendour befitting the wonders of ancient Mayan architecture. The band (a fairly standard two guitars, bass, drums and synth) performs with an eight-piece string orchestra, while a seven-member choir supports Simone Simons’s soaring mezzo-soprano, and the combined magnitude of metal and symphony is dangerously close to overwhelming at times. It’s also captivating with a charm that blows most other neo-classical power metal bands off the map. Aside from the intrusion of a few extraneous growls and evil melodies, Consign to Oblivion has an uplifting quality, but it’s not the kind of thing you’d want on repeat. This tonic is best taken in small doses with time for the formidable effects to wear off in between. (Transmission)