Epica - The Classical Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

Capturing a mix of Epica metal infused with an orchestra, The Classical Conspiracy is a musical performance that has to be heard.

Never being one to confine to a single genre, Holland's Epica have always infused different elements within their music such as gothic metal, death metal and symphony. The Classical Conspiracy captures a live collaboration with a 40 piece orchestra and choir recorded in Miskolc, Hungary at the Miskolc Opera Festival in June 2008.

The material covered in The Classical Conspiracy is a combination of Epica songs such as Quietus, Chasing The Dragon and Sensorium, well known orchestral compositions from composers such as  Vivaldi and Handel, and selections from movie soundtracks such as Star Wars' The Imperial March, score from Pirates Of The Carribean and excerpts from the Spiderman score composed by Danny Elfman.

As far as the performance aspect goes, the band and orchestra play as if they are one, the interplay between say, a full horn section and a downtuned chugging guitar riff gives both genres a new dimension to explore.

Guitarists Mark Jansen, Ad Sluijter and Keyboardist Coen Janssen riff away in their own world whilst keeping up with the orchestra, and the rhythm section of bassist Yves Huts and drummer Ariën Van Weesenbeek keeps everything together alongside the orchestra while driving the musical ship at the same time.

The true star of this show, however, is vocalist Simone Simons, her beautiful mezzo soprano vocals and the orchestra/choir work together in perfect harmony. This is a platform where it is her time to shine and to prove that metalheads can love classical music and vice versa.

The Classical Conspiracy is a quality release. Although it has both the metal and classical elements, it has too much classical music for the close-minded metalhead and it has too much metal for a classical enthusiast, but the hardcore Epica fan would truly love and appreciate this recording.

However, with an open mind, The Classical Conspiracy is quite an interesting listen which could inspire the listener to think outside his or her musical box.

Epica's The Classical Conspiracy is out now on Nuclear Blast/Riot.