Epica - Epica VS Attack On Titan Songs review


45 users:
Band: Epica
Album: Epica VS Attack On Titan Songs
Release date: December 2017

01. 紅蓮の弓矢 / Crimson Bow And Arrow [Linked Horizon cover]
02. 自由の翼 / Wings Of Freedom [Linked Horizon cover]
03. もしこの壁の中が一軒の家だとしたら / If Inside These Walls Was A House [Linked Horizon cover]
04. 心臓を捧げよ! / Dedicate Your Heart! [Linked Horizon cover]
05. 紅蓮の弓矢 / Crimson Bow And Arrow [instrumental version] [Linked Horizon cover]
06. 自由の翼 / Wings Of Freedom [instrumental version] [Linked Horizon cover]
07. もしこの壁の中が一軒の家だとしたら / If Inside These Walls Was A House [instrumental version] [Linked Horizon cover]
08. 心臓を捧げよ! / Dedicate Your Heart! [instrumental version] [Linked Horizon cover]

It's not often that metal and anime converge, and even more rarely does the union yield something with production values as high as this. Epica covering Attack On Titan themes seems a logical premise on paper, and, indeed, in execution everything went according to keikaku*.

I count myself as a fan of Attack On Titan, and I picked up the CD single containing the first season's two OPs a couple of years ago. While I've certainly played the thing to death, I have never been able to shake one particular complaint: it's not metal enough. Linked Horizon's Revo has written two perfectly fabulous power metal songs - or three, I guess, counting season two - three glorious, uplifting hymns of eternal combat for the glorious glory of mankind in all ages, and the drums never showed up to the studio. It's as though they lost the low end along with Wall Maria. I keep spinning these tracks expecting to hear the galloping of a hundred Survey Corps steeds, and instead I hear rather modestly produced anime themes. Hearing such magnificent metal songs in noticeably submetal trappings is agony. This is where Epica comes in: the real McCoy.

To be honest, I wouldn't describe myself a a fan of Epica. I enjoy them whenever I hear them, I can attest that they put on an excellent live show, and I have nothing but respect for them as a band, not least for this particular undertaking. Nonetheless, their typical style and aesthetic don't appeal to me much, so I find my enthusiasm tempered by my experience with the band, but conceptually I'm over the moon about this EP. The idea of a metal band, and a well-established and respected one at that, covering a batch of the most kickass anisongs to have swept the multiverse is such a trip, and one that I'm hoping repeats itself in the future (Rammstein, if you could please do the Higurashi OP, I'll love you even more forever. King Diamond, Nichijou, por favor.).

These versions do take some getting used to, the most immediately apparent reason being that Epica have replaced the original Japanese and German lyrics with English and Latin translations. Personally, I prefer to hear songs in their original languages (I'm also a subs-over-dubs guy, yes), and my brain has been trained to wait for the "budubububudububudubububudubububudubuJÄGER," but these English lyrics are nothing short of impressive. Translating song lyrics to fit both the meaning and the metre is a loathsome task that may not always be possible, and while side-by-side comparison reveals that creative liberties have been taken, I think these new lyrics fit the spirit of the originals quite well.

This music suits Epica, which makes sense considering it was purportedly inspired by Epica in the first place. Epica comes at this playlist with a practiced hand and a natural affinity for the style, utilizing choirs of backing vocalists, exchanging certain lead parts for more familiarly metallic ones, accenting the compositions with liberal use of double bass, blastbeats, and harsh vocals, and in every sense recasting the fustian pop symphonies as the mighty, victorious anthems they were always meant to be. The spoken parts have been bolstered by a deeper, more sinister, and more authoritative orator. I complained earlier about the lack of bass and percussion in the originals; Epica brought enough of each to share with Linked Horizon and extra layers of keys and strings to ensure that the heroic half doesn't fall behind the heavy half (although "Flügel Der Freiheit" lacks the sick slap bass solo of the original, which is disappointing).

The weakest spot for me is "If Inside These Walls Was A House": it is the least titanic, a gentle and moody symphonic piece that, according to the scuttlebutt, fits Epica's style the best of the four tracks. It has grown on me a bit, but this is an unusual sort of release, so I can't envision myself coming back to listen to the whole thing in its entirety as much as throwing the three hype tracks into a playlist or something. I hesitate to criticize too much, however, for fear of looking a gift horse in the mouth; Epica have executed flawlessly what they intended to do. The launch into "Flügel Der Freiheit" (or "Wings Of Freedom" or "Jiyū no Tsubasa" or whatever you want) is my official Power Metal Moment of 2018, an award I've created specifically for this occasion.

I do feel slightly awkward coming into this situation as a fan of the source material and not so much the covering party, but I've trusted in Epica's skills and come out happy, and I imagine it's a small subset of people who fit exactly into the target audience. Fans of Epica should find this EP enjoyable for what it is, since the songs don't sound too far removed from their usual style; fans of Attack On Titan should derive similar pleasure in hearing these iconic tunes reconstituted in a louder, heavier, and better-produced fashion. Fans of both should be in heaven. Fans of neither can go have a nice day somewhere else.

* You were expecting a TL note, but it was me, a different reference!

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 18.07.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 8   Visited by: 253 users
18.07.2018 - 10:08
Thanks so much for this review, I wasn't sure whether to give this EP a go.
Though I'm completely untouched by the original AoT music, this just makes my skin crawl.
World won't end today - it's already tomorrow in Australia.
18.07.2018 - 18:01
I had never heard of Attack on Titan before the release of this CD but this EP is surprisingly entertaining.
18.07.2018 - 21:27
Jeez, sounds so flat. Guess I will never get into Epica.
20.07.2018 - 12:16
There's no doubt that this fits Epica. I love Epica. I love music from Shingeki no Kyojin.
But Simone sounds weird on those songs. Like her voice is too thin or she was given too high notes to sing. I'd say that I'm disappointed, but I heard it all on first song from EP.

Anyway I appreciate the effort, albums like that are cool idea
23.07.2018 - 04:14
That Dio reference.. I wonder how many here get it
23.07.2018 - 04:37
Written by peniku8 on 23.07.2018 at 04:14

That Dio reference.. I wonder how many here get it

Ironically, a metal site is where you'd expect the most people to get a Dio reference.
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
03.09.2018 - 22:03
Cute and entertaining EP. I dig it. "Dedicate Your Heart!" is the best song of this EP, imo.
08.09.2018 - 21:21
BTW Good review. But my question why on earth did Epica produce an album on Attack on the Titan ??
"For what point has this life if you can't realise your dreams?" -- The Divine Comedy

Hits total: 5125 | This month: 136