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From Minneapolis, Minnesota, Epicurean formed back in 2004. 'A Consequence of Design' was originally recorded in mid-2005, although after signing to Metal Blade in 2007, the American six-piece re-entered the studio and remixed/remastered the album for release on said label this year. Upon the first listen through, I am immediately surprised by two things - how accomplished the music/songwriting is for a band's debut album, and the fact they're American! I don't mean the latter to sound derogatory, but Epicurean have a progressive Euro-metal sound that is more aligned to the likes of Sweden's Scar Symmetry, Denmark's Mercenary, and perhaps even Canadian technical prog-metallers Into Eternity, rather than the majority of contemporary American metal. That is not to say that Epicurean sound like any of the aforementioned bands, although their songwriting has the forward-thinking, progressive ethos and feel of them. Further, 'A Consequence of Design' is cleverly subtle and technically intelligent in its compositional brilliance as all of the time signature changes and musical twists and turns are never at the expense of great songwriting. That is to say, during the listening experience, I never found my attention being drawn towards the technically progressive elements - they are cohesive with the songwriting in the sense that they will not distance the listener at certain points within the songs, unlike a band such as Dream Theater where the listener unarguably does often step back from a song to admire the abilities of the musicians. That degree of admiration is still there for Epicurean, but more as an afterthought post-listening to the album in its entirety. The keyboards, guitars, bass, and drums form a consonant whole in each and every track, over which vocalist John Laramy performs the most 'tuneful' death growls since Tomas Lindberg, and also captivating clean singing deployed purposefully over certain passages. These two disparate vocal styles are used to great effect, and further emphasise the aggressively heavy and melodically symphonic dichotomy that is present within all eleven songs. 'A Consequence of Design' is a masterful work from a hugely talented band who are in their relative infancy, and are set to take the prog-metal scene by storm. Highly recommended.
Metal Blade Records
Review by Mark Holmes
7th April 2008
1) The Author and the Architect
2) Behind the Chapel Walls
3) Lithograph
4) The Burden of Eternity
5) Illumination
6) Dividing the Distance
7) Of Malice and Majesty
8) Anathema: The Gate Keeper
9) Darkest of Days
10) To Cast the Mourning Shadow
11) The Departure
"...a masterful work..."