Saturday, October 19, 2013


After the successful debut album, "Obsessions" in 2011, the Belgian composer/guitarist Samuel Arkan is back with his brand new concept release which is entitled "Fantasmagoria". Epysode plays progressive metal with some strong melodic elements and some atmospheric pinches as well.

Beside bandleader Arkan, the following well-known musicians contributed to "Fantasmagoria" : Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) Henning Basse (ex-Metalium, ex-Sons Of Seasons, Mayan) Ida Haukland (Triosphere) Matt Marinelli (Borealis) Tezzi Persson (Between The Silence) Mike LePond (Symphony X) Léo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation) Julien Spreutels (Ethernity) and Simone Mularoni (DGM). The impressive thing here is that for the recordings of the album all the above mentioned artists came to the studio to track their own parts and nobody recorded his/her parts at home, like so many projects. And as Arkan says : "I wanted the whole thing to get a real "band" feeling".

I have to add that the mighty Jacob Hansen is responsible for the mastering and mixing of this new effort and the result will please every fan of this particular scene. "Fantasmagoria" is a truly well-crafted album, well-executed and perfectly balanced regarding the melodies and heaviness. All the guest musicians put their heart and soul and that's a thing that reflects to the music. I'm really not a big fan of these metal operas but this one is a hell of an album; I have to admit it! There are some incredible tunes here such as the heavy but extremely melodic tune of "The Arch" which reminded me a bit of Allen/Lande's albums, the modern but huge "Morning Rose", my personal favorite "Venom", the dark and melancholic ballad of "Garden Of Exile", "Raven's Curse" and "Living Fortress" which includes a monstrous guitar solo!!!  Of course, there is no filler in sight here!!

Bottom line is that "Fantasmagoria" is a true masterpiece of an album! As I said above, I'm not a fan of these concept/metal operas things but this one grabbed me from the very first spin and left me hungry for more! A tight as hell musicianship. great performances, amazing guitar work, very good songs, a crystal clear and powerful sound and a solid production; do you want more??
Heavy Paradise's Rating : 9/10

Track List :
01. File 4180-2
02. The Arch
03. Morning Rose
04. Venom
05. The Black Parade
06. T.H.O.R.N.S.
07. Garden of Exile
08. Raven’s Curse
09. Living Fortress
10. Fantasmagoria
11. The Inheritance
12. Now and Forever
13. Forgotten Symphony
14. Unreal  

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