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Epsylon - The gift 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-22-09


1. Ascension
2. Liar
3. Broken dreams
4. Forever angel
5. Journey of sacrifice
6. The pirate
7. Between darkness & light
8. Masquerade
9. Legacy
10. Devil incarnated
11. First cry

I only have a few bands from Belgium, but coincidentally, I reviewed the 2nd CD from the excellent band Gwyllion a few weeks ago, and now it's a debut 'The gift' from Epsylon, a new band from Belgium that was formed in 2006 by just 2 members - Yves Vermeersch and Sylvie Boisieux. The few had worked together in the past, and they decided to combine their ideas and start this fresh new band.

Epsylon is female fronted, by Sylvie, and that means that Yves handles all of the instruments (guitars, bass, keys and even some of the backing vocals), with exception of the drums, which are performed by Jeroen Simons, who was Epica's drummer for many years. In addition, Jan S. Eckert contributes some backing vocals and bass segments, and he's known for his years with Iron Savior and his current role with Masterplan. There are also some other guest musicians, who provide some strings, piano and some more backing vocals, so even though the songwriting and bulk of the band's material are by Sylvie and Yves, they've obtained some help from other experienced musicians.

The band's style can be described as both involved and simple. For starters, while I'd call their main style melodic metal, there are plenty of other styles present, including gothic metal, symphonic metal and power metal. So the blend of styles is a bit involved, but each individual style is fairly simple, so I wouldn't label this CD complex. Plus, there aren't any drastic differences between the styles and there's definitely nothing unsettling. It all works well and I think Sylvie and Yves have done a terrific job with the songwriting, as the CD is smooth, melodic, catchy and thoroughly enjoyable.

Vocally, Sylvie has a somewhat soft voice and she reminds me of the wonderful Susanna Vesilahti from Unshine, or maybe Carmen Elise Espenaes from Midnattsol. She's very consistent throughout and there are some instances where she really shines, especially on track 3 "Broken dreams" and track 4 "Forever angel". The CD is far from a bombastic one too, so although Sylvie's voice is soft, the music doesn't overpower her. Actually, the balance between the music and the vocals is perfect, and that's surely one of the reasons this CD is great from start to finish.

Because of the several styles present on this CD, I haven't been able to come up with some direct band comparisons, except I will say that this should appeal to lovers of female fronted metal in general. Also, I have nothing negative to say about this CD, as it's a nicely done debut from a promising band. So it's stamped with my recommendation, especially for those into the female fronted scene.




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