Epicurean - A Consequence of Design
Record Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: March 4, 2008
Growing up, I was exposed to two different music scenes. Thanks to my parents, I grew up listening to a lot of rock and pop musicians, and thanks to my older brother, I also listened to, and took a great interest in, heavy metal. I love both equally, but it's rare to find bands that mesh the two genres successfully. There are exceptions, of course. This includes Metal Blade's Epicurean.
The sextet, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, are a ferocious, yet infectious, metal combo that pulls listeners in from all genres with their 2008 release A Consequence of Design. With frontman John Laramy's intense screams and clean, church choir singing mixed with the intricacy, technicality, and pin-point precision of the instrumentalists in the group, it's not hard to see why.
“Lithograph” is a song that stands out for being, for lack of a better term, insane. With Laramy's clean vocals, it gives the impression that it actually is a song one would hear played in a church. That is, if the church had resorted to shredding guitars and blast beats. Then there's “Of Malice and Majesty,” which delves slightly into math rock, playing with different time signatures throughout, and it's one of the few songs in which the keyboardist stands out and gets to shine.
Of course, that is also part of the mild downfall of the record. The band's keyboardist, Jared Schneider, really doesn't get much of an opportunity to show what he can do. He has his moments, like in the aforementioned song “Of Malice and Majesty,” but he should have had more opportunities. And often, throughout the record, when he does get a chance to show off, his part is played in unison with one of the guitarists and is set lower in the mix. There's no doubt he's a great instrumentalist, but he doesn't get much of a chance to prove it.
Regardless, this is a great release from another phenomenal Metal Blade band. This band consists of everything that pulls me in as both a musician and as someone who simply loves music. With intensity and technicality in the music and barbarous screams and catchy hooks in the vocals, this is one record that will stick in your mind days after it has stopped spinning in your player.