|Studio album by Kamelot|
|Released||January 31, 2003|
|Recorded||Gate Studio, Wolfsburg, Germany,
Apple Recording Studio and Braden Studio, Tampa, Florida,
|Genre||Power metal, symphonic metal, progressive metal|
|Label||Noise / Sanctuary|
|Producer||Sascha Paeth and Miro|
|Sea of Tranquility|||
|The Metal Crypt|||
|The Metal Circus|||
Epica is the sixth full-length album by the American power metal band Kamelot, released on January 31, 2003 through Noise Records. It was the first concept album by Kamelot. This album, along with its sequel The Black Halo (2005), is a rock opera inspired by the story of Goethe's Faust. Epica tells Part 1 while The Black Halo tells Part 2. (Goethe's Faust has two parts.) Most of the lyrics were written before the actual music was composed. The album inspired the naming of the band Epica after its release.
- Ariel (Roy Khan) – Ariel is a curious, determined, and arrogant man. An unparalleled genius and an accomplished scientist and philosopher, he has become disappointed with the inability of these disciplines to answer his deepest questions, and seeks to uncover the universal truth that they have failed to provide. He strongly believes that discovering such transcendent knowledge is the only thing that can make his life worthwhile. He is based on the character Heinrich Faust from Goethe's Faust.
- Helena (Mari) – Helena grew up with Ariel, and loves him deeply. She is the only person that Ariel has ever truly loved. She represents innocence and all that is pure and good. She is based on Gretchen from Goethe's Faust.
- Mephisto (Roy Khan) – Mephisto is a rebellious angel who was cast out of Heaven. He desperately yearns to reenter Heaven and be reunited with God. He deeply disdains humans, whom he considers inferior beings unworthy of God's love. Mephisto is one of the only characters to retain his name from the original Faust story.
The story takes place at an unknown time and place on Earth. God has commanded all angels to serve alongside humans on the Earth, but one angel named Mephisto has refused to obey this order, claiming that he takes orders from God alone, after which Mephisto is expelled from heaven. God eventually decides to give Mephisto one chance (Prologue): If Mephisto can claim the soul of God's favorite man, an alchemist and scholar named Ariel, only then can he return to heaven. If not, then Mephisto will be condemned to hell forever. Mephisto agrees and searches for Ariel.
Meanwhile, Ariel is introduced and he begins to ponder his research on the true meaning of life and why God created humans. (Center of the Universe) He comes to a conclusion that science nor religion can truly answer these questions. Feeling lost and powerless, he decides to leave his hometown to search for answers. He bids his farewell (Farewell) to the towns people and to his lover, Helena as he departs for answers, promising that he will never return. Years pass by as Ariel begins his search, but eventually turns to the occult after his search seems in vain. (The Edge of Paradise) He then begins to ponder his life back in his home and of Helena (Wander) while aimlessly walking through the wilderness, regretting his decision to leave. Under the influence of hallucinogens, he gives up his search and decides to commit suicide, believing that he will never find the answers he is looking for. But before Ariel has the chance, Mephisto arrives (Descent of the Archangel) and proposes a deal: Mephisto will help Ariel in his search for the questions and fulfill his desires and in turn, Mephisto will claim Ariel's soul when he dies. Ariel is then mysteriously transported to Mephisto castle, where a feast is thrown for him, provided by Mephisto, and he enjoys his splendors. (A Feast for the Vain) After the feast, Ariel then agrees to Mephisto's contract, but only that if he wishes to live forever in a moment of happiness, then can Mephisto claim his soul. Knowing that it may be harder for him to claim his soul, Mephisto agrees.
After leaving Mephisto's castle, Ariel runs into Helena, (On the Coldest Winter Night) who has been searching for him throughout the years he's been gone. Shocked to discover each other, Ariel he becomes joyous to finally see her after the years they've been separated. However, despite his joy, the one thing that ponders his mind is his ever-searching answers to his questions. Despite this, the two enjoy the night and sleep together, not knowing that a child now grows within Helena. After spending time with Helena for about a month, he eventually decides to leave Helena to continue his search for the truth. (Lost & Damned) With his newfound power with Mephisto, he feels the answers are within his grasp. Not wanting to leave Helena, Ariel tells Helena of his departure, claiming that "love means nothing to me, if there is a higher place to be." He begs Helena to leave as he returns to his quest, claiming that he wishes to save her from any evil. After Ariel leaves, Helena is heart-broken and claims that she will love Ariel even in death (Helena's Theme). She then drowns herself, which also kills the unborn child within her. Her body is then discovered and a town crier announces her suicide, which grabs Ariel's attention. After knowing of Helena's suicide, and of her pregnancy, he becomes increasingly upset and weeps at the river where Helena died. (The Mourning After (Carry On))
Consumed with grief, he questions on whether he should continue his quest. He blames both God and himself (Ill Ways to Epica) for Helena's death, but Mephisto encourages Ariel to continue his journey, claiming that human emotions will ultimately become their demise, calling it a curse of humans. Ariel then decides to continue his journey, and slowly becomes under Mephisto's influence. As Ariel continues his journey, Helena watches him from heaven.
Ariel's story continues in The Black Halo.
|2.||"Center of the Universe" (feat. Mari Youngblood)||5:27|
|4.||"Interlude I: Opiate Soul"||1:09|
|5.||"Edge of Paradise"||4:09|
|7.||"Interlude II: Omen" (instrumental)||0:40|
|8.||"Descent of the Archangel"||4:35|
|9.||"Interlude III: At the Banquet"||0:30|
|10.||"A Feast for the Vain"||3:57|
|11.||"On the Coldest Winter Night"||4:09|
|12.||"Lost and Damned"||4:58|
|13.||"Helena's Theme" (feat. Mari Youngblood)||1:51|
|14.||"Interlude IV: Dawn"||0:27|
|15.||"The Mourning After (Carry On)"||4:59|
|16.||"III Ways to Epica" (feat. Mari Youngblood)||6:16|
|Limited Edition bonus track|
|Japanese bonus track|
|17.||"Like the Shadows"||3:45|
Japanese and Limited edition bonus tracks were later included on 2007 compilation "Myths & Legends Of Kamelot".
|Finnish Albums Chart||28|
|Japanese Albums Chart[not in citation given]||47|
|Japanese International Albums Chart[not in citation given]||4|
|German Albums Chart||59|
|French Albums Chart||117|
- Roy Khan – vocals
- Thomas Youngblood – guitars, additional background vocals
- Glenn Barry – bass guitar
- Casey Grillo – drums
- Female vocals – Mari Youngblood (tracks 2, 13, 16)
- Keyboards and orchestral arrangements – Miro
- Additional guitars – Sascha Paeth
- Guitar solo on "Descent of the Archangel" – Luca Turilli
- Keyboards – Günter Werno and Jan P. Ringvold
- Choir vocalists – Robert Hunecke-Rizzo, Cinzia Rizzo, Annie and Herbie Langhans
- Bandoneón on "Lost & Damned" – Fabricio Alejandro
- Rodenberg Symphony Orchestra
- Acoustic bass on "On the Coldest Winter Night" – Olaf Reitmeier
- Djembe on "On the Coldest Winter Night" – Robert Hunecke-Rizzo
- Master of Ceremonies on "At the Banquet" and river spirit on "Helena's Theme" – John Wilton
- D-bass on "On the Coldest Winter Night" – Andre Neygenfind
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