The Divine Conspiracy
|The Divine Conspiracy|
|Studio album by Epica|
22 August 2007 (Japan)|
28 August 2007 (USA)
7 September 2007 (Europe)
10 September 2007 (UK)
|Recorded||November 2006 - March 2007|
|Studio||Gate Studio, Wolfsburg, Germany|
|Producer||Sascha Paeth & Epica|
|Singles from The Divine Conspiracy|
The Divine Conspiracy is the third full-length studio album by Dutch symphonic metal band Epica as well as their first concept album. It was released on 7 September 2007 through Nuclear Blast in Europe. The concept that guides the songs is that God created many different religions for humanity to figure out and overcome them so as to discover that, in nature and essence, they were all in fact the same one (hence the name, "The Divine Conspiracy"). Aside from the concept of such a conspiracy, The Divine Conspiracy finalizes The Embrace That Smothers, which began in After Forever's Prison of Desire (Prologue and parts I-III) and continued in Epica's The Phantom Agony (parts IV-VI). In short, The Embrace That Smothers is a collection of 10 songs (Prologue and parts I-IX), which talks about the dangers of organized religion.
In The Divine Conspiracy, Mark Jansen gives some room for new themes in the lyrics, moving away from The Embrace That Smothers. For example, "Beyond Belief" centers around the dispute between science and religion, but at the same time it does not attack either side. The following track, "Safeguard to Paradise" deals with the methods of convincing suicide bombers, a sharp contrast to the slow and soft music. During an interview, vocalist Simone Simons commented that many of the major themes inspirations came from what she saw on the news, with predominance of the religious parts as on The Embrace That Smothers songs. Among other themes are the formation of a human being and sentiments towards others, as vanity on "Menace of Vanity" and obsession on "The Obsessive Devotion". "La‘petach Chatat Rovetz" ("לפתח חטאת רובץ") is an expression in Hebrew. It means that sin lurks and awaits for a chance to strike and affect. About the religions influenced parts, Simons commented:
"You can believe whatever you want to if it gives you strength, but you should not oblige others to believe the same thing and all the suicides commands, the honor killings, all that stuff, it gives me goose bumps even right now."
Later on, she exemplifies with the songs "Living a Lie" and "Death of a Dream":
"I wrote about a Christian couple who were pregnant, who had a baby which died at birth. That's "Living a Lie". "Death of a Dream" is about the position of women in the Islam society, that they are not equal to men. That they are speaking out for themselves. The main character in that song is a young girl, a Muslim who got pregnant by her boyfriend who is not a Muslim and her father killed her. That's how the song title came about, "Death of a Dream"."
The album cover also comes from the depicted concept. On an interview for Sonic Cathedral, Simons commented that it was her idea, as she had no problems in being naked for an artistic purpose. The nudity in the cover manages to illustrate the state of innocence people have before making wrong choices and, as life goes through, marks starts to appear and take hold, as depicted by the marks on her body. Then, Eve's apple illustrates the religious side of the album, where she decides to bite it and become a human being in all its circumstances.
Following the departure of drummer Jeroen Simons in 2006, the album features a session appearance by God Dethroned drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek, who later became a full-time member of the band. The album also features a guest performance of After Forever's guitarist and singer Sander Gommans, who contributed grunt vocals for the song "Death of a Dream." The European digipak version of the album contains a cover of Fear Factory's "Replica".
The album was the first to reach the Top 10 Dutch charts, reaching the No.9.
|1.||"Indigo (Prologue)"||Mark Jansen||Coen Janssen, Jansen||2:05|
|2.||"The Obsessive Devotion"||Jansen, Ad Sluijter||Jansen||7:13|
|3.||"Menace of Vanity"||Jansen||Jansen||4:13|
|4.||"Chasing the Dragon"||Simone Simons, Jansen||Jansen, Sluijter, Yves Huts, Simons||7:40|
|5.||"Never Enough"||Simons, Sluijter||Huts||4:47|
|6.||"La‘petach Chatat Rovetz (The Last Embrace)" (instrumental)||Jansen, Huts||1:46|
|7.||"Death of a Dream" (The Embrace That Smothers, Part VII)||Simons, Sluijter||Jansen, Huts, Sluijter||6:03|
|8.||"Living a Lie" (The Embrace That Smothers, Part VIII)||Simons, Jansen||Jansen, Huts, Sluijter||4:56|
|9.||"Fools of Damnation" (The Embrace That Smothers, Part IX)||Jansen||Jansen, Sluijter, Simons||8:42|
|10.||"Beyond Belief"||Jansen, Sluijter||Jansen, Sluijter, Simons||5:25|
|11.||"Safeguard to Paradise"||Jansen||Huts, Jansen, Janssen||3:46|
|12.||"Sancta Terra"||Simons||Jansen, Sluijter, Simons||4:57|
|13.||"The Divine Conspiracy"||Jansen||Jansen, Sluijter, Janssen||13:56|
|14.||"Higher High"||Simons||Huts, Jansen, Simons||5:27|
|15.||"Replica" (Fear Factory cover)||Burton C. Bell||Dino Cazares, Raymond Herrera||4:10|
|16.||"Safeguard to Paradise (Piano Version)"||Jansen||Huts, Jansen, Janssen||3:50|
Limited Edition bonus CD
- "Higher High" - 5:26
- "Replica" - 4:08 (Fear Factory cover)
- "Never Enough" (Video)
- "Never Enough" (Long Version - Video)
- Making of Never Enough (Video)
- Band members
- Simone Simons - mezzo-soprano
- Mark Jansen - lead & rhythm guitars, grunts, orchestral arrangements
- Ad Sluijter - lead & rhythm guitars, engineer, editor
- Coen Janssen - piano, synths, choir arrangements, baritone vocals on "Beyond Belief"
- Yves Huts - bass guitar, orchestral arrangements
- Additional musicians
- Ariën Van Weesenbeek - drums
- Sander Gommans - death grunts on "Death of a Dream ~ The Embrace That Smothers part VII"
- Olaf Reitmeier - acoustic guitars on "Chasing the Dragon", baritone vocals on "Beyond Belief", engineer, editor
- Amanda Somerville - spoken words in "The Obsessive Devotion", backing vocals, vocal lines arrangements and production, vocal coaching, engineer
- Gjalt Lucassen - priest in "Living a Lie ~ The Embrace That Smothers part VIII"
- Jaff Wade - spoken words in "Fools of Damnation ~ The Embrace That Smothers part IX"
- Epica Choir
- Linda van Summeren - soprano
- Bridget Foggle - soprano
- Amanda Somerville - alto
- Cinzia Rizzo - alto
- Previn Moore - tenor
- Melvin Edmondsen - bass
- Sascha Paeth - producer, engineer, mixing, mastering, vocal arrangements, backing vocals
- Simon Oberender - engineer, editor
- Miro Rodenberg - orchestral arrangements
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||40|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||57|
|Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)||9|
|French Albums (SNEP)||35|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||41|
|Japanese Albums (Oricon)||148|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||29|
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