Epica’s latest album Ωmega is their first full length album since 2016’s The Holographic Principle. The concept of Ωmega revolves around the metaphysical and spiritual idea of the ‘Omega Point’ theory, in which the universe is said to eventually unify and converge to one point of all-knowing intelligence. This choice of topic should come as no surprise to seasoned Epica fans, with their previous 4 full length releases sharing similarly ‘galaxy brain’ themes in the lyrics, album artwork and titles. Ωmega is the third in a trilogy of albums beginning with 2014’s The Quantum Enigma, and followed up by 2016’s The Holographic Principle.
In addition to the album itself being the third in a trilogy, it also contains the third song in an inter-album trilogy of connected songs sharing lyrical themes of wisdom, curiosity and the combination of science with spirituality. This series began with the heavy, progressive ‘Kingdom Of Heaven (A New Age Dawns – Pt. V)’ on 2009’s Design Your Universe and continued with ‘The Quantum Enigma – Kingdom Of Heaven Part II’. Ωmega‘s ‘Kingdom of Heaven, part III – the Antediluvian Universe’ forms the final instalment of this ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ trilogy, and it is easily the catchiest of the three.
There is plenty of Phrygian/Middle Eastern sounding instrumentation on Ωmega (e.g. ‘Seal of Solomon’, ‘Code of Life’ and ‘Omega - Sovereign of the Sun Spheres’). This is something they’ve played with before on previous albums, showing their Kamelot influence (Kamelot being another band seemingly fond of the Phrygian scale – think ‘March of Mephisto’, ‘Desert Reign’ etc., and Epica are named after a Kamelot album after all). However these Middle Eastern influences seem to come through a bit more obviously here than on previous releases and this could be in part due to their collaboration with Zaher Zorgati of Tunisian band Myrath, who describe their blend of metal with traditional Arabic music as ‘blazing desert metal’.
As well as Zaher Zorgati of Myrath, Ωmega also features the vocals of Vicky Psarakis (The Agonist) and Marcela Bovio from Mark Jansen (founder of Epica)’s other symphonic metal project MaYaN, which he started in 2010 with ex-After Forever bandmate Jack Driessen. Highlights from this album include ‘Abyss Of Time – Countdown to Singularity’, ‘The Skeleton Key’, ‘Kingdom of Heaven, part III – the Antediluvian Universe’ and ‘Omega - Sovereign of the Sun Spheres’ (the latter being somewhat reminiscent of ‘Ending Theme’ by Pain of Salvation . All of these tracks feature particularly catchy melodies, and the vocal melodies are delivered in Simone Simmons’ usual angelic soprano with her characteristic crystal-clear diction.
There is nothing necessarily different about this album or any new territory explored, but then experimentation is not what Epica are especially known for anyway. Over time fans have just come to expect solid, cinematically orchestrated albums with stellar vocals, each with a few songs which stand out as being remarkably catchy. Ωmega certainly does its job of meeting these expectations at their usual high standard of quality.
Recommended for fans of: After Forever, MaYaN, Nightwish, Diabulus in Musica, Leaves Eyes