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Design Your Universe

61 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 3, 2009
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Vinyl, Import, October 20, 2009
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Frequently Bought Together

Design Your Universe + Divine Conspiracy + Requiem for the Indifferent
Price for all three: $38.97

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Editorial Reviews

2009 release, the fourth studio album from the Dutch Symphonic Metal band. The band's previous album, The Divine Conspiracy, was dealing with the idea that God created many religions and that it was to man to understand that they are all the same, and this album will be dealing with the power of thoughts and imaginations.

1. Samadhi (Prelude)
2. Resign to Surrender: A New Age Dawns, Pt. 4
3. Unleashed
4. Martyr of the Free Word
5. Our Destiny
6. Kingdom of Heaven: A New Age Dawns, Pt. V -- Hold in Derision/Children
7. The Price of Freedom (Interlude)
8. Burn to a Cinder
9. Tides of Time
10. Deconstruct
11. Semblance of Liberty
12. White Waters
13. Design Your Universe: A New Age Dawns, Pt. 6

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 3, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • ASIN: B002N1AERI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,258 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By philippe deroin on November 3, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Should you be concerned about Epica fifth full-length album and the unrestrained glee with which the band throws everything in the mix, then the kitchen sink, a sample of George H.W. Bush, quantum physics, the Mayan calendar and the Tibetan Book of the Dead for good measure ?

Oddly, No. Design Your Universe could have become a monument of kitsch but the dutch symphonic metal band makes it work. It is richer than its predecessor, Divine Conspiracy (TDC), even though it does not have as serene and accomplished a showcase as Chasing the Dragon ; the two longest tracks, Kingdom of Heaven and the title track, are majestic but less approachable.

For those unfamiliar with the genre, Symphonic Metal is a melodic form of metal, often female-fronted, that at times flirts with progressive rock and is an improbable melting pot of proto-metal like Motörhead, showtunemeisters like Andrew Lloyd Weber, past academic music pioneers like Carl Orff and epic film score writers like Hans Zimmer. Epica is front and center of the second generation of bands embracing the genre.

Epica has a new line-up with Ariën Van Weesenbeek now a full-time member on drums and Isaac Delahaye taking over lead guitar. Both come from the death metal band God Dethroned and their presence ensures that Epica, instead of drifting slowly away from the Beauty and the Beast template of the genre like Within Temptation did long ago, stands its ground...
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Zephyr on November 3, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After the long anticipation of waiting for Epica to release a new CD, it is finally here! I'm not one to write reviews on every CD I like, but I think this one deserves it. I truly believe this is one step forward for Epica once again. There isn't one CD by this band I could really say stands out as my favorite because they all have their ups and downs. With Design Your Universe, the band decided to go for a more "heavier" sound and prove why they belong in the symphonic metal genre. Many will argue it's a bad thing and many will probably say it's good for them. I am one of those who says good for them! Fans of "Consign to Oblivion" may not be too happy with this change as that was the only CD with very few of Mark's repeated growling, and altogether the CD had a more soft side to it.

On this CD most of the tracks feature the growling, and as an added bonus, way better choirs. Epica also did something they have never done before-- they added guitar solos. I felt this was missing for a long time from their music and kept wondering when they would add them in. They belong in the songs and they definitely don't take away from them. Simone sings in a much more variety of ranges and goes from sounding almost "pop" like to her usual operatic voice. The band has also added a Duet featuring Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) and actually has two songs over 9 minutes long ("The Kingdom of Heaven" and "Design Your Universe").

"Design Your Universe" explores the topic of new breakthroughs in quantum physics and their 13 tracks as well as their lyrics revolve around this topic. Truth be told, I had to read their Wikipedia page before I even began to understand what they were singing about.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Metal Maniac on December 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I have roughly 160 Gigs of Metal/Rock/Death/Black Metal/Industrial/Symphonic/Goth etc all collected over the last 10 years or so, and nothing I have ever heard can in my opinion hold a candle to this album. I have never felt the need to write a review about music, after listening this a couple times I couldn't stay away from writing about it.

This album is bombastic to the extreme in a way that makes other attempts seem silly, however it pulls it of the flawless execution. It is so deeply layered with a multitude of sounds and flawlessly pulls off grunt vs harmony that I can't fault any of the main songs (the ballads are not my style, of which there are only 2 on this album).

As a musician myself I can appreciate the intricacies of blending an orchestra, choir, and female fronted death metal band, and doing it well. It is very well done, the transitions are fluid and dynamic. There is quite a bit of mixing major and minor for a dark yet inspiring and powerful sound, especially when the orchestra stays major and the electronic strings all go minor, then layer in Simon over the top with her unbelievable vocals that have an incredible range of style and sound, and it comes together in an album that does not fit in a little package of "symphonic metal" or any other label, it defies it, and it does it well.

I think why it strikes me as so unbelievable is that it takes so many components of all the different various types of rock/metal/etc that I listen to and combines it into one band with extremely complex songs that still have enough accessibility to be enjoyable.
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