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Side-Line Review: Epoch - Sanctimonium

After a brief career in the early 90s Epoch went into hibernation for quite a long lapse of time, but finally struck back with the album “Purity & Revolution” in 2013. Set up by Ken Holewczynsk, Epoch now has become a rather prolific band, and already strikes back with this new opus.

The main influences remain the same although “Sanctimonium” became more diversified in influences and more styled in the global production. It’s not that easy to qualify Epoch in one established genre. The influences are multiple and constantly crossing each other from song to song. One of the main characteristics of Epoch is the rather ‘political’ interest inspiring the composition. The main idea behind this album is the ‘obvious overreach of the U.S. and its allies’ influence in world affairs under the guise of the protection of democracy and freedom, the pompous and half-truths told by the politicians are beginning to unravel’. I have to admit it’s a rather interesting subject to discuss. Epoch doesn’t want to start a debate, but invites its audience to discover these ‘lies’ weaved in music.

The album takes off with a rather inspired hymn track revealing dark passages, spoken samplings and guitar riffs. The guitar playing for sure is one of the main evolutions in comparison with their debut album. We get a few heavy passages, which sometimes even move into a noise approach (cf. “All Heil The Chief”). The orchestral arrangements remain one of the good-old elements of the work. It’s spiced with dark atmospheres, but still by martial passages and samplings of screaming masses. The old-fashioned samplings of Nazi-propaganda that were used on “Purity & Revolution” have been replaced by extracts of speeches by Barack Obama. Epoch reinforces their controversy, but never becomes a classical and cliché neo-folk or martial band.

The sound is too diversified and sometimes stands for a few big surprises. I didn’t exactly expect a kind of mystic aspect reminding me of Dead Can Dance in a darker mood (cf. “Cold Wave Cold War”). The folk-like tune running through “All Heil The Chief” is not as surprising, but globally speaking it rather appears to be a detail of the work. Epoch mixes opposite elements, which resulted in this very accessible sound.

Conclusion: Despite of its controversial concept, “Sanctimonium” is a damned successful album carried by poignant atmospheres, heavy and noisy guitar riffs, electronic sequences and samplings which will absolutely move you. The new work reveals a positive evolution in sound.

Best songs: “Disciples Of Mars”, “The Fall”, “Sanctimonium”, “Staatkunst”, “The Rise”.

Source: Side-Line Review: Epoch - Sanctimonium