I’m almost embarassed to be uploading an Epoch review after over three years of this website’s being online.
It really should not have taken so long. Epoch are after all staples of the country’s extreme metal scene, and indeed one of the country’s most highly original and leftfield propositions.
To make matters worse I have actually been picking up their (too numerous to mention) tapes at gigs for probably the last six years at varying stages and have not yet managed to add them to the MI database simply because I couldnt be bothered doing the necessary scanning of their grainy xeroxed covers.
Congratulations are in order then to main man Jason for doing the decent thing and sticking all of these tapes and some more onto a cd for convenient listening, and for bringing the music to what now will hopefully be a new generation of fans. Because they deserve to be heard, if only for their total eccentricity.
I remember the first time I played the “Inside an Open Space” tape. I cant remember the year, but it was a long time ago; I had been cajoled into spending my last tuppence on it at some gig or other by some miscreant.
Suffice to say, it was the butt of more than a few jokes. The recording quality was so excruciatingly poor that songs were at best incomprehensible and anything other than the much overused flange effects were completely lost.
But over the course of the next two or three outings there were hints of something really quite special, and thankfully the quality of transfer to this cd has upped the listening pleasure immensely. At long, long last these songs are actually audible, showing the band for the spooky, creative and mysterious beast it is.
Many in NI will be familiar with Jason’s tapes from down the years. But to those who havent had the pleasure, imagine putting Hawkwind to black metal and you’re most of the way there. Cross this with some intriguing darkambient and sampled interludes and the effect is more than a little unsettling.
It is heartening to see all the best Epoch cuts included – the ferocious ‘Berashith’ is given its place as is the ‘Tower of Babalon’ with its swirling bite. The band’s latter day direction is showcased however with the more Zeppelin, Sabbath and classic rock influences working their way into the various “Earth Magic” pieces.
Although the two styles sometimes jar, they compliment each other on the majority of occasions. In point of fact, the low budget recording quality adds tremendously to the atmosphere of these songs, with the cd format meaning we can now finally hear the riffs.
Epoch are a band that a certain generation of extreme metal fans here will reminisce over with their xeroxed D90’s, and the other generation will never have heard at all, let alone care about. So hopefully now with this more accessible cd in the public domain the new metal fanbase which has emerged in Ireland can get a chance to discover this hidden gem of the late nineties and beyond.
The marriage of aesthetic, music and ideology is getting harder and harder to come across: the savagery and sheer otherworldliness of Epoch’s music is yet another thing on top of that. So remind yourself if you were there, and introduce yourself if you werent. Promptly.
4.7 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 20/07/04