Album Review: Napoleon - 'Epiphany'
After releasing their debut album ‘Newborn Mind’ in 2016, Napoleon are back with ‘Epiphany’ which was released on 2nd November, via Basick Records.
‘Epiphany’ opens up with a melodic guitar solo that feels as though we’re being sucked into an 8-bit world where we’re transformed into Mario Kart who is about to power up and guide us through this colourful and energetic world. This guitar tone rings throughout the entire album, whilst being juxtaposed with a jittery drum beat and the powerful screams from Wes Thompson. Adding a heavier edge to it all is bassist Jacob Brelsford who allows the guitar to shine, whilst also carrying the songs. While ‘Godspeed’ is a perfect marriage of pop-culture, pop-punk and hardcore, ‘Above & Below’ is packed full of energy and angst; “they wanna watch me fail and fall to the ground […] look who’s laughing now.”
‘Ignite’ was the first single to be released from ‘Epiphany’ and it has the fast-paced energy and post-chorus breakdowns that remind me of the welsh pop-punk band, Neck Deep. Sam Osborn’s guitar playing skills are in full display here, with a serpentine 80’s style riff that weaves its way through the middle-8. ‘Epiphany’ has melodic vocals that chase and echo Wes Thompson’s angered and pained screams and ‘Fantasist’ sees these vocals come back into play, with the general sound of the song being more on the heavy metal side of things. Whilst it is easy to say that on a whole, Napoleon are a melodic hardcore band, within each of the songs there are subtle references and hints to other styles of music. This is a skill that gives them the ability to stay current, in the scene.
Halfway through ‘Diamond in the Rough’ you are treated to a funky bass riff that brings on a little bit of bass face – it’s a small moment, but it comes back around and is distinct enough to stand out from everything else – think Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers. ‘Zeitgeist’ is one of the most musically complex song on the album. There are various breakdowns and each instrument is able to have a little solo moment, whilst supporting each other in a way that no specific one steals the limelight. ‘Living Ghost’ tells a tale of trying to be set free from bad things that you’ve experienced in the past. Layered ‘gang-style’ vocals make the subject all the more hard-hitting, with that bass guitar just rattling away in the distance in subtle pauses, that allow the message to sink in.
‘Dream Sequence’ is the perfect closing song, for ‘Epiphany’. Being a lot jazzier than all of its predecessors, it is easy to get caught up in the lucidity of each singular part but at the right moment, the drums come in to jerk you out of the reverie you feel yourself being wrapped up in. Toward the end of the song, there are orchestral sounding strings and flutes which is quite a surprise, given the heavier nature of the previous songs.
Napoleon have shown that you don’t have to revamp your sound in anyway, for your second album. As the wise people always say; “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Words by Tyler Damara Kelly