In this post I would like to introduce Epidemiia in the same way that I discovered them: though their metal operas.
Epidemiia are a power metal band from Moscow. I first discovered them by picking up a CD in one of St. Petersburg’s ‘505’ outlets in 2004. I was attracted by the stylised dragon design and because I recognised the name of Ariia’s then lead singer, Artur Berkut. I had some experience of rock opera, but metal opera was a new thing to me. Power metal was something I had only got into more recently too: as a classic metal fan I had only in the last year been exposed to such bands as Iced Earth and Helloween.
A stylised gold dragon with participants’ names and bands around the edge
I was hooked: as a fantasy fan in general, the language, themes and characters were instantly appealing. The music was great too: powerful, expressive, emotive. This was their first metal opera, El’fiiskaiia Rukopis’, ‘The Elven Manuscript’. I chose the transcript as my language project for my final semester at University, which was when I discovered the Dragonlance references. This is a series of books set in Krynn, one of the worlds associated with Dungeons & Dragons. I am familiar with it although I would not call myself well-read in the series.
Briefly, the story follows a half-elf called Dezmond as he tries to save his world, Eniia, from invasion by the evil Deimos who lives in the sister-world to Eniia. The songs are good, but not outstanding, and the storyline is excellent.
The dragon is now ‘stained glass’ and the names are gone
After this I looked at Epidemiia’s other albums and found I enjoyed them. A second metal opera, following directly on from ‘The Elven Manuscript’, was released in 2007. I unfortunately did not manage to get a physical copy of this until recently, but I downloaded the transcript and lyrics. It is called El’fiiskaiia Rukopis’: Skazanie na Vse Vremena (The Elven Manuscript: A Story for All Time). This time, Dezmond and Torvald (his human friend) must help Deimos prevent an invasion to his world, Ksentaron, by the daemoness Minatrix who has sought help from Deimos’ erstwhile companion Skai, the blue dragon. The songs are better, in my opinion, and the storyline is not as strong but carries quite well.
A whole new style for a whole new outing
Finally for the trilogy, Sokrovishche Enii (Treasure of Eniia) was released in 2014. With the weakest storyline but the best songs, it follows on again from the previous opera but less directly as it takes a tangent and follows the gold dragon Giltias and dwarf Drogbar as they investigate an unused portal between Ksentaron and Eniia. It features a star-studded cast and was performed in full in Moscow and St. Petersburg during 2014: I was lucky enough to see the latter (a review for a later post).
I hope this post has given you an insight into Epidemiia and my opinions on their Metal Operas. If you would like more information, you can visit their official site at www.epidemia.ru but it is all in Russian; Wikipedia carries an article in English at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemia, as well as a page on the first metal opera, but there is little else English-language out there for non-Russian speakers. Hopefully I can add some useful insights for the English-speaking community into my favourite power metal band!
All pictures from epidemia.ru; click album covers to go through to the corresponding page