Epikus - 'Voice of Thunder'
Review by Patrick Joseph & Staft
The W.A M. Awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding independent artists from around the world in multiple genres and categories. "Best Song" and "Best Album" nominations were based on Artistry, Musicianship, Originality, Professionalism, Diversity, and Excellence. W.A.M. stands for "We Are the Music Makers.' Epikus' Album "Voice of Thunder" was the 2020 W.A.M. Award Winner for Best Album in the Concept music category.
“Voice of Thunder” is a sweeping, epic composition with all of the elements of a silver-screen or video game score. In the first movement a dark, piercing melodic theme floats over the top of an orchestral soundscape featuring war-like drums and tension-filled string ostinatos. Arrangement choices during this section are aggressive and bold. When the piece reaches an emotional fever pitch, operatic vocals enter and inject a humanity and a spirit to the music. Woodhouse shows impressive command over the execution of this piece, holding the listener in a state of excitement and continually developing themes.
The arrangement breaks into a second movement that is delicate and pensive. A melancholy piano and a steady, resolved violin theme combine to create a feeling of longing and of “work to be done.” When the horns and strings crescendo the piece reaches a climax and the listener feels at the apex of the journey. All of the previous melodic and rhythmic themes seem to be like memories, arming us with the necessary tools to continue to march into the face of an explosive musical melee.
We are left to cool off with a “funeral” like piano melody, punctuated by a low pitched, resounding drum. This serves a necessary function in the piece, ritualistically signifying a resolution and providing a moment for reflection on the journey. This is a piece that takes its time and delivers the listener to all of the right places. “One sound to hail…One voice to rise”
For more information on Epikus, please visit his website.
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In 2004, Aaron Woodhouse started his musical journey. Born in New Mexico, USA and raised in southern California, his first exposure to music was in the high school choir. He began to learn the basics of music composition, then enrolled in more advanced musical studies at the university level. In his junior year, he left the university to begin professional voice development, competing in several national voice competitions. While in university, he collaborated to produce his first professional music recording, an instrumental entitled "The Journey", soon followed by the new age solo piano compilation, "Soulace".
In the following years, his skills in composition and voice development improved, resulting in the creation of multiple classical crossover singles and albums. These included the fourteen-track album entitled "Catharsis" (2016), an emotional and dramatic classical crossover. Soon followed by the hard-hitting ten-track album "Cataclysm" (2017), which includes the popular track "How the Mighty Have Fallen".
Aaron's versatility saw the creation of the ten-track, new age piano: "Parks and Seasons: A Tribute to the National Parks" (2017) inspired by the many trips and hours spent in the National Parks as a youth. In 2018, Aaron created the music for "Voice of Thunder", a classical crossover story album where Aaron composed and sang, and where his nom de plume was finally established. The album goes hand-in-hand with a novel authored by Aaron, in the genre of fantasy for young adults, with the same title. Aaron has also arranged epic orchestral and vocal covers of songs such as "Legends Never Die" from League of Legends", "O Fortuna" by Carl Orff, and a personal favorite, "Silent Noon" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, featuring the full range of Aaron's vocal abilities.
"Voice of Thunder", in addition to winning the W.A.M. Awards for Best Concept and Story Album of 2020, has seen great success on many other music platforms with the fan favorite, "Otar the Foul" nearing ten million views on YouTube and five hundred thousand streams on Spotify. Aaron is now working on a new release to be entitled "Like a BOSS", a driving apocalyptic classical-trailer crossover compilation of hybrid tracks. He is also working on the sequel novel and album to "Voice of Thunder" of which the working title will be "The One Tree", highlighting Aaron's composing and vocal skills once again. Even though Aaron has endured the effects of mental illness since 2006, he finds healing and fulfillment when he's creating. His drive and love of music continues to motivate him, and he looks forward to creating even more powerful and inspirational music in the future.