EPIC – Like A Phoenix (2015)
EPIC was founded by Canadian songwriter / vocalist Tanya Rizkala and guitarist Mario Agostine some years ago with both musicians contributing their own songs, resulting in the band’s debut “Like A Phoenix“.
First of all, do not be fooled by their name or the album’s artwork: at first glance, named EPIC, I was thinking of another female-fronted sympho / operatic act… not at all, “Like A Phoenix” delivers 10 punchy melodic hard rockin’ tracks inspired by the classic era yet with a modern sound.
Modern sound refers to the musicians’ set-up racks and playing: Mario Agostine is that kind of virtuoso axeman with a style akin Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big) and Kee Marchello (ex Europe), Mike Ganime plays 6-string bass so it’s more like a ‘bass guitar’, and then Souheil Moukaddem adds nice percussion tricks to his precise drumming.
And the vocals… well, we have a powerhouse beast in Tanya Rizkala’s pipes. She mention David Coverdale as main influence, and you can tell. Her range is fabulous.
In fact, EPIC is the vehicle for Tanya Rizkala’s international career launch.
She already released an EP years ago, but is mostly known as songwriter artist composing for others (hired by various labels) and session back up singer.
Well, judging the material on offer here, not only Tanya deserve to be listened, but also her bandmates. Agostine has a prolific background as well, has released a solo guitar album and played actively as session man mostly in France and Germany.
Epic sounds great as unit, tight and punchy.
The good thing in this album is the dynamics. The songs are not your ordinary hard rock ditty, all are elaborated without losing its impact.
From the start “Love Will Find a Way” shows Epic’s credentials: great riff, groovy bass lines, a steady drum work and varied vocals during the verses. Then the chorus is melodic with keyboards in the background while the guitar paint killer swirls in the background.
Title track “Like a Phoenix” is heavier, and more ’80s oriented with a superb guitar work, and Tanya delivering a more raspy, sensual vocal performance.
“I Can Take You” is a ballad yet with lots of grip; clean guitars and lead vocals in the vein of Ann Wilson (Heart), then “Sleepless Angel” is slow too but in a melodic rock mid-tempo mode adding some acoustics.
All these four initial tracks gives you pretty accurate idea of Epic’s variation.
But all the remaining tracks are good as well: “All I Need” rocks again via a groovy bluesy heavy riff (Mario Agostine is a terrific 6-string virtuoso, believe me), “Angels” is perhaps the most commercial cut with a contagious main melody, and “My Everything” is intimate with velvety vocals all over.
“I Need You” is another semi-ballad with a rocking background, “Save a Little Love” showcases Tanya melodic side (quite Robin Beck here), whilst “Nah Nah Nah” ends the record with a bluesy hard rock pump in the vein of Whitesnake yet with a female at front. I do not like the backing vocals here, but who cares when you have a monster lead like Tanya.
Epic’s debut “Like A Phoenix” is a rocking, melodic guitar driven album with some great riffs / solos accompanying the stellar lead vocals of Tanya Rizkala. There’s a rock-solid rhythm section as well, with the bass delivering a true ‘bass guitar’ set of grooves.
This is modern hard rock yet with all the vibe of Eighties / early Nineties female-fronted bands in this style, leaning more for the ‘rocking’ side of the genre. Think Jackie Bodimead (If Only), the first Lee Aaron or the recently appeared Nubian Rose.
01 – Love Will Find a Way
02 – Like a Phoenix
03 – I Can Take You
04 – Sleepless Angel
05 – All I Need
06 – Angels
07 – My Everything
08 – I Need You
09 – Save a Little Love
10 – Nah Nah Nah
Tanya Rizkala – vocals
Mario Agostine – guitars
Mike Ganime – bass
Souheil “Sous” Moukaddem – drums
BUY IT !