Epikus - 'Outar the Foul'
Review by Aaron Cloutier & Staf
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. Off the album, "Otar the Foul" is a must listen.
I was immediately roped in as soon as I heard the frantic staccato slashes of cello cut through my expectations. In fact, I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of a track with the title of “Otar the Foul” but immediately, I was pleasantly surprised and eager to hear more.
As the cinematic orchestral piece progresses, I find myself making comparisons to famed composer Daniel Pemberton and the work he did on the semi recent King Arthur reboot. Many standout elements from that soundtrack jumped out to me here in “Otar the Foul”. Dramatic percussion, electronica beats (to my ear at least) and claps blend with, digital wails, angelic choirs and tribal chants creating a feeling of foreboding as if the bad guy just walked in the room.
The dynamics play a major role in this track as well and to great effect. Menacing whispers turn to vehement bellows. Singular cello phrases erupt into an explosive climax as they are shortly joined by this apocalyptic orchestra. Joining in with thunderous percussion, rhythmic strings and epic choirs creating apocalyptic imagery and signs of an impending destruction. There are many notable hooks in the piece but the stand out for me is the rhythm which gives me thoughts of the terminator theme without sounding like it.
In short, “Otar the Foul” is an intense cinematic ride for those who like to root for the villain. To me, it’s very metal without being metal at all. I think I will enjoy another listen now.
For more information on Epikus, please visit his website.
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About Epikus 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.