Saturday 24.6.2017 @ Kauhajoki, Nummirock
The world of symphonic metal is all about big ideas and high standards, but few bands have taken this most bombastic of genres to such momentous creative heights as EPICA. Formed in the Netherlands in 2002, these perennially dynamic masters of sonic opulence swiftly grabbed the world’s attention with their 2003 debut album, The Phantom Agony. With a fresh and vital sound that...
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Saturday 24.6.2017 @ Kauhajoki, Nummirock
The world of symphonic metal is all about big ideas and high standards, but few bands have taken this most bombastic of genres to such momentous creative heights as EPICA. Formed in the Netherlands in 2002, these perennially dynamic masters of sonic opulence swiftly grabbed the world’s attention with their 2003 debut album, The Phantom Agony. With a fresh and vital sound that struck a sublime balance between orchestral grandeur and pure heavy metal grit, EPICA’s music showcased the compelling contrast between singer, Simone Simons’s soaring vocals and guitarist, Mark Jansen’s guttural growls; between Isaac Delahaye’s unstoppable core of scything riffs and
keyboard maestro, Coen Janssen’s intricate, hugely cinematic arrangements and embellishments. All of this backed by a powerful tandem: Ariën van Weesenbeek blasting his drums and Rob van der Loo providing tasteful low end.
The lyrics, too, made EPICA stand out from the crowd, as they eschewed the traditional symphonic trope of fantasy and began to explore and dissect notions of philosophy, science and spirituality. By the time they released 2005’s grand evolutionary step, Consign to Oblivion, the Dutch sextet were widely regarded as the genre’s brightest hope and international success was in their grasp.
The decade that followed has seen EPICA grow from plucky contenders to their current status as symphonic metal heavyweights with a huge and ever-expanding worldwide following. With each successive album, the band has made huge creative progress while consistently delivering stage shows and performances of overwhelming power and grandiloquence.
From the dark religious exploration of The Divine Conspiracy (2007), over the intense musical journey of Design Your Universe (2009), to an impassioned and political Requiem For The Indifferent (2012), and on to the brave curiosity and breathtaking depth of their last album, The Quantum Enigma (2014), EPICA’s upward ascent has been both commercial and artistic: a testament to many years of hard work, fierce determination, and the relentless pursuit of musical dreams.
It’s now 2016, with EPICA poised to unveil their greatest masterwork to date. Their seventh full-length studio effort, The Holographic Principle marks a significant upping of the musical ante for the most adventurous of modern bands.
KEYBOARDIST, COEN JANSSEN: “This time we decided that our goal was simply to exceed The Quantum Enigma. We wanted to the best album we possibly could and to evolve as a band on certain specific levels. One of the first things we talked about was to use as many real instruments as possible, in contrast to the previous album. We invested a lot of time to be able to write and work on the songs, and this time around we recorded real brass, strings, woodwinds, ethnic instruments, and percussion, to make it sound more alive and to really dive into what we think is the ultimate EPICA sound.”
GUITARIST + SINGER, MARK JANSEN: “You always need to keep refreshing and challenging yourself, and then you just don’t repeat yourself. The new album is the result of maximum dedication and is all about making it sound real, direct, and pure.”
Recorded once again with esteemed producer, Joost van den Broek at the controls, The Holographic Principle represents the most impressive and powerful expression of EPICA’s boldly inventive sound. One listen to thunderous new songs like, “Edge of the Blade” and “Universal Death Squad” will confirm The Holographic Principle is EPICA’s heaviest album to date.
Meanwhile, the shimmering soundscapes and multi-layered melodrama of, “Once Upon A Nightmare” and the towering 11-minute title track confirm that The Holographic Principle is also the band’s most musically extravagant and daring release so far. With lashings of sumptuous orchestration, a never-ending stream of ingenious but brutal metal riffs, and propulsive rhythms underpinning the whole explosive enterprise, this album raises the bar for the entire symphonic metal genre.
GUITARIST, ISAAC DELAHAYE: “With every album we tend to get heavier and that definitely goes for the new album. You can find lots of interesting guitar riffing, accentuating the fact we are a metal band in the first place. I for sure had to be on top of my game during this whole process!”
Once again, EPICA’s lyrics ensure the album emotionally and intellectually stimulates, as the band returns to the endpoint of The Quantum Enigma and sets off on another voyage of scientific discovery.
MARK JANSEN: “I was fascinated by the concept of virtual reality. Nowadays, you can put on a virtual reality mask and find yourself in a different world. It’s not perfect yet, but in a few years, the techniques will be so good that you won’t be able to tell if it’s our ‘real’ or the virtual reality world. At that point, people might realize the world we’re living in now is perhaps also a virtual reality of a higher reality.”
LEAD SINGER, SIMONE SIMONS: “So here we proceed from where we left off with The Quantum Enigma, on the search for what is real. Is this world a hologram? Are there multiple realities? Inside our mind and in our dreams we can create entire worlds, and the parallels with virtual reality are obvious. Besides the music, the lyrics have taken a big role as well. We don’t just offer great songs, we offer food for thought!”