It has already been a few months since I last wrote something here, so it was about time. And what is a better reason to write something again than a new record from Epica!
To come straight to the point, for those who already didn’t like their previous record “The Quantum Enigma” from 2014, you can safely skip this one. For those that did like it (myself included) will feel right at home with “The Holographic Principle”. It is again filled to the brim with the same bombastic sound we got before, and then some, while keeping all those typical ‘Epica’-elements intact. The mixture of classical, operatic, and orchestral sound is still there and blends into each other almost perfectly. Everything has just become a tad heavier, in a good sense. This is most notable halfway through “Ascension – Dream State Armageddon”, where the band goes all out and even ventures into melodic black metal regions in the likes of Dimmu Borgir and Old Man’s Child. My personal highlight of the record.
Off course that isn’t the only good song on the album as all the others are of equally high standard which we’ve come to expect from Epica. It never gets dull. The balance between Mark growls, which have seriously improved, and Simone’s angelic voice is excellent. Behind that, all the other members form a perfect musical base. Ariën “The Beast” van Weesenbeek goes wild on his drum kit again and makes sure that he can keep carrying his nickname. Mark, Isaac and Rob complete the sound with their guitarwork and some great riffs. And even more to the background another improvement can clearly be heard. No longer do the orchestral sounds come from some computer program, but finally a real orchestra back the band up. And if I must nitpick on one thing sound wise, it’s probably that all together it sounds a little bit to clean and polished. Not that they, with their venture into the melodic black metal regions, should sound like a band who just can’t shake a sound as if they are still recording somewhere in a stone-cold attic. But perhaps it would have made those heavy parts, just a bit more intense.
When you eventually get to the end of the record and try to catch a breath from all the awesomeness you just heard, Epica takes care of you to wind you down. No live-records or b-tracks as bonus material this time. The lads unplugged all their amplifiers and made some of the songs into some highly enjoyable ballads, with “Universal Love Squad” being a highlight.
Nothing more remains to be said. My verdict is clear… buy it, buy it now! Come on, what are you still doing here, go to the store….!
Released: 30 september 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
- Edge Of The Blade
- A Phantasmic Parade
- Universal Death Squad
- Divide And Conquer
- Beyond The Matrix
- Once Upon A Nightmare
- The Cosmic Algorithm
- Ascension – Dream State Armageddon
- Dancing In A Hurricane
- Tear Down Your Walls
- The Holographic Principle – A Profound Understanding Of Reality