EPICA have been a huge influence and a radiant light in the world of Symphonic Metal for many years now, but they are not a band I have really paid much attention to over their 14 years of existence.
I only really started to appreciate the whole Symphonic side of Metal after attending the PPM Festival in Mons Belgium in 2014.
Since then I have listened to a lot of bands like Delain, Leaves Eyes and Nightwish among many others and was awaiting the opportunity to review an Epica Album.
Well here’s my chance and I am glad to say I have thoroughly enjoyed this release with it’s bombastic, thunderous orchestrations along with brutal riffs aplenty and thrusting rhythms. The bands plethora of fans are simply going to love and adore this album “The Holographic Principle”.
To give an idea of the whole conception of this release I think it’s best that it comes from band founder Mark Jansen “I was fascinated by the concept of virtual reality”, Mark explains.
“Nowadays you can put on a virtual reality mask and you’ll 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 that the world we’re living in now is perhaps also a virtual reality of a higher reality.”
Loud horns, a choir, strings and a haunting vocal excerpt from a child builds the anticipation on the opening “Eidola” Then cutting into your presence we get the superb “Edge of The Blade” it’s full of chest beating, head shaking delight as the orchestrations, drums and killer Metal riffs are enveloped by the delicious, succulent voice of Simone Simons.
Next are two of the four Highlights for me on this album. Firstly “A Phantasmal Parade” which will give you goose bumps, it is defiant and superlative, Guitarist Mark Jansen Growls and roars as Simons Vocals soar far into the heavens the accompanying choral background completes this immense and powerful delivery of Symphonic Metal.
The second highlight for me is “Universal Death Squad” it’s a full force face melting execution of symphonic delight as everything is thrown into the mix, soaring vocals, menacing growls from Jansen and what I like to call a devil’s choir of damnation interwoven throughout the song, it is simply divine.
“Divide and Conquer” has bestial growls emanating from Jansen as the vocals go back and forth between himself and Simons conjuring up a Beauty and the beast scenario in your mind’s eye.
I love the final part of this track it is truly awe inspiring, chilling your bones as the song reaches it’s zenith.
“Beyond The Matrix” is the third Highlight for me it’s orchestral composition, hypnotic vocals, combined with the choral interludes are inspiring as the guitars are shredded in a Metal Heads delight, it’s a simply delicious and captivating tune.
A majestic orchestration opens “Once Upon a Nightmare” Simone Simons impassioned vocals will move and astound you, she is imbued with power and grace.
The Album continues its impressive journey with “The Cosmic Algorithm”.
Then the fourth highlight “Ascension-Dream State Armageddon “takes on the Gothica side to Epicas music. It is melodramatic you are enveloped in a shroud of brooding musicality as Mark Jansen’s deep growls combine with the shedding guitars and Simons operatic tones.
It could quite easily be a song from the Blacker side of Metal, and is indeed one of the heaviest songs on here.
“Dancing in a Hurricane” takes on middle eastern tones as it opens up into a hypnotic piece of Arabic enchantment.
Penultimate track “Tear Down Your Walls” hints at a progressive vibe. It leads to the title track lasting eleven and a half minutes. It encapsulates everything within that time, it is expansive, dramatic, enchanting anda charismatic end to a superb Symphonic Metal Album.
I have broadened my Metal horizons and I am delighted that I given Symphonic Metal a try I think many metal heads should stop avoiding this side of the Metal family and embrace it fully.
“The Holographic Principle” is Another stunning release to please and sate the masses in 2016.
Review by Seb Di Gatto
2. Edge of the Blade
3. A Phantasmic Parade
4. Universal Death Squad
5. Divide and Conquer
6. Beyond the Matrix
7. Once upon a Nightmare
8. The Cosmic Algorithm
9. Ascension – Dream State Armageddon
10. Dancing in a Hurricane
11. Tear Down Your Walls
12. The Holographic Principle – A Profound Understanding of Reality
Mark Jansen – Rhythm Guitars, Harsh Vocals
Coen Janssen – Keyboards
Simone Simons – Vocals
Arien van Wessenbeek – Drums, Harsh Vocals
Isaac Delahaye – Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals
Rob van de Loo – Bass