Archive for Epica

Epica – The Solace System

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 4th September 2017 by mickbirchy

Epica
The Solace System
Symphonic Metal, Progressive Metal
Released 1st September 2017
via Nuclear Blast Records

Epica have been on a roll as of late. Last year they came out with one of their most commercially accessible, biggest sounding and most fun album to date. They have followed this up with another little taste of this sound. The Solace System is the new EP that continues the big bombastic sound that they created on The Quantum Enigma and The Holographic Principle. When Epica are truly behind something they put their damnedest into making it sound its best.

They manage to effortlessly weave together beautifully poetic lyrics with brutally harsh and excellently composed and layered musical production. The production is simply phenomenal and every track really hits home. The tight chemistry of the band really shines through on the production, creating some really memorable tunes that feel more complex and interesting. The duel vocal stylings that they are known for sound great once again impress me as they seamlessly dart between the two. Although the EP sounds great, it does come across as a little formulaic.  The more I think about it, the more it feels like they’re treading the same water again. At times it just feels a little too… Expected of them. They really haven’t thrown much into this EP to give it it’s own identity. Maybe if they experimented with a few new ideas but there’s nothing here which isn’t territory they have covered before.

In all honesty, I keep flipping back and forth on this album. As much as it feels passe and ineffective, I’m still enjoying the work. It sounds really pretty. Simone’s vocal work is gorgeous, it sounds really clear and is filled with emotion. That is something that she can always do, she jsut throws herself into her lyrics. The music is tight and well written so I can’t complain. However, I wish they would have tried something a little different rather than give us the scraps of what probably didn’t make the cut on The Quantum Enigma or The Holographic Principle. As most of the songs sound like they could have been ripped straight off of one of them. None of the songs are bad by any stretch of the imagination and maybe these songs are different in theme. So yeah giving their own EP makes sense on that front but they could have used this as a platform to try something new.

I’m trying so hard not to make it sound like I don’t like this EP, I do. I really do. There’s some fantastic tunes and well written songs here. However, I’m one of these people that like artists to at least try something different on every release. Yet, after 15 years maybe they just know their market and know how to make the most out of their audience. As for my final thoughts on this EP… It’s good and let’s face it, if you’re an Epica fan… you’ve already bought it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Forbidden Lore – Forbidden Lore EP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 6th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Forbidden Lore
Forbidden Lore EP
Released 13th October 2016
Symphonic Metal
Self-Released


‘Forbidden Lore’ is the first EP from the Greek symphonic metal band of the same name. Forbidden Lore describe their style since as a mixture of symphonic metal with progressive metal and soundtrack music.

There are only three tracks on here, which is just about enough for the listener to get an idea of what this band is all about. First up is the melodic Endless Run which definitely has that fantasy soundtrack feel to it. Nightwish and Epica comparisons are pretty much inevitable due to the melodic female vocals (please note that “melodic” in this case doesn’t mean “operatic”). Luckily Georgia Mavrantza has a good voice which suits the music. There are some progressive elements audible in the guitars. Shadows on Ice is a much more straightforward piece of symphonic metal with equal emphasis on both the vocals and the orchestration. There is only a small portion of the song that features the progressive guitar parts. Last one is Grace In Our Fall, which really brings out the high notes in the vocal department demonstrating the singer’s impressive range. This is probably the most symphonic, orchestral and the most fantasy soundtrack -esque song on the EP.

In summary, it’s difficult to judge a band based on just three tracks. I now have a better understanding of what Forbidden Lore are trying to be. Their music can be described as being metal in the same vein as the more established bands Epica and Nightwish. So if you like these then there is a very good chance that you will enjoy Forbidden Lore.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Liv Kristine: “I’d love to further cooperate with Simone”

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 9th January 2016 by Nico Davidson

Nico interviewed Liv Kristine, the charismatic and Valkyrie-like frontwoman of Leaves’ Eyes in Sheffield on their UK tour, in support of the new album King of Kings.

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you?

Liv: Very good, how are you?

N: I’m great, thanks.

L: Good to see you again.

N: Good to see you too. How has the tour gone so far?

L: Really really well. We’re on the UK leg of the tour now and we have one third of the tour still to play. That’s going to be for the UK only. The first leg was for the rest of Europe which was really nice too. Paris: awesome, Belgium: awesome. But the UK is always something special, we have a very big and strong fan base here. We have fans and friends who follow us for every gig and that’s a privilege. I see that the market for our kind of music is growing here, and that’s maybe not the case in Germany. So it’s very good to be back, we’ve already played three gigs and it has been absolutely fantastic.

N: You’ve released a new album recently: King of Kings – which you’ve based on Harald Fairhair. Obviously Scandinavian history, old Norse history in general, is full of fascinating characters like Eirik Bloodaxe.

L: That’s one of Harald’s sons. You’ll find him in the first or second bonus track, it’s called Trail of Blood. That’s a song about him. So who knows what the next Leaves’ Eyes album is going to be about. We know that Harald had many sons and daughters.

N: There are so many other characters like Erik the Red or Leif Erikson. What is it about Harald Fairhair that stood out from the rest of all these great characters and infamous villains? What made you want to do an album based on his life and his legacy?

L: Because I grew up with the legacy of Harald Fairhair. The decisive battle that made him become the king of Norway took place in a fjord called Hafrsfjord, which is my birthplace. So Harald Fairhair has always been there. I’ve always been interested in history and it happened exactly two years ago, over a morning cup of coffee that Alex came up with this idea: what about king of kings? I started digging through all my books and I contacted my mother in Norway to collect stuff at museums and libraries. So it has been amazing to study Harald Fairhair’s life and to divide it into twelve chapters. Parallel to my studies, Alex and Thorsten composed songs at the studio. We’ve been very busy, it has been a very intense process but highly creative. We had so much fun and it means a lot to me to have this album released. It’s definitely a milestone in the career of Leaves’ Eyes. And as I said, it happened at my birthplace so.

N: I highly praised the album for Valkyrian Music..

L: Thank you very much! I read it, of course.

N:Good! Obviously it’s brilliant to see that you guys got back to how you originally started with tales of Viking warriors, going forth into battle, exploring lands and so on. How would you say that King of Kings compares to the rest of the Leaves’ Eyes discography?

L: I’d say King of Kings has a connection to The Vinland Saga, which was thematically about Leif Erikson and his discovery of America. So if there is a link to any other album, I’d say The Vinland Saga. You already mentioned the folky instruments and the folky touch and the orchestra and everything so it has been there all the time but every album has been different. Now King of Kings happened, it was great to see how everything came together. We worked on every song as if it were one individual piece of music. We added any instrument from London Voices to White Russian Orchestra, cello, flutes…everything. We worked on every song until all three of us, Thorsten, Alex and I being perfectionists, said okay let’s go for the mix, its fine.

N: On this album you added Simone Simons from Epica and Lindy-Fay Hella from Wardruna. What was it like working with those two women on the two tracks that they featured on?

L: Absolutely amazing. Of course I know of the series Vikings and I just thought the music is amazing, the soundtrack is amazing! Who is that girl singing? I found out she’s from Bergen! Through a common friend of mine and of Wardruna, I got Lindy-Fay‘s contacts. I contacted her and she said “of course, I know you and I would really like to work with you”. So I sent her Blazing Waters and we were blown away. A couple of weeks later I flew to Bergen and met Lindy-Fay. I presented her Blazing Waters and she loved it, it was definitely golden. She’s a lovely girl and a great musician.

Simone lives one hour away from us so it was about time to invite her to come to our studio. She’s been at our place before but it has been quite a while. She’s a mother now so she’s busy, but she came by and she listened to the song and…I’d say we are a perfect match. Lovely, lovely to work with her.

N: Obviously Epica and Leaves’ Eyes, despite falling into the symphonic metal genre, have got two completely distinct styles. Do you think there will be any sort of crossover between from the recent collaboration between you and Simone?

L: I don’t know. I have no clue, we’ll see. I love Simone and her work, she’s a lovely girl and we are both mothers… We live one hour away from each other so who knows. I’d love to further cooperate with Simone. It would be great.

N: Going back to Harald Fairhair. You obviously studied his saga, his life story quite extensively for the album. What would you say is the most fascinating aspect about the man?

L: We got a few facts about Harald through Snorri, but Snorri came about a couple of hundred years later. Next to that we got the sagas and the tales of the Norwegian kings, where you can find a lot of interesting written words about them to honor them. I think it is absolutely amazing to read the different approaches to his person, because he must have been exactly as unruly, wild like his son Eirik Bloodaxe. He must have been exactly like that himself. In many of the tales or poems about Harald it is told that he was beautiful and that he could have had any woman: he was very glorious. It’s fascinating to read other stories like the battle of Hafrsfjord; about blood being everywhere and the fjord burning or different sceneries, a different Harald.

N: He certainly sounds like an interesting figure. As a fan of both Vikings and Game of Thrones, which one do you prefer?

L: Vikings. Last time it would have been Game of Thrones but it’s Vikings now because of the music. Of course because of my friend Lindy-Fay who’s in there. Although it’s made in Hollywood, I think it’s very nice. It’s very nice to watch those great actors. I love it. And also because I’m Norwegian.

N: That’s very good. Thank you for your time. Have a lovely show tonight.

L: You’re welcome, thank you very much and thanks for coming.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de 

Leaves’ Eyes – King of Kings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 29th September 2015 by Nico Davidson

Leaves’ Eyes
King of Kings
Symphonic Metal/Gothic Metal
Released: September 2015
via AFM Records

If you call yourself a symphonic metal fan and you’ve never come across Leaves’ Eyes, then clearly, you live under a rock. Formed by former Theatre of Tragedy vocalist Liv Kristine, Leaves’ Eyes have become an established act known for their fusing of folky elements, crestfallen symphonies and straight up metal. Following their arrival at AFM Records, King of Kings became one of the most anticipated albums within the symphonic metal genre this year.

Sweven opens up the track with an almost mournful composition that clearly shows traditional elements of Norse music. The soaring vocals of frontwoman Liv add to the mourning emotion of the song. The title track, King of Kings, marches with a regal use of orchestral compositions, that bolster the ranks of the song while the differing use of vocals – choir, Alexander’s and Liv’s – make the song ever more enchanting.

Halvdan the Black lunges forward with a tragic sounding choir and the rune-binding voice of Liv. Alexander’s bestial voice adds a fierce, war-like edge to the song, joining the antagonistic riffs and narrative symphonies. The Waking Eye dances ever so gently with its alluring concoction of different elements, each note more winsome than the last and the vocals sound so sirenic during this track.

Feast of the Year acts as a good-natured interval before the more Celtic-orientated waltz that is Vengeance Venom enters the ballroom. The Celtic-styled melodies bring an upbeat atmosphere to the album while the lyrics, poetically sang, appear to be of a darker nature. Sacred Vow has all the makings of a heroic piece: A powerful story involving the love of a fair maiden, a war between clans and awe-inspiring music. Everything just seems to fall together, as though this song was meant to be.

Leaves’ Eyes have been known to have guest appearances on their albums in the past, so it comes as no surprise that Edge of Steel features none other than Epica vocalist Simone Simons. The track comes across as an anthem of war, one to be sung by Nordic warriors as they charge into fray armed only with an axe and shield. The orchestral aspects of the song sound quite lion-hearted, adding renewed vigor to the vocals and potency to the already snarling guitars. Simone’s saintly voice cuts through the track like a knife through butter – The duet between herself and Liv Kristine is better than imagined.

Haraldskvædi – which appears to be based on the Old Norse poem Hrafnsmal (Raven’s Song) – combines both English and Norwegian lyrics with eerie whispering, low-spirited vocals and traditional folk elements, with flows smoothly from the previous track and into the next song. Blazing Waters also features a special guest, Lindy-Fay Hella, who is best known for her work with Wardruna.  The song begins with the alluring sounds of traditional folk instrumentation and hypnotic vocal lines before the guitars and drums jump forward, roaring like Fenrir at Ragnarok. The contrast of three vocalists with the differing elements of folk and metal really shows the adaptability of Leaves’ Eyes both in talent and sound.

The album finishes with Swords In Rock, another song that makes a powerful use of Celtic-inspired medleys. The pace and feel of the song makes the listener want to jump up and start dancing some sort of Irish jig, while guzzling whiskey or something of the like from a horn. A fine way to finish the album.

With King of Kings, Leaves’ Eyes appear to have gone back to their earlier roots – not just with the Viking inspired lyrics but the folk influences as well though there are a lot of new aspects for the band found in the album as well. King of Kings is a testament to the continuing saga of Leaves’ Eyes as well as their talent and adaptability, clearly they’re a band that won’t stay within the borders of their safe zone when there are new musical lands to be discovered and conquered by these fine warriors.

5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial
http://twitter.com/leaves_eyes

Epica announce Calgary show

Posted in News with tags , , on 28th June 2015 by Nico Davidson

Dutch metal titans Epica have announced their first show in Calgary in five years. The event will take place on 20th September at MacEwan Hall with support from Eluveitie and special guests The Agonist. Tickets are available from this location.

Epica online
http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

Epica announce small run of UK shows

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 22nd April 2015 by Nico Davidson

The Dutch titans of symphonic metal, Epica, have announced that they will return to the UK in November for a small run of shows. The UK tour will be in support of the band’s most recent masterpiece, The Quantum Enigma, which saw a change of style for the band which modernised their sound while sticking to their roots in symphonic metal. Epica’s mainman, guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen comments:

We had such a great time when we played an one-off UK show at The Forum last year that we will come back for a short run of UK dates this autumn. We will be joined on this run by Eluveitie and Scar Symmetry. I am very pleased to tour with this strong package. I’m sure you all won’t regret coming out to one of these shows and partying with us. See you!!!

Support comes from 2 Nuclear Blast label mates. Switzerland’s Eluveitie released a new album last year, the Celtic Folk influenced ‘Origins’, which they performed at a string of sold-out UK dates last Autumn. Swedish melodic Death Metal band Scar Symmetry complete the bill, performing their first UK dates since the release of their new album ‘The Singularity Phase I: Neohumanity’ , also released in 2014.

Tour dates are as follow:

11-11-2015 UK-Bristol O2 Academy
12-11-2015 UK-Manchester Ritz
14-11-2015 UK-Glasgow Garage
15-11-2015 UK-London Forum

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebookc.com/epica
http://twitter.com/_epica

Vagos Open Air 2014 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th August 2014 by Pieni

Kreator, Epica, Soilwork, Sylosis, Kandia, Gates Of Hell
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
8th August 2014

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This year’s edition of Vagos Open Air was bigger in every sense of the word – it lasted one day longer than usual, it had more people coming in, and it had also the greatest bill so far. Kudos for promoters Prime Artists!

National Gates Of Hell must feel proud, and not just for kicking the festival off: it’s not easy for an underground band to gather so many people on a hot Friday, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, but they made it! There was a sea of people like there’s never been for an opening band, in all the 6-year history of the festival! Of course they’ve been working hard for it in the last few years, especially since the release of their debut album, playing all over the country and winning fans with their ballistic live shows. But it still was a wonderful surprise to see such a crowd screaming and moshing for them. And the size of the wall of death on the last song, “Critical Obsession”! Singer Raça thanked everyone – both fans/friends and those who were watching them for the first time – but truth be told, they wouldn’t have got that response if they weren’t just as good. The credit is all yours, boys! Keep it up! (5/5)

Gates Of Hell official facebook

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Things cooled down a bit, but only in terms of “brutality” – Kandia is a modern/alternative rock band, so no mosh pits for them. But that doesn’t mean that their show was less electrifying. It was just a different kind of voltage. Especially singer Nya Cruz, who looked totally at home on stage. They’ve released two albums so far, but neglected the first one completely, focusing just on the latest “All Is Gone”. Last year, they won the international music contest Global Rockstar with one song from that album, “Scars”. “We’re not going away, we’re here to stay!” was the introduction to that song, as its first verse reads “I’m here to stay”. But more than an introduction, it’s a statement, a motto – and the grip they had on this gig is proof that they will stick to it. (4,5/5)

Kandia official facebook

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It was the first time Sylosis were playing in Portugal (after pulling out of the Epic Industrialist Tour, in 2012) and Josh Middleton admitted they weren’t expecting such a reception. The crowd was happy to finally experience live songs such as “All Is Not Well” and “The Blackest Skyline”, so the circles began spinning once again, at full force. And when Josh asked for TWO circles – one at the left, one at the right – they were eager to comply (same as the headbanging to the sound of nothing, but that’s been done before by other artists – the two circles, now that was new). At some point Josh said that this was the last gig of Rob (Callard, drummer), since he would be pursuing a career as a singer… in a Mariah Carey cover band. Such talented musicians and so humorous… no wonder no one cared about the “little” fail of asking if we were ready for Kreator while playing a riff from Slayer’s “Raining Blood”… (5/5)

Sylosis official facebook

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It had been 11 years since I’d last seen Soilwork – which was the last time they’d played in Portugal. So I don’t know if it’s usual for them to use The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” as intro, but for me, it was a really nice surprise. And it links so well to “This Momentary Bliss”, the first song of their set! A set that I confess was hoping to be a bit more diverse, given the years of absence from the Portuguese stages. But their latest album is a magnificent double piece, so it’s only natural they wanted to focus on the killers of “The Living Infinite”. Still they went back a couple of times – “The Average Stalker”, “Bastard Chain”… –, closing with a golden key with “Stabbing The Drama” (“I think you know the chorus to this one”, said Mr. Björn Strid). The circles weren’t as constant as in the previous band but only because Soilwork’s sound doesn’t require so – there’s a reason why it’s called “melodic” death metal. In terms of intensity, they were just as “crazy and wild” (to use Strid’s own words). (5/5)

Soilwork official facebook

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There were LOADS of Epica fans in Vagos, so whoever thought it was a mistake to invite them again (they performed at the first edition of the fest) couldn’t be more wrong. Simone Simons’ voice was better than the last time I’ve seen them, in the “Requiem For The Indifferent” tour, but still a bit “shaky” here and there. The most blatant case was “Cry For The Moon”, where her voice was smothered by the choir backtracks and not because something failed with her mic. It’s just that female voices also change with time and it’s been 10 years since Simone first recorded that song. Maybe that’s why she took the chance to introduce the band, singing the names and their instruments instead of the original lyrics. Nice trick! But no one seemed to care anyway, as the strong and positive attitude of the whole band made those flaws look like small details.
They played a few songs from the latest album, “The Quantum Enigma” – including the first three tracks plus the new hit “Unchain Utopia”, but Simone said they would be back in November, in a promotional tour for this album. The crowd was thrilled to hear that. (4,5/5)

Epica official facebook

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Okay, it’s true that a Kreator gig is always a Kreator gig, and even when they’re bad, they’re still pretty good. But sometimes they’re REALLY awesome – like this time! From “Mars Mantra / Phantom Antichrist” to “Flag Of Hate / Tormentor”, Mille Petrozza got some of the best “Portuguese circle pits” that he kept asking for – having played here so many times before, he knew what he was talking about when he specified the nationality, giving them an unique identity. But with such a performance it was hard not to raise hell – the stage wasn’t big enough for their fire show, but the human heat made up for it.
For the encore, and the aforementioned medley of “Flag Of Hate” and “Tormentor”, Petrozza got on stage holding a flag, saying that when they released that album (“Endless Pain”), back in 1985, Michael Jackson was still alive. The rest of the band played a few chords from “Billie Jean” and the crowd roared. But the roar was much louder when he talked about the album that Judas Priest released five years later, as its title was the opposite of “Endless Pain”“Painkiller”, with the main riff of its title-track echoing. The true explosion came, of course, when Petrozza stopped talking and the medley itself began. (5/5)

Kreator official facebook

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Nevel a dull moment on this first day – except for the background music between songs, which was literally the same over and over. The metal DJs that took the graveyard shift should have been hired for the day as well…

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.

Dragonforce announced to co-headline with Epica at London show in December

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 25th June 2014 by Nico Davidson

UK power metal heroes Dragonforce have been announced to co-headline with Epica at their only UK show in London later this year. The show will take place at The Forum in London on 6th December. Fans are advised to grab their tickets quickly as demand for this double bill will be high. Tickets are on sale now via SeeTickets.com.

In related Dragonforce news, the band also unveiled their new video for  The Game last week. The video can be viewed below.

Dragonforce online:

http://www.dragonforce.com/
http://www.facebook.com/dragonforce

Epica announce one-off UK show as part of European tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd April 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metallers Epica are set to embark on the first leg of their European tour in Winter this year, in support of their upcoming album, The Quantum Enigma which is set for release on 5th May 2014. The new album will be released via Nuclear Blast. Frontwoman Simone Simons comments:

After a little break from touring, we can’t wait to be on stage again and perform the new songs along with the old. Europe here we come!

As part of the European tour, the band will be hitting The Forum in London for a one-off UK show this year! Tickets are available from this location. Dagoba are the support act on the European tour.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/EPICA
http://twitter.com/EPICA
http://YouTube.com/EPICA
http://instagram.com/EPICAOFFICIAL

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Valkyrian Festival announces two more bands

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 10th April 2014 by Nico Davidson

Valkyrian Festival, which is in aid of Rape Crisis, has another three brilliant bands to this year’s bill. This year’s Valkyrian Festival already boasts a number of talented bands from both the UK and Europe, including Scottish black metal royalty Cnoc An Tursa, as well as Scarborough-based instrumental progressive death outfit Bharghest, as well as the more symphonic sounding Aonia, Azylya and Divided We Fall alongside the thrashtastic Reign of Fury and Dutch powerhouse Ex Libris, who boast Xandria’s new vocalist Dianne Van Giersbergen amongst their ranks.

Added to the final day of the festival are Spanish gothic metallers Tears Of Martyr. Having started as a doom metal band, the band’s sound soon developed in something darker featuring a lot of the key elements found in their music now. Tears Of Martyr have in the past opened for the likes of Epica, Draconian and Dark Tranquillity. Their next album, Tales, is set for release on 26th April 2014 through Massacre Records.

Announced alongside Tears Of Martyr are the festival’s special guests for this year Kent-based rabid thrash/death metallers Wretched Soul. Hailed as “a rising star in the underground thrash metal scene” by Musicosis, the quartet are a fine addition to the festival. The band comment:

Wretched Soul are very excited to be performing at Valkyrian Festival 2014 and to once again be sharing a festival stage with our good friends, Reign of Fury, alongside Bharghest and so many other great bands. Good cause, great crowd. It’s cool to be playing Bridlington again as well, which is one of the most metal towns we’ve played so far! See you there!

The full line-up for Valkyrian Festival 2014 is as follows:

Fri. 21st November
CNOC AN TURSA (Headliner) – Bharghest (Main Support) – Drekavac – Exile The Traitor – Crooked Lizard (Opener)

Sat. 22nd November
AZYLYA (Headliner) – Sakara (Main Support) – Sorronia – Northern Oak – Badge – Chemikill – Mørktår – Divided We Fall – Clunge Hammer

Sun. 23rd November
EX LIBRIS (Headliner) – Reign of Fury (Main Support) – Wretched Soul – Aonia – Alice In Thunderland – Tears of Martyr – Avalon – Synchronix

Valkyrian Festival 2014 is in aid of Rape Crisis and will take place at Basement (formerly Shades Nightclub) in Bridlington from 21st – 23rd November. Weekend tickets are priced at £15 and are available for pre-order from http://vmevents.bigcartel.com. Day tickets are also available at the follow prices: £7 (Friday) – £12.50 (Saturday/Sunday).

Valkyrian Festival is sponsored by The Crypt of Curiosities and Black Phoenix Rising Metal Forums. For further details, head over to the official Valkyrian Festival Facebook page.

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Epica – The Essence Of Silence [Single]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Epica
The Essence Of Silence
Released March 2014
Symphonic Progressive Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

Formed by former After Forever guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen, Epica have been dominating the symphonic metal scene for the last decade. With six studio albums under their belt already, Epica have been busy recording the seventh album which is set to kick start a new decade for the band. The Essence Of Silence is the first single to be released from The Quantum Enigma, which is set for release in May.

Beginning with a mystifying strings and piano arrangement, the song soon throws the listener into a maelstrom of heavy riffs and Mark’s terrifying vocals and Simone’s more tragic yet angelic voice. The choir adds a new depth to the song, sewing the other elements together. The guitar passages, as performed by Mark and Isaac, exceed the strength and heaviness of previous Epica elements, showing a definite evolution in the band’s sound since Requiem For The Indifferent. The rhythm section, made up of Rob van der Loo on bass and Ariën van Weesenbeek on drums, lay down a strong foundation for the song while Coen’s keyboard medleys sprinkle the track with the typical dramatic flavourings found in Epica’s music.

The Essence Of Silence is only a small glimpse into what awaits on the new album but it shows a distinctly positive change in the band’s sound. If the rest of the album is anything like this track, then it’ll no doubt be a masterpiece.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

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Epica release first single from The Quantum Enigma

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica have released the first single, The Essence Of Slience, from their upcoming album The Quantum Enigma which is set for release through Nuclear Blast in May this year. The album is set to be a turning point for Epica, beginning a new decade of symphonic metal and a new modern sound for the band.

The new single, The Essence Of Silence, can be ordered from this location or over at iTunes. The single is also available on other online platforms such as Spotify and Deezer. The new single can also be heard below.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

 

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Epica release second part of The Quantum Enigma documentary online

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 7th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica have released the second part of their documentary online, which shows the behind the scenes aspects of the recording process for their new album The Quantum Enigma. Like the first part, the video includes music from the new album, allowing fans to have a sneak peek of the album ahead of its release in May. The trailer can be viewed down below.

The Quantum Enigma will be the turning point in a new decade for Epica, taking on a new sound: One that is modern, heavier and without compromises and will show why Epica are one of the leading bands in the symphonic metal genre. Keyboardist Coen Janssen comments:

We believe that The Quantum Enigma is the album that will take us to the next level! The reactions from the fans on the first part of this documentary strengthens this belief even more!

Epica recorded The Quantum Enigma with producer Joost van den Broek (ReVamp, After Forever) at the Sandlane Recording Facilities in The Netherlands. The album has been mixed by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Hatesphere) and features artwork by longtime collaborator Stephan Heilemann.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica
http://twitter.com/_epica

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Epica launch studio documentary, first episode online

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 3rd March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica, who are fronted by the stunningly talented Simone Simons, have launched the first episode of their studio documentary online. The documentary gives a behind the scenes look at the recording process for the band’s sixth studio album The Quantum Enigma. It also gives fans a preview of the album ahead of its release. The first episode can be viewed down below.

The band recorded The Quantum Enigma together with upcoming producer Joost van den Broek at the Sandlane Recording Facilities in the Netherlands. The album has been mixed by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Hatesphere).

Whereas the 2013 Retrospect performance reflected on a decade of Epica as one of the leading bands in the symphonic metal scene, the upcoming sixth studio album The Quantum Enigma marks the beginning of a new Epica: modern, heavy and without compromises. Guitar player Isaac Delahaye commented:

The whole process of writing and recording TQE was extremely refreshing for us. Instead of preparing the album in our home studios separately, we rehearsed the songs together in the studio. Just like any other band, you could say, but as Epica is located in 3 different countries this is a little more complicated for us. The direct interaction between us has certainly lifted up the quality of the songs, as no detail was left unspoken. Definitely worth taking some time off from touring! As far as songwriting goes, the main focus was groove and melody.

The Quantum Enigma will be released on 2nd May (Europe), 5th May (UK) and 13th May (USA) through Nuclear Blast.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

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MaYaN reveal lyric video for Human Sacrifice

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 5th February 2014 by Nico Davidson

Hot on the trail of their latest release Antagonise, Dutch symphonic death metallers, MaYaN, whom are fronted by Epica guitarist and songwriter Mark Jansen, have unveiled the lyric video for Human Sacrifice. The video can be viewed below.

MaYaN online:

http://mayanofficial.com
http://facebook.com/mayanband

 

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Ex Libris – Medea

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 13th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

Ex Libris
Medea
Released 18th January 2014
Progressive Metal/Symphonic Metal
Self-Released

Holland has become a country known for its female-fronted talent, such as Within Temptation, ReVamp, Epica and Delain, so it won’t come as a surprise to many when I say that’s the country that progressive powerhouse Ex Libris hail from. Having played as support to a few of the above mentioned bands, Ex Libris, who are fronted by the talented Dianne van Giersbergen, are slowly building a reputation for themselves on the international metal scene for their unique and bombastic sound sound. Whilst Medea is their second album, the band have achieved a lot more than most bands have.

Named after the Medea of Greek mythology, the album is kick started by the title track, Medea, which is a raging storm composed of swaying guitar passages and crashing waves of percussion, lined with vocals sharp enough the cut Mount Olympus in two. The lashings of orchestration help add to the tragic and dramatic character of the song. Sailing from the seas of the tragic Medea into the fearsome ocean that is Murderess In Me, the album’s atmosphere morphs into something more sinister, allowing for the music to become more cut-throat whilst retaining its classical and mythic vibe. The riffs have a sharper edge than the previous track, allowing for Dianne’s vocals to glide swiftly over the ocean of the music without hindrance.

On The Ocean’s Command begins with the soothing sound of the sea and the creaking wood abroad a ship as the climatic use of guitars, courtesy of Paul, make themselves heard before the vivid keyboards, as supplied by Koen, make their striking entrance. The song builds itself up into a tense masterpiece, tightly knitting each element of the song together. Dianne’s vocal work is particularly impressive during this track, changing like the winds, expectedly and unexpectedly. The following song, My Dream I Dream, focuses more on the emotion than the dramatics, allowing for a vast river of feeling to flow through each aspect of the track. Peter’s basswork sound more profound, making itself known from beginning to end, especially in sudden thrilling and heavy portion of the track, colliding smoothly with Eeclo’s clear-cut and strict drumming.

Song Of Discord marches in like a column of hoplites on their way to war. There is a powerful and harrowing atmosphere conjured up throughout the song, giving the music more punch than would be expected. The vocal duet of Dianne van Giersbergen and Damien Wilson opened up new possibilities for this song, not just vocally but throughout its performance in which the two vocalists play the parts of Medea and her husband, the hero Jason. It will be interesting to see how Ex Libris can pull this one off live. A Mother’s Lament begins straight away with a hook, grabbing attention from every angle and refusing to let go. The guitars and rhythm sections hammer away, fortifying the song whilst the vocals and keyboards add the glitz and the glam to the song, keeping it from becoming a dull affair.

Daughter Of Corinth sees another drastic change in the pace and sound of Medea, turning into a fearsome hydra of progressive riffs, eerie vocals and hypnotic drum passages while other aspects of the song are more shadowy, keeping withdrawn like a Gorgon hunting their victim. A Tale Told makes use of other elements but remains true to Ex Libris’ overall sound as well before the album moves onto the ten minute and fifty second long epic From Birth To Bloodshed which like some of the previous tracks paves way for a drastic change in the album. The riffs during this track are callous, leaving no room for mercy whilst the vocals are at their pinnacle, adding emphasis to the rest of the song. The instrumentation throughout the song take sup the spirit of the ocean, changing from the violent crashing of waves to gentler sailing.

Ex Libris have a knack for writing good music and Medea takes you down more twists and turns than the Labyrinth, keeping focus on the music as new life is breathed into Medea’s impressively tragic story by one talented band.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Ex Libris online:

http://exlibrismusic.com
http://facebook.com/exlibrismusic

 

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Merel Bechtold announced as successor to Isaac Delahaye in MaYaN

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 16th December 2013 by Nico Davidson

Death metal supergroup MaYaN, which features the likes of Mark Jansen (Epica) and Henning Basse (Sons Of Seasons), have announced Merel Bechtold (Purest Of Pain) as the successor to Isaac Delahaye who left the band earlier this year. Merel will make her debut with the band in January at the Antagonise release shows. Antagonise will be released on 31st January in Europe, 3rd February in UK and 4th February in the US. The full video announcement can be viewed below:

MaYaN online:

http://facebook.com/mayanband

 

Epica unveil live clip of Martyr of the Free World; taken from new live DVD Retrospect

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 27th November 2013 by Nico Davidson

23rd March this year saw Dutch symphonic titans Epica celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band with a special concert known as Retrospect. Accompanying the band on stage for the 3 hour show was the seventy piece Extended Reményi Ede Chamber Orchestra and the Miskolc National Theatre Choir. The event was filmed for the band’s new live DVD, also known as Retrospect. The band have posted the live clip of Martyr of the Free World (Taken from their Design Your Universe album) from the DVD online. Watch the clip below:

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

 

Sorronia announced as support on Spanish leg of Xandria tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Hungarian symphonic metallers Sorronia have been announced as support on the Spanish leg of Xandria‘s Neverworld’s End tour next month. Sorronia will also be introducing their new album Words Of Silence, which was released 28th October via Bakerteam Records, to the live scene, making the Spanish tour the first European shows where songs from the new album can be heard live for the first time.

Sorronia online:

http://www.facebook.com/SorroniaOfficial
http://twitter.com/SorroniaBand

Epica post live track “Unleashed” from upcoming DVD “Retrospect”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 12th October 2013 by Pieni

 photo epica_dvd_copy_zpseabfbcb1.jpg

In anticipation of their upcoming anniversary DVD “Retrospect” (details here), Dutch symphonic metal stars Epica have just released a video from it. The track is “Unleashed”, of which guitarist Isaac Delahaye says: “We hope you enjoy watching this first Retrospect song. ‘Unleashed’ is just a killer live track, and it contains all the Epica elements you’re looking for. I still enjoy playing it night after night and it keeps my headbanging skills sharp!”

Epica online:
http://www.epica.nl
www.facebook.com/epica
www.nulcearblast.de/epica