Archive for Simone Simons

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

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 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

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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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 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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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

 

Epica announces Dutch album release show

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 12th September 2013 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica will be returning to the stage on 30th April next year at 013 in Tilburg, Holland for what can only be described as an intense album release show. After taking a break from the live circuit following the pregnancy of frontwoman Simone Simons, the publication of the band’s upcoming live DVD Retrospect in November via Nuclear Blast and writing and recording the new upcoming album, the Dutch sextet will come back will full momentum and full power; so fans can expect Epica at their best and to put on a memorable show to feature old and new tracks alike.

the band are currently finishing off the pre-production stage of the follow-up to 2012’s Requiem For The Indifferent and shall begin recording in October with former After Forever and current Aryeon keyboardist Joost van den Broek (Stream Of PassionReVamp) as producer.

To make the release show at their native even more special, fans will not only be able to purchase regular tickets, but there will be two exclusive bundles available for this event. The first bundle contains a signed version of the upcoming album and the second larger bundle will consist of a goodie bag, containing a signed copy of the upcoming album, an exclusive T-shirt, Flag, Lanyard, VIP Laminate and a limited edition Poster.

Tickets and bundles will be available for sale this coming Saturday (14th September) at 10am CET (9am GMT) from this location.

There will be a special ‘early bird’ tickets available at reduced price. This offer is valid until 28th September 2013.

On the 8th November Nuclear Blast will release Retrospect as a deluxe hardcover book with 48 pages. Both as a 2DVD/3CD and 2Blu-ray/3CD version.

Epica online:

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

 

Epica to release Retrospect 10th Anniversary DVD later this year

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 28th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic titans Epica, who were founded by former After Forever guitarist Mark Jansen, will release Retrospect – their 10th anniversary concert which was filmed and recorded earlier this year – as a deluxe hardcover book with 48 pages. Both will be released as 2 DVD/3 CD and 2 Blu-Ray/3 CD versions. Retrospect will be released via Nuclear Blast on 8th November and will contain the following fan favourites:

  • 01 – Introspect
  • 02 – Monopoly on Truth
  • 03 – Sensorium
  • 04 – Unleashed
  • 05 – Martyr of the Free Word
  • 06 – Chasing the Dragon
  • 07 – Presto
  • 08 – Never Enough
  • 09 – Stabat Mater Dolorosa
  • 10 – Twin Flames
  • 11 – Serenade of Self-Destruction
  • 12 – Orchestral Medley
  • 13 – The Divine Conspiracy – Anniversary Edition
  • 14 – Delirium
  • 15 – Blank Infinity
  • 16 – The Obsessive Devotion
  • 17 – Retrospect
  • 18 – Battle of the Heroes & Imperial March
  • 19 – Quietus
  • 20 – The Phantom Agony
  • 21 – Cry for the Moon
  • 22 – Sancta Terra
  • 23 – Design Your Universe
  • 24 – Storm the Sorrow
  • 25 – Consign to Oblivion
  • 26 – Outrospect

Retrospect features this massive performance in its entirety, as well as exclusive interviews with all band members and behind-the-scenes footage from the show.

Epica online:

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

MaYaN – Quarterpast [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 3rd June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: MaYaN
Album: Quarterpast
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Death Metal/Progressive Metal

Dutch symphonic death metal sextet is the latest project by Epica guitarist Mark Jansen.  Their debut album is “Quarterpast” which features some well known names from the European Metal scene including Simone Simons [Epica], Floor Jansen [ReVamp, ex-After Forever] and Henning Basse [Sons of Seasons]. The subtitle for the album is “Symphonic Death Metal Opera” which promises a brilliant story behind the songs.

The album begins with “Symphony Of Aggression” which already hints at pure death metal styled brutality. The intro riff pulls no punches, bringing a heavy barrage of double bass drum and distorted, skull-crushing guitars. The introduction of Mark’s grunts completes the track. The symphonic sections add a certain calm to the storm that is “Symphony Of Aggression” whilst the whispered section brings a touch of eeriness to the track. The most shocking thing about this track is the use of Simone’s vocals soon into the album, however, it doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the musicianship or composition of the track. “Symphony Of Aggression” is perhaps one of the best opening tracks ever to have been written and recorded.

The second track, “Mainstray Of Society – In The Eyes Of The Law Corruption”, begins where the previous track finished, bringing melodic riffs to the album rather than beasty riffs. Mark’s grunts work well with the symphonic and guitar sections. The highlight of this track would definitely have to be the drums and vocals. The album soon takes a turn into a more gentle track which takes its name from the album title “Quarterpast”. The track is a Gothic-sounding orchestral track, which unfortunately doesn’t last too long.

“Course Of Life” bombards its way on to the album next, starting with a heavy and aggressive yet melodic and beautiful guitar riff mixed with some intelligent drum work. Henning’s vocals are the first ones to be heard on this track and they are as strong as ever, bringing a whole new sound to the album. Mark’s grunts and Simone’s and Floor’s vocals work well as backing vocals on this track, though the track could have been better with some more vocals from Mark. The symphonic sections, like the first two tracks, work well with the guitars and drums, adding a tragic sound to the track. The track finishes with a very tense and dramatic symphonic outro. “The Savage Massacre – In The Eyes Of Law Pizzo” is the fifth track. Its intro is composed of ear-splitting riffs, melancholy symphonic sections and heavy drums. Mark’s grunts seem to have become more aggressive and angry-sounding for this track. The guitars also seem to have become more heavy, whilst some of the symphonic sections sound repetitive of the previous tracks. The soft section half way through, composed of people talking with strong operatic vocals singing over them adds mystique to the track before the heavy onslaught of riffs, drums and grunts returns.

“Essenza Di Te” is one of the more softer tracks on the album,  featuring vocals from up-and-coming opera star Laura Macri. This track is beautiful composed, featuring a lot of classical-styled music mixed with very strong vocals which bring a very touching essence to the album. “Essenza Di Te” leads into the aggressive and melodic intro of “Bite The Bullet”. This track has more of a power metal sound to it, in terms of the music and the vocals of Henning add to the power metal sound. Mark’s grunts can be heard a fair bit on this track as well, which brings that needed death metal element. The guitar solo on this track is the best one on the album. The next track is “Drown The Demon”, which is more of a ballad-styled song. It begins with a dark symphonic intro which brings about a very tense musical atmosphere. The guitars soon follow, while not as heavy as previous tracks, they still pack a punch combined with the drums and bass. The combination of Mark’s grunts and Floor’s vocals are reminiscent of After Forever, however this track is far from been an After Forever track. The guitars work beautifully with the symphonic sections. In fact, the guitar riffs are almost hypnotically catchy. The guitar solo is epic and the voice over just after it brings a whole new level to the track.

“Celibate Aphrodite” brings the aggression back to the album with a thrash-sounding intro riff. The piano sections that follow the intro add a very Gothic touch to the track, which works brilliantly with Mark’s grunts and the guitars. The voice over, followed by the female vocals is an astounding touch to the album, especially as it’s followed by a short but expertly played solo. A longer solo comes after another section of female vocals, adding a very aggressive sound to the track. This track is one of the best ones on the album. The orchestrated intro of “War On Terror – In The Eyes Of The Law Pentagon Papers” comes next, with a very Romanian gypsy sound before the brutal assault of guitars, drums and bass begins. This track seems more fast paced compared to the previous ones and Mark sounds as if he’s struggling to keep up with the music in some sections, which is the only flaw with this track. The symphonic sections would have to be the most impressive thing about this track, followed by the guitar riffs. “Tithe” is next, been composed of a piano medley which sounds a tad like the Harry Potter theme to begin with. This track is the last soft track of the album, bringing it with an eerie sound. The bonus track, “Sinner’s Last Retreat – Deed Of Awakening” comes blasting next, with a heavy intro combined with strong vocals. The orchestration seems to have become heavier, virtually matching the guitars and drums in brutality and aggression.

“Quarterpast” has proven itself to be a most impressive debut album. Mark Jansen has outdone himself with this album. Each track leaves the listener wanting more and with an array of big names from the European metal scene, it’s no wonder that this is a brilliant album. For those who are worried that this is going to be an “Epica-sounding album”, you need not worry. This album has more bite and aggression, a true jewel in today’s death metal scene.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Epica w/ ReVamp @ The Moho [Live Review]

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th March 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Epica, ReVamp
Location: The Moho, Manchester
Date: 13th March 2010

Anticipation hung in the air as the crowd eagerly awaited the start of the gig after a long wait for the doors to open. The venue was silent until the sounds of an orchestra boomed through the speakers mixed with the sounds of the drums. At that moment the crowd went wild. Most of ReVamp soon made their entrance onto the stage and began playing “Here’s My Hell”, which was soon followed by Floor’s strong vocals. Floor proved herself to be brilliant show-woman, encouraging louder and louder cheers from the crowd. “Fast Forward”, “Disdain” and “Head Up High” were the best performed songs of the night by ReVamp.

After a half-hour interval, it was Epica’s turn to take the stage.  “Samadhi” began booming out of the speakers as Epica began to make their way to stage. They soon began blasting their way through “Resign to Surrender” and “Sensorium”. The crowd reacted excitedly when the band began playing “Fools of Damnation” and their tribute to Star Wars in the form of “The Imperial March”. Time seemed to fly by extremely fast as Epica made their way through the setlist. At the end, the crowd began shouting for more from Epica, so they happily obliged, finishing off with “Sancta Terra” and “The Phantom Agony”. The highlight of the encore however was when Floor came up and sang “Sancta Terra” with Epica.

All in all, it was a brilliant and energetic gig which got the blood pumping. Anyone who hasn’t seen either Epica or ReVamp, you want to see them as soon as possible, it will be one of the best gigs you’ll ever go to.

Nico Davidson