The ongoing battle between Holland and Finland for the crown in symphonic metal has been going back and forth for years, and Epica has for years been the frontrunner amongst the Dutch contingent. After a couple of decent releases their trajectory has been straight for the zenith since their third album “The Divine Conspiracy” from 2007.
Their style has always been bombastic, aggressive and epic; multiple layers of sounds; a fusion of various and diverse influences raging from gothic metal, thrash metal, progressive metal thru power metal and death metal. And they’ve always worked with two contrasting vocalists: the beauty represented by the wonderful and angelic Simone Simons and the brutal beast represented by the aggressive and growling Mark Jansen.
“The Quantum Enigma” from 2014 was a fantastic album, so my expectations for their new album were naturally high, and they have all been met and exceeded! Epica has outdone themselves and has made another fantastic symphonic metal album; where everything has taken at least a step up the ladder.
The sound and the songs have all the trademarks we love from them. The contrasts between light and dark are stronger and more up-front, the angelic vocals from Simone are better than ever, the epic and symphonic parts are worked out to perfection and the whole thing just feels and sound more complete.
After a short intro that sets the pace for the following 70 minutes of whirling symphonic metal, where one great song follows another, only with a few resting moments, the album reaches it’s climax with the fantastic title-track, their perhaps most epic and best composition to date.
“The Holographic Principle” is the best symphonic metal album in years and a very tough act to follow. I love the powerful and aggressive side of things as much as the lighter and blissful side of things, and on this album they’ve managed to find the perfect balance between the two.
- Eidola (2:39)
- Edge of the Blade (4:34)
- A Phantasmic Parade (4:36)
- Universal Death Squad (6:38)
- Divide and Conquer (7:48)
- Beyond the Matrix (6:26)
- Once Upon a Nightmare (7:08)
- The Cosmic Algorithm (4:54)
- Ascension – Dream State Armageddon (5:16)
- Dancing in a Hurricane (5:26)
- Tear Down Your Walls (5:03)
- The Holographic Principle – A Profound Understanding of Reality (11:35)
Playing Time: 72:07
Release date: September 30, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast