Epica has recently commenced their tour in support of their latest album, The Holographic Principle. One of their first stops was in Montreal, Quebec, where we managed to check out the show… and, once again, what a show!
Photos by King Hazard.
But first, let’s get warmed up with the opening bands.
Hitting the stage a few minutes late were hometown heroes The Agonist. Although we’ve seen the band several times, this was our first time seeing them with new frontwoman, Vicky Psarakis, who replaced Alissa White-Gluz in 2014. With only about 30 minutes to play, it was a mix of old and new songs, and while the old songs might not sound exactly the same as they once did, Vicky brings a refreshingly positive vibe to the stage for the band.
After The Agonist, it was time for some Italians to bring their brand of extreme symphonic metal to the stage. Fleshgod Apocalypse was interesting, but on a whole the sound was unpleasant because of the guys running the mixing board; everything seemed to be coming at us at the same volume and indistinguishable. To that end, when it was time for a solo, you could perceptively hear the levels being brought up. In addition, the piano was hardly ever audible.
While the sound needs to be ironed out, it was also disappointing to see how much playback Fleshgod was using. Seriously, you couldn’t have had an acoustic guitar on the stage and then switch to electric when the time came? Obviously it makes sense to have playback for the operatic and symphonic elements, so don’t get me wrong on my criticism.
Then it was time to wait some more like an old army moto.
But the time came and when the lights dimmed, the crowd roared. The stage was dark, illuminated only by rows of staggered purple lights as album opener “Eidola” filled the theater with its cinematic, atmosphere-building tones. Then Ariën van Weesenbeek came out and took his place behind the kit and the mix of traditional metallers and D&D types really got excited. However, as new track “Edge of the Blade” commenced, we were held in suspended anticipation for Simone Simons’ entrance. All of this is pare for the course at an Epica show, and as usual, when she does take the stage, there’s the sense that the party can now begin.
Of course, Simone was on point with her vocals and elegant as ever. And, as always with Epica, the sound was excellent and the performance impecable.
Beyond the first two songs of the set, four more were played from the new album, The Holographic Principle. Considering that the tour is named after the album, it was a little surprising that the title track wasn’t in the set list. However, the fantastically dark “Ascension” was! If you haven’t heard this album, you really should, especially if you’re an Epica fan or a fan of symphonic metal.
Epica Set List:
Edge of the Blade
A Phantasmic Parade
Universal Death Squad
Divide and Conquer
The Obsessive Devotion
Ascension – Dream State Armageddon
Dancing in a Hurricane
Design Your Universe
Beyond the Matrix
Consign to Oblivion
Rock Hard \m/