CD Reviews

Epica

The Holographic Principle

Nuclear Blast

Epica's highly anticipated new release titled, The Holographic Principle is slated to be released on September 30th and follows the band's astonishing 2014 release The Quantum Enigma. This latest addition to the Epica catalogue promises to be their most ambitious undertaking to date.

Upon taking it for an initial spin I can say that it is crammed full of everything a fan might expect and more. There is a tremendous increase in the overall production, bigger orchestration, choirs, more Mark, more Simone, etc. There are massive guitar riffs that are truly impressive and drive the Metal element home. Mark Jansen's death growls are featured more prominently throughout and Simone Simons offers a variety of vocal nuances that are sure to appeal to many.

The music seems to be more grandiose here and may actually deter some listeners. Despite what some may believe to be true more is not always a good thing. Sometimes it can be too much. There needs to be a proper balance and in my opinion, The Holographic Principle may be a little over the top for my tastes, and that is not easy to achieve as I tend to embrace the larger scale productions of Metal artists. However, this may be one that needs to grow on me as well. Some of my favorite albums throughout history have had this effect on me.

As far as first impressions go the album didn't really peak my interests until the fifth track of the CD "Divide and Conquer" which is a brutal Metal masterpiece that has both guts and glory. The following song, "Beyond the Matrix" is another stand out cut that reminds me more of the traditional Epica sound while offering some new perspectives. "Once upon a Nightmare" is a beautifully represented ballad with a dark ambience about it and allows Simone to shine doing what she does best. Many of the songs have more of a pop vocal style which I am not completely sold on including the first single "Universal Death Squad" and "The Cosmic Algorithm." The title track of the album is the epic proportion here (pun intended) and does not disappoint. This song is a journey of sorts and takes you down some very musically efficient territory.

Lyrically The Holographic Principle can be a breath of fresh air from the political or medieval styling's of many Metal artists. This is in fact nothing new for Epica, they have always maintained an enigmatic approach to their lyrical presentations by finding topics that many would never think of addressing.

Without a doubt, The Holographic Principle will be one of the most talked about releases of 2016.

- The Metal Priest

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