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Epica - 'The Holographic Principle' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/7b/50/47/epica-the-holographic-principle-100-1476210544.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 11, 2016    
 
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Epica have once again raised the bar to another, almost (for most other acts) unattainable level.

Grandiose – affectedly grand or important. That's the dictionary definition of the word "grandiose", which succinctly sums up what, in essence, is Epica's biggest, boldest and most self-confident album... up to now! This mighty opus, entitled 'The Holographic Principle', is a concept tale about the near future where virtual reality allows the people to create their own worlds; worlds so alive that they never know if they are living a virtual or a real life. Now, a story as profound as the one Epica have tried to tell on '...Principle' can only work if they have used everything they possibly could to make this release a special one – they have done just that! Utilising, for the first time, a real orchestra that combines brass, string, woodwind, ethnic instruments and percussion sections to flesh out the dramatic guitars, bass, drums, vocals and keyboards already used by the band.

As this is a concept piece, picking this or that track out of the whole isn't easy, but the twelve minute title track effectively sums up just what Epica have been able to achieve on this release; overblown and superior, the song is a riotous musical extravaganza, filled with multi-layered vocals and musicianship that dramatically transports you into the virtual world created by the band, and with its lyrics asking the question "what is truly real, and what is not?"

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This is the album's true tour-de-force, and the intense musical heat the song generates threatens to melt the flesh from your face as you listen to it. Yet one song (even one as good as this) doesn't make an album. Therefore, give an ear to the likes of first single/video 'Universal Death Squad', where the almost sweet vocals of Simone Simons are juxtaposed with guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen's intense and caustic riffs, or 'Once Upon A Nightmare', a song of dark ethereal beauty, filled with lush orchestration and a lead vocal from Simons that could go down as one of her best ever performances.

At the top of their game for many a year, with pretenders to their throne trying and failing to usurp them, Epica, with 'The Holographic Principle' have once again raised the bar to another, almost (for most other acts) unattainable level.

Ian Johnson

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