>> The Holographic Principle <<
playing time: 1:11:05
release date: 30/09/2016
Let me take you on a journey between heaven and hell, good and bad and history and future
Do you know the feeling when you can listen to the new album of your favorite band before all the others can?
This was the case with Epica’s new record this time.
Seeing a band over and over again, 13 times in one year makes you often think “Can they be better than they are now?” and I can answer the question seriously after listening to “The Holographic Principle”which is Epica’s seventh studio album. “Yes they can and they are”.
Not only is it longer than “The Quantum Enigma“ with a full playtime of 1:11:05, concerning the quality of the record itself, it embodies a great improvement compared to the previous one.
Like they revealed beforehand, “The Holographic Principle” is a collaboration with an orchestra and a choir again. In “Eidola”, the dark and mystic Intro you can instantly hear they told the truth. The sound of the Intro is a contrast to “Originem” from their previous album, since it is more powerful and atmospheric. It starts quietly, goes on with a female choir and a whispering child while there is a piano playing lightly in the background before it ends up agitated and full of drama with a male choir.
The change between “Eidola” and “Edge of the Blade” is a bit weird because for me “Edge of the Blade” is a happy song and doesn’t fit to the ending of the Intro which sounds rather sad. In the second song, which was released some days before, Simone sings a little bit lower than we are used to, but that’s not a big deal because it is completed by Mark’s Growls.
Because of the happy sound it takes some time until it catches your ear.
The third track of the Album is my personal favorite, “A Phantasmic Parade”. With a funny start it reminds me of an arcade game from my childhood called “Pong”, but also of a cartoon where the figure is stumbling and everyone is laughing about it.
The song continues with a heavy instrumental part detached from Simone Simons’ voice which creates an oriental feeling by protracting the last words in a song line. Also, the orchestra is present again. Especially the several voices and the choir parts are awesome and absolutely epic.
Going on with the well-known song “Universal Death Squad”, which the band released before as a lyric video to introduce the album. It was the best decision they could have made because this song reflects everything Epica is and will be. With its emotional and harmonic start it attracts the listener from the beginning. Choir, Orchestra, E-Guitar, Simone’s voice and Mark’s growls fit together very well and alternate in a very harmonic way. It’s the catchiest song on the album.
“Is this world a hologram? Are
there multiple realities? Inside our mind and in our dreams we can create entire worlds, and the parallels with virtual reality are obvious. Besides the music, the lyrics have taken a big role as
well. We don’t just offer great songs, we offer food for thought!” ~ Simone Simons
If you are a fan of dramatic battle movies than you’ll love “Divide and Conquer” because it starts with sounds of a battle at a historical place.
The song is characterized by the variety between the choir and the singers.
In the end, there are 30 seconds from an extract of a political speech which is a pattern that is also found in the song “Price of Freedom – Interlude” of their album “Design your Universe”.
In “Beyond the Matrix”, the drums are similar to a march sound are very impressive with the orchestra at the beginning. That's where Simone’s voice comes to life. In general, this song is rich in contrast with a quiet middle part detached from Mark’s growls.
The seventh track is called “Once Upon a Nightmare”. One thing is for sure: After listening to this song, you won’t have any nightmares again because you can’t sleep anymore. You will feel forced to listen to this album again and again and again…
The song starts very slowly but it grows with every second which makes the perfect musical interpretation of a nightmare which also gets much worse with time. Simone’s versatile vocals are perfectly used here.
“Once Upon a Nightmare” was that song I was most curious about when they revealed their track list since it gave me a good feeling and I could identify with the title. When I listened to it first, I was surprised about the violin at the beginning. Not only that I like violins, but Marcela Bovio of Stream of Passion posted on her Facebook that she is “glad that she could do a small contribution”, so maybe she is the girl behind the violin? No, she isn't but she did some backing vocals which is at least as good as playing the violin.
“Holy smokes! The new Epica sounds and looks fantastic! Very glad I could do a small contribution to this awesome album :)” ~ Marcela Bovio
The next one is a fast song and the melody is very energetic with a typical Epica sound. Characteristic of “The Cosmic Algorithm” are the heavy guitar riffs which provide the real Epica sound. I think the title is well chosen because a catchy lyric line from this song is “Everything is possible”, sung by Simone, and Algorithm totally reminds me of our maths lessons at school where I often think that whatever we are trying is impossible for me.
“Ascension – Dream State Armageddon” starts with a sad part where Simone sings in a very low voice which is rather a whispering. It makes you shiver but it’s the best part in this song.Simone's voice stands out while she is accompanied by the bombastic sound of the choir, which is a rare combination on The Holographic Principle . After 3:41 a very short speech can be heard once again. “Nothing appears to be what really is as we believe in the illusions. Free yourself from walking in circles. This will be the end of the world as we can.”
The oriental touch of “Dancing in a Hurricane” takes you back to “The Phantom Agony” and the song “Seif Al Din”. Remember, they had a belly dancer to perform at their live shows and also Simone did some belly dancing, which I can imagine very well on their upcoming tour. For someone like me who misses the old Epica sounds it’s a very good song to in the past for the next five minutes. Simone sings most of the time and Mark’s growls are only added at the end of the song, so if you like it a bit oriental and calm you will like this song until Mark starts growling together with the choir. Speaking about oriental, the soundtrack “A Whole New World” of Disney’s Aladdin could be replaced by this one, I think it fits very well to the scene where Aladdin and Jasmine are flying through the night!
All girls who love the growls of Mark’s will have their fan girl moment listening to “Tear Down Your Walls“. It’s a song where you can hear Mark most of the time. Just in between the lines Simone whispers together with the choir, only in the end you can hear her sing loud and clear.
That song is nothing special in comparison to the other songs from “The Holographic Principle”.
Last but not least we usually have a song that stands out because of its length, and Epica do not fail to keep this tradition up. This time we get 11:36 pure passion and typical old Epica. With the correspondent song “The Holographic Principle – A Profound Understanding Of Reality” they really travel back in time to their roots. You can hear Simone sing like she did in the beginning and they combine all elements to make this album a full success and one of the best in 2016.
“The Holographic Principle” can, quality- and melody-wise, be compared to Nightwish’s masterpiece “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”. I would definitely go one step further and say Epica did a better job and triumphed over Nightwish in every way with their new release.
“The Holographic Principle” is simply a masterpiece and if you think “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is perfect, you should check this one out (30th of September).
Then you can’t deny Epica’s album is the new #1 in symphonic metal heaven.
Beginning of 2017 , you can find EPICA touring Europe together with Powerwolf and Beyond the Black!
12-01-17 + Schlachthof + Wiesbaden, Germany
13-01-17 + Palladium + Cologne Germany
14-01-17 + MHP Arena + Ludwigsburg Germany
16-01-17 + Salle des Fetes de Thonex + Geneve, Switzerland*
17-01-17 + Volkshaus + Zürich, Switzerland
18-01-17 + Live Club + Milan, Italy*
20-01-17 + Tonhalle + Munich, Germany
21-01-17 + Gasometer + Wien, Austria
22-01-17 + Barba Negra + Budapest, Hungary*
24-01-17 + Progresja + Warsaw, Poland*
25-01-17 + Huxleys + Berlin, Germany
27-01-17 + Turbinenhalle + Oberhausen, Germany
28-01-17 + Forum Karlin + Prague, Czech Republic
29-01-17 + Capitol + Hannover, Germany
31-01-17 + Mehr! Theater + Hamburg, Germany
01-02-17 + Ancienne Belgique + Brussels, Belgium*
03-02-17 + Shepherds Bush Empire + London, UK*
04-02-17 + Zenith + Paris, France*
* EPICA closing the night