No doubt that Epica’s music has become more and more symphonic, and the intro song of The Holographic Principle, ’Eidola’, is just as full of symphonic elements. So how much symphonic does Epica want to go with this album?
However, ‘Eidola’ may be quite misleading. This time the album is depending less on orchestra than before, though they still make heavy use of choir. Simone uses her soprano voice less than usual, which makes the album sound even less symphonic, and Mark’s growl is rawer than ever. Overall, The Holographic Principle sounds much heavier and drier than previous albums. ‘Edge of the Blade’, that comes right after ‘Eidola’ is a proof of that, which displays quite dry sound. Catchy and quite simple for an opening song, but enough to intrigue the listeners.
‘A Phantasmic Parade’ is characterized by powerful band sound that is topped with the fantastic harmony of the voices of Simone, Mark and the choir. Despite being one of the shortest songs in the album, this song is definitely one of the most gripping tracks. It is quite easy to see why Epica released ‘Universal Death Squad’ as a single. It seems that they put everything they had in this song – grand orchestra and choir sound, heavy/progressive elements, all those dramas… you name it. But it somehow feels like the song lacks the final explosion point. ‘Once Upon a Nightmare’ is one of the few songs in this album where Simone’s voice is truly at the center, with its dramatic progression. The Holographic Principle shows quite smooth flow with new elements and repeating elements appearing at appropriate moments, which makes it easy for the listeners to follow this 11-minute long song.
It looks like Epica is showing its strong desire to incorporate more elements from heavy metal and progressive metal in this album. Those who loved rich orchestra sound and Simone’s grand soprano voice might be a bit disappointed, and it is true that there are some awkward moments here and there. But isn’t it always interesting to see an experienced band embark on a new journey?
Album: The Holographic Principle
Label: Nuclear Blast
Text: Yeonwoo Baik