Epica performing their United Principle Tour at Rock City Nottingham on Friday 6th April 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Whilst some symphonic metal bands only dip their feet into their classical influences, Dutch band Epica are not one of them. Lead vocalist Simone Simon is a trained mezzo-soprano and the band once performed music at Hungary’s Miskolc Opera festival, backed by a full orchestra and thirty piece choir.

But there were no such expensive extravagances last night at Rock City, and showcasing one of the best female lead singers in metal, the band also benefited from the addition of the growling male vocals provided by Epica founder Mark Jansen.

Opening with Edge Of The Blade, Simons took ownership of the stage. Jansen, Isaac Delahaye and Rob Van Der Loo on guitars showed fantastic musicianship whilst constantly moving around to entertain the crowd. Drummer Arien Van Weesenbeek backed up the band with his impeccable precision and keyboard player Coen Janssen slid from one side of the stage to the other.

Mid set was the highly treasured The Essence Of Silence followed by Storm The Sorrow which saw Simon at her best with her beautiful but powerful voice. Next song up was Ascension – Dream State Armageddon which showed the bands softening melodies and more progressive side.

There was the slow melodic intro of Cry For The Moon which picked up speed much to the delight of the crowd, and when Simon started singing Unchain Utopia they quickly joined in.

Finishing the main set with Once Upon A Nightmare it was undoubtedly an emotional and moving piece of work. Beginning the encore with another fan favourite Sancta Terra which sparked a great crowd reaction, and Beyond The Matrix induced a mass sing along, before they gave vent to their death metal roots with the ferocious ten minute epic Consign To Oblivion which concluded the night’s delightful astronomical journey through Epica’s holographic universe.