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The Solace System
September 2017
Released: 2017, Nuclear Blast Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: UK Team

For those who don’t know (like me) Epica is a Dutch, Symphonic metal band. Having been going for 15 years, this EP marks their eighth release. Speaking from a personal perspective, I’m immediately wary of anything describing itself as ‘epic’ or similar. I think it’s from hearing the phrase ‘epic fail’ being used to describe anything as banal as, for example, putting barbecue sauce instead of ketchup on your chips. It’s not even a fail, and even if it was then it’s certainly not epic. I’m also not a massive follower (nor even fan, to be honest) of symphonic metal either, hence my not knowing Epica beforehand. Turns out they’re fucking massive (I may be ignorant but at least I’m honest).

Anyway, this EP is something of an overflow of tracks from a 2016 recording called ‘The Holographic Principle’. To look at this from a purely musical theory point of view, it’s brilliant. The playing, composition, mastering etc is nothing short of textbook, as you would expect from a band of this stature (even though I’d never heard of ‘em). Each of the six tracks has a great structure, with some diverse influences and instrumentation. I have to say I like each and every track, although ‘Architect of Light’ deserves a special mention for its celtic, folky intro and repeated motif. ‘Immortal Melancholy’ has more of the Irish folky sound, being a great acoustic number. The guitar picking background is reminiscent of Turlough O'Carolan, which is a massive compliment, by the way. Then for a finale, ‘Decoded Poetry’ is an earworm that will burrow into your head like an anteater on speed.

This EP, and from what I can tell their entire back catalogue (I’d never heard of them), is (to my ears, at any rate) cheesy as hell, but it’s really good fun. Shut your eyes and it actually sounds like the score to a West-End musical. Andrew Lloyd Webber does metal…only quite good. I’m doing them down. For what they do, these guys are brilliant and this EP is no exception. If you like symphonic metal, you’ll love this.
Track Listing

01. The Solace System
02. Fight Your Demons
03. Architect Of Light
04. Wheel Of Destiny
05. Immortal Melancholy
06. Decoded Poetry


Mark Jansen – rhythm guitar, lead growled vocals
Coen Janssen – keyboards, synthesizer, piano
Simone Simons – lead vocals
Ariën van Weesenbeek – drums, spoken vocals, backing growled vocals
Isaac Delahaye – lead guitar, backing clean vocals
Rob van der Loo – bass

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