Epica - The Holographic Principle album review

Epica's latest is big and it’s clever.

Epica - The Holographic Principle album cover

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From the Hollywood blockbuster soundtrack feel of opener Eidola, the frenzied yet nuanced Edge Of The Blade and the massed voices of Beyond The Matrix through to the enormous statement of intent of the title track, it’s clear that almost no amount of hyperbole does justice to the sweep and clout of Epica’s latest – it’s simply marvellous. These Dutch symphonic rockers use The Holographic Principle’s 72 minutes to question our concepts of reality, while throwing a heady mixture of thick, riff-heavy guitar, majestic synth and orchestral bombast at the listener in a display of power and ingenuity.

This isn’t just about unrelenting bludgeon though – there are layers of classical themes, acoustic instrumentation, choral backing and varied textures, Simone Simons’ voice injecting just the right amount of both clarity and exquisite sentiment, all delivered in a fresh, exciting fashion that should make Trans-Siberian Orchestra green with envy. While not possessing the complexity of, say, Symphony X, there are still twists, turns and changes of pace. Epica’s seventh album won’t disappoint and may well represent a career-defining collection. It’s huge and deserves massive success.

Gary Mackenzie

Gary has contributed reviews and news features for Prog Magazine for over a decade now. A fan of prog and heavy rock since childhood, his main areas of interest are classic and symphonic prog, prog-metal and modern acts bringing in fresh influences to the genre. He has a professional background in youth and community work, he teaches drum kit in schools and is a working musician. Gary was the drummer in semi-legendary NWOBHM band Praying Mantis for a couple of years and has been a member of indie-prog-pop-art-rock combo The Mighty Handful for more than twenty years. He loves cats and skiing, and has a Blue Peter badge.