Epica prove to Manchester why they are a true force to be reckoned with.
The Ritz in Manchester is a cracking venue without doubt and tonight’s gig promised to be one most worthy of playing within it’s hallowed walls as the Epica world tour arrived on the latest leg of the U.K. and European tour.
Support was adeptly supplied by Stream Of Passion (8/10) who receive a warm and enthusiastic welcome from a crowd eager to reacquaint themselves with a band who don’t travel over to these shores that often but have a really strong and loyal fan base.
S.O.P. are on top form tonight, delivering a performance that any headline act would be proud of. Marcela Bovio’s voice continues to grow in both power and presence as she and the band surge through an excellent set, drawing from all three studio releases but predominately 2009’s ’The Flame Within’.
Songs such as ’Out In The Real World’ and ’In The End’ demonstrate how good the band are when it comes to producing solid, catchy and thoroughly engaging Symphonic Metal and on the evidence of tonight’s show, played with a genuine love and passion that is really good to see. They also can lay claim to having one of the best cover versions of any song ever in my opinion, namely their rendition of Radio head’s ’Street Spirit’. An excellent way to start the evening.
Tonight’s gig represented ten years and a day since Epica (10/10) formed, and what a journey has been travelled in that time. As each year has passed, the band have continued to develop and push the boundaries of Symphonic and Gothic Metal to new heights. Thankfully, Epica are one of Europe’s bands that tour the whole of the U.K. and don’t just do a London show and then hop back on Eurostar, a fact that does not go unnoticed.
Founder Mark Jansen and Vocalist Simone Simons compliment each other wonderfully well, Simone’s technically perfect Mezzo Soprano voice can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, such power and emotion delivered with such care and attention is breathtaking and with Marks growls and grunts providing an important balance and variation to the vocal sound, this is pretty much as good as it gets.
Having reached the ten year milestone , the bands back catalogue provides a rich source from which to assemble a set list. Songs from the very beginning such as ’Cry For The Moon’ sit really well with present compositions like ’Unleashed’ for example. Whilst fan favourite’s ’The Obsessive Devotion’ and of course ’Consign To Oblivion’ are sounding as fresh and as good as ever , testament once more to the bands continued improvement .
This really is a band bordering on the peak of it’s career, every member performing with huge smiles and emitting a glow that only comes about when one and all are in perfect harmony, producing some of the finest Metal around and replicating it live seamlessly.
Tonight saw one of the best live shows I’ve seen during 2012 , if your able to catch them on any of the remaining U.K. dates, do so.
Photos courtesy of David Farrell.