Epica were formed in 2002, in The Netherlands, their music is distinct and unique, playing symphonic metal with soaring vocals and epic growls and death grunts. Having developed a serious following among devoted metalheads, and have crossed over into the mainstream numerous times. Their latest album The Holographic Principle spawned many songs, some of which were kept aside to be released separately. That release has been titled ‘The Solace System’ and it is what I shall be reviewing today.
The title track is the opening track, and a fitting opening track it is. Big blaring vocals from Simone Simons, a swaggering riff, absolutely divine choruses and thought provoking lyrics makes one think that this will definitely be a live favourite. Fight Your Demons a song that seems to be about confronting the things that lurk within us all, has a galloping riff, operatic vocals and a driving rhythm that evokes images of a mosh pit. Architect of Light is a symphonic masterpiece, demonstrating one of the many layers that makes up Epica’s sound. Driving riffs and rhythms, once again show that this is a song that will absolutely become a live favourite.
Wheel of Destiny follows Architect of Light, it has what is termed solid driving riffage, a song about time and its effects on us all, the song has haunting vocals, that make the hair on the back of your arm stand up, it also contains an absolute rip roaring solo. A live favourite if ever I heard one. Immortal Melancholy is an acoustic song, thoughtful and melancholic as the title implies. A soft melody before the chaos continues. Decoded Poetry is solid, heavy and an anthem if ever there was one. A brilliant closer to the E.P.
The Solace System, contains songs that were kept off The Holographic Principle, with other bands that might be a cause for concern, not for Epica though. These songs are as good if not better than the songs that featured on the album. Soaring vocals, growling, symphonic arrangements and driving riffs. This E.P. is a real treat, a must have for Epica fans, and even for those more casual listeners. I give it a 10/10.