Released by: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: September 1st, 2017
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Simone Simons | vocals
Isaac Delahaye | guitars
Mark Jansen | guitars, growls
Coen Janssen | synthies, piano
Ariën van Weesenbeek | drums
Rob van der Loo | bass
01. The Solace System
02. Fight Your Demons
03. Architect Of Light
04. Wheel Of Destiny
05. Immortal Melancholy
06. Decoded Poetry
Dutch symphonic metal visionaries Epica originally had over 25 songs written for their seventh studio album ‘The Holographic Principle,’ which was released in 2016 via Nuclear Blast. The LP is considered as the bigger sister from 2014’s ‘The Quantum Enigma,’ which showcased their evolved orchestral direction. Eighteen songs were created during the recording sessions, however, twelve made the final cut, leaving six tracks metaphorically homeless. Guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen expressed the high-quality tracks were intended for the album and unable to fit everything because “this is only based on the fact that the record should not exceed 76 minutes.”
Eleven months later, these unheard tracks found a home with the brand new EP, The Solace System, which is out now via Nuclear Blast. Joost van den Broek and Jacob Hansen recorded, mixed and mastered the EP and the artwork representing a similar Holographic look was created by Stefan Heilemann.
The EP begins where the Holographic Principle left off with the title track, “The Solace System.” The rich orchestrated styles we heard in aggressive songs such as “Divide and Conquer,” and “Ascension /Dream State Armageddon” returns with this solid effort. Substantial results continue with the next “Fight Your Demons,” which would have paired well with the flavorful “Beyond the Matrix.” Musically, it’s another strong piece, as melodic zest continues to grow into full blown experimentations.
Well produced compositions soar in “Architect of Light,” as it gently progresses towards a riveting tune with the accompaniment of contrasting vocals between Jansen and Simone Simons. “Wheel of Destiny” rockets in full blast with catchy hooks amongst its progressive interludes while refining a flawless diversified sound. The tempo significantly drops with the somber song, “Immortal Melancholy,” while Simons’ voice takes the lead. The listener is then introduced to a sorrowful and serene-like world and learns the acceptance of the “final descent” of life.
The Solace System begins and ends on a solid note, leaving “Decoded Poetry” for the powerful conclusion. It is arguably the best song on the EP as well as the longest. It glides between a strong orchestrated delivery, with bold guitar riffs, and lyrics that haunt the listener with, “you have to pay for your sins.”
Epica’s The Solace System more-than-satisfies the listener, as they continue to rise from their creative expressions. It is what sets them apart from the redundant Nightwish comparisons.
Zenae D. Zukowski