Epica

Live at The Palladium

Los Angeles, CA

September 23rd, 2022

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Epica return to North American shores after an extended pandemic induced hiatus. They bring with them their signature blend of heavy symphonic metal combining driving dual guitars, heavy bass lines, soaring synths, and of course the enigmatic and powerful vocals of the one and only Simone Simons.

Joining her in their esoteric search for the meaning of existence beyond oblivion come a group of stalwart musicians including band founder Mark Jansen on rhythm guitar and growled vocals, Coen Janssen on synths and orchestral arrangements, Isaac Delahaye on lead guitar, Rob van der Loo on bass guitar and last but not least, Ariën van Weesenbeek on drums.

Along with playing all of the fan-favorites, they released their eighth studio album, "Omega" last year, and were giving their audience a dose of brand new Epica songs in their full glory live.

Epica joined Swedish powerhouse Sabaton for this tour, the historic military buffs taking the headline slot, so Epica had to choose their set list carefully due to a shorter running time than their usual headline shows.

They kicked off the set with the album opener from "Omega" with "Abyss of Time - Countdown to Singularity". As the name suggests, they have maintained their interest in cosmic forces, spiritual mysteries, and a rather dark gothic outlook on what awaits us in this universe.

They went from there back in time to their first release, "The Phantom Agony" for the crowd favorite, "Sensorium". There were a lot of people in the crowd that were seeing Epica for the first time by show of hands and their reception of the band was phenomenal.

2014's "The Quantum Enigma" got back to back representation with "Victims of Contingency" leading directly into "Unchain Utopia".

The Palladium is an awesome venue to see metal, the sound system is intensely loud but crystal clear. You could feel the power of the heavy guitars while Simone's operatic soprano vocals lifted above all of the headbanging chaos perfectly.

Returning to their debut release, they performed what for many long-time fans is a pinnacle moment of their set, "Cry for the Moon". This always becomes a sing a long and tonight was no different, the volume of voices raised in unison was very impressive.

One thing that I always take away from seeing Epica live is how much fun the band is having on stage, both with each other and feeding off of the audience. Huge smiles filled the stage and the hall alike.

A personal favorite was up next with "Sancta Terra" from "The Divine Conspiracy". I have listened to Epica since their first album came out, having found their release while traveling to their homeland of the Netherlands many years ago. They have maintained consistent to their original sound and message all these years, while continuously expanding and evolving.

Returning to their latest release, "Omega" gave forth "Code of Life" before they dove into "Beyond the Matrix" from 2016's "The Holographic Principle".

Unfortunately their time on stage was drawing to a close but as a tradition for many years now, they finished up the show with the fan-favorite "Consign To Oblivion" from their sophomore album of the same name.

The audience went wild, the mosh pit churned heavily, Simone and company whipped their hair in epic metal fashion and all was as it should be in the world for at least as long as the massive yet beautiful song weaved it's spell.

The crowd cheered and yelled as the band took their collective final bow, finishing a truly epic performance from the aptly named ensemble.

This was my eighth time seeing Epica live and I have loved them every single time, this occasion being everything I was anticipating. I highly recommend checking them out on tour as well as listening to their latest album, "Omega".

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