Epica with support from Myrkur and Oceans Of Slumber.
Rock City Nottingham 6th April 2017.
It feels like forever since I last attended a gig, but in fact it has only been two weeks ago. Once upon a time, I use to attend two gigs a week but truth is the gap helps me to appreciate it more, when I do eventually get out to a show and tonight’s was very much appreciated indeed and was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Here come the girls. All three bands that featured tonight, all have female vocalists and all three couldn’t be more different if they tried, yet they all complemented each other rather well, I thought!
I was given exclusive access to interview tonight’s first band ‘Oceans of Slumber’ from Huston Texas. Sadly, due to their stage time, I couldn’t get to Rock City in Nottingham early enough to conduct an interview, which saddened me greatly. Thankfully, the bands excellent PR company, The Noise Cartel, managed to organise an emailer, which you can read here.
To conduct my interview, I did undertake a fair amount of research about OSS, in preparation. To do this, I obviously had to listen to the bands music, all three albums, in fact. Their latest album ‘The Banished Heart’ clearly stands out as being a master piece and so say many other music journalists, not just me and as a collective, we can’t all be wrong! I urge you to check it out if you’re a fan of Doom/Prog music and in general, music that moves you!
Tonight’s set only consisted of five songs, which was way too short but it was no less powerful – I’ve never witnessed a crowd listen so intently! It was very moving indeed. I loved the fact that I got the opportunity to see this band live and I urge you to do the same. Singed to Century Media Records.
Set List: 1.Fleeting Vigilance 2.A Path to Broken Stars 3.Howl of the Rougarou 4.The Decay of Disregard 5.No Color No Light
Next up, a band that I have mixed emotions about, who go by the name Myrkur, which means darkness, in Icelandic. Classically-trained multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Amalie Bruun, is in fact from Denmark and primarily sings in her native tongue which is quite rare in this day and age, although music is considered a universal language so you can either relate to it, or not. This is by no means a disadvantage, in fact, it works rather well in adding to the mystery within the music she produces. After releasing only one EP, Relapse Records signed her up which is pretty impressive really. We miss you Relapse!
Considered primarily as black metal, it is very powerful indeed and was executed perfectly tonight. Incidentally, I’ve never seen a bass guitar being played with a violin bow before, but it sounded very eerie, indeed, which sums up the music you hear from this band. I’ve listened to Myrkur’s music at home since this live performance and it works and wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack to the hit TV show, Vikings. Live though, I couldn’t get into it, as it’s not the sort of music you can start a mosh pit with. They play Download Festival this year as well as continuing on with Epica, so I’ll let you make your own mind up.
The bands website states Amalie is a solo artist, so she’s probably employed professional musicians to accompany her on this tour as she can’t very well play all the instruments herself, which may explain why, they guy playing guitar was very reluctant to have his photo taken tonight. Every time I pointed my camera at him, he just turned away and faced his amp. After two or three attempts, I gave up trying.
Tonight’s main event came courtesy of Epica, who are one of the best symphonic metal bands in the business. Currently touring the UK, they themselves are very much a mixture of European decent. Lead singer and fiery red head bomb shell, Simone Simons comes from the Netherlands. No disrespect to the rest of the band, as they are all born performers but Simons, in my opinion, is the main attraction in this band! As a friend (Ben Cook) stated on the night, Epica do exactly what they state ‘BE EPIC’! Simons has openly admitted that a live show should look pretty and I agree. No one want’s to stare at a band, for the best part of forty five minutes, who look at the floor and do nothing and expect you to pay for the privilege!
Signed to Nuclear Blast, Epica released the band’s sixth full length album ‘The Holographic Principle’ on September 30, 2016, and was described as the bands most ambitious offering to date. On September 1, 2017, the band released their first EP ‘The Solace System’ during the second North American leg of the tour. The EP features tracks that were planned and recorded but never included in The Holographic Principle.
The band will celebrate their 1000th show, when they reach Tilburg in the Netherlands, which should act as a home town coming. To celebrate, they have a whole days worth of entertainment planned and I’m aware many die hard fans from the UK have planned to make the trip over, to celebrate with this truly wonderful band! They are in deed epic!
Set List: 1.Eidola 2.Edge of the Blade 3.Sensorium 4.Fight Your Demons 5.The Essence of Silence 6.Storm the Sorrow 7.Ascension – Dream State Armageddon 8.Dancing in a Hurricane 9.Victims of Contingency 10.Cry for the Moon 11.Unchain Utopia 12.Once Upon a Nightmare 13.Sancta Terra 14.Beyond the Matrix 15.Consign to Oblivion
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)