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Epica Enchants Kentish Town Forum With Help From Myrkur And Oceans Of Slumber

Over the past ten years or so, symphonic metal has really exploded in popularity, thanks to the success of groups such as Nightwish, Within Temptation and Theatre Of Tragedy. Last Friday, I had the pleasure of witnessing another of the sub-genre's most revered bands, Epica, at their show in London where they were joined by Myrkur and Oceans Of Slumber to craft a night to remember.

Opening the show was Houston, Texas progressive metal outfit, Oceans Of Slumber. Not being familiar with the quintet, I had no idea what to expect. Like many opening bands, they had to fight through some relatively poor sound at the beginning of their set but fight they did and those in attendance were treated to a magnificent display of atmospheric metal. Vocalist Cammie Gilbert was superb in showcasing her soulful voice which fit alongside the gloomy, My Dying Bride-esque music very well. Songs from their new album, "The Banished Heart" such as "The Decay Of Disregard" sound fresh and intriguing and it won't be long until Oceans Of Slumber are headlining tours of a similar size.

Oceans Of Slumber did a wonderful job of setting up the evening, introducing to the hope and light which Epica brings with their sound, as well as the oppressive darkness and inner discovery of the next performance, courtesy of Myrkur. There has been a lot said about Myrkur's music and appearance but it's sincere art from the very soul, unquestionably. The approach to black metal via a classical background has created some of the most haunting music of the 21st century and reminiscent of compatriot Lars von Trier's "Depression trilogy," which is brought up all the more by the flowers on the microphone stand serving as a reminder of the "Melancholia" poster. Myrkur's vocals are the clearest I've ever heard in a live setting and the crushing rhythms are as heavy on the chest as they are the soul. Songs like "Ulvinde" and "Onde børn" are simply incredible to hear live and the closing folk song, "Villemann og Magnhild" was a unique and surprising way to cap off the set.

Finally, we come to the evening's, headliners, Epica, who are currently promoting two releases; the full length album, "The Holographic Principle" and the EP, "The Solace System." After missing out on the beginning of their set because I was conducting an interview with Oceans Of Slumber, I came back in time to hear the new album's title track. Epica are a prime example of a group that need to be seen in an indoor venue, preferably headlining, as their sound and vision come across much stronger than at a festival.

Singer Simone Simons continues the night's pattern of excellent vocal performances, while the rest of the band all work as a unit to create a high octane show, filled with all the wonder, humour and delight that a metal concert should bring to the crowd. Though new material was promoted heavily, old favouites such as "Sensorium," "Sancta Terra" and "Unleashed" were all brought out, before the concert came to a close with "Beyond The Matrix" and "Consign To Oblivion." All in all, this was a fantastic night with a broad spectrum of metal for all to hear, a tour which eager fans outside would have gone home delighted to have caught.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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1 Comment on "Epica Enchants Kentish Town Forum"

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1. Drum_Junkie writes:

Glad you enjoyed OoS, Oz! I'll be looking for your interview with them.

With any luck, I'll be able to catch them opening for Insomnium in June in their hometown.

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