Archive for epica

70.000 Tons of Metal: Day 2

Posted in 70000 tons of metal, Concerts, Music, The Great Tour 2020, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 19, 2020 by Sara Hammerzmith

So it was upon us! The second day of the cruise was upon us, and it started pretty early with a merch sleepover. Thankfully, it was all worth it as we got all the merch we wanted.. How great, huh? And then, Trollfest already starting at 10. But you gotta go hard, not at all, am I right?

They put on a real fun show, and I’m officially a survivor of the worlds longest congaline! Or at least this cruise longest congaline. After the show, we decided to go grab something to eat and work out a little bit before getting ready for the highlight for us on this cruise, or at least the first thing for us: Bloodbound

Bloodbound

They opened up strongly (as always, am I right?) with “Battle in the Sky” and then quickly continued on with “In The Name of Metal”. Amazing as always. I have a feeling I dont see this band even half as often as I hope to. After having a little chat with the audience we continued on with “The Warlocks Trail” which is a song they live premiered on Sabaton Open Air last year, and I’m SO. SO. SO. happy that they continue to have this song in their live roster! It’s fucking amazing, and probably even the best song on the album, despite what I might have said before, and the crowd seemed to love it as much as I did.

“Stand and Fight” was next song on the list, tightly followed by a common crowdpleaser in “Moria”. I love the fact that they’ve “chaged” the lyrics to “Show me the HORNS of Moria” instead of Roads. Loving it.

For whatever reasons, Daniel Sjögren couldn’t attend for this show, so instead former Follow The Cipher drummer Karl Löfgren filled his shoes, which is kind of half ironic considering Daniel is the new drummer in Follow The Cipher (as well as Bloodbound).  He was doing an AMAZING job filling in, don’t believe anything else!

“Dragons are Forever” was the next song they ripped off before diving into the epicness that is the titletrack of the latest album, “Rise of the Dragon Empire”. And what a RAGE this song is live? It’s the absolute bomb. More of this please!

At this point, sadly, I had to leave as Leaves’ Eyes were starting the same time Bloodbound was set to end, and them being on the Pooldeck, which is you know, 8 floors up from where Bloodbound played, it’d be quite the run. But, I made it just as the intro started rolling.

Leaves’ Eyes

The epic nordic folk kind of intro rolled as the band then headed straight into “Sign of the Dragonhead”. It was quite a small turnout, but I’m guessing this could have to do with the Liv drama, or early in the day, or Bloodbound. Either of the ones, but I don’t exactly complain, more place for me to be honest!

They continued on with the new single “Serkland” which I’m assuming will be on the upcoming album before continuing on the previous path with “Across The Sea” which simply just is the perfect song for this cruise, am I right or what?

And also, can we talk about how perfect Elina Siirala is? Seriously. It’s such a shame for her that this bands suffers so from the drama, she doesn’t deserve that because she is AMAZING.

“Swords in Rock” was the next song on the list, before staying on the same album and doing “Edge of Steel”. A part of me had hoped Simone would join them, but that was hoping for too much I guess.

And.. You know it’s funny. Besides the addition of “Serkland” I can swear this must be pretty much the same setlist they had when they played the boat two years ago as I could even predict them playing “Riders of the Wind” on the pool deck, much like they did then. But I don’t mind, that song is just a party.

“Hell to the Heavens” followed afterwards, before wrapping up with “Beowulf” and “Blazing Waters”. Another amazing set was made by this amazing line up, and I am so happy that I got to see them again. So far, highlight.

After Leaves’ Eyes we headed down toward the Playmakers sportsbar again to attend some signing sessions. I was really lucky actually, all of the bands not only me but both of us wanted to attend happened to be on the same time, or at least closely related. Lucky, huh?

So, we went down for the first signing, which was Epica. It was a bit of a line when we arrived, but much to my surprised they worked very quickly through the line, and after a mere 20 minutes it was my turn actually. Was relatively uneventful, except from the bandmembers complimenting my collection of festivalbracelets as well as Mark greeting me by name which he knew from reading my stateroom card which happened to be placed in a very visible way.

Right after this, we started lining up for Bloodbound, and it was just like, one person ahead of us, so no problems. Ivan had a clinic he wanted to attend, so he was a bit stressed. But it turned out to be no issue, as the signing moves along quickly. So, quickly grabbing the autographs of Bloodbound and Edenbridge before hitting up pool deck.

A lot of running back and forth yeah. Haggard was a band I had gotten a little hooked on when listening for the bands before the cruise, so I figured I’d grab a few songs with them before Leaves’ Eyes signing at 17.

They experiences some issues and were late with the soundcheck and had to redo the first song twice, but such things happen you know? The little timeI did watch them though, was pure magic. I remember especially the moment when they played “Awakening the Centuries”. THAT, was NOTHING but pure magic. I was really sad that I had to leave relatively early to attend the signing of Leaves’ Eyes, but it is what happens.

So imagine how disappointed I am… to see that the band, or more to be exact, Alexander, arrives late. First and foremost, there was barely any line. There was technically no one before me but I let someone pass because I’m shy as hell. And then Alexander was like 10-15 minutes late. Which means that I could have easily seen all of Haggard, and still had my signed vinyl in a reasonable time. Goddamnit.

But that aside, it was nice meeting the band and getting the signatures! After this, back to the cabin for a quick clothing change, you know, it’s getting late and colder, and then off to the Theater for Epica’s first set.

Epica

We made it there pretty good on time, not too early and not too late. Perfect timing, if you like. The intro rolled and they started off with “Sensorium”. I can tell that is has been what at least feels like ages since I saw them, and I guess more importantly since I saw them in this kind of intimate setting.

The band delievered as they always do, and the crowd was just as much on fire as the band continued on with “The Obsessive Devotion” which is really, and excuse me for overusing the word, but the bomb. “Storm the Sorrow” was next before it was time for the ever beautiful “Cry for the Moon”, and it’s about this time I realize how much I missed seeing this band live.

“In All Conscience” was next on the list, before Coen came upfront and started off “Sancta Terra” with his amazing keyintro, and seriously, nothing but perfection.

My personal favorite off “The Holographic Principle” ” Beyond the Matrix” followed and then they wrapped it all up with “Consign to Oblivion”, with a wall of death and everything.

Another amazing show by this amazing band, left us tired enough to drift away to sleep, preparing for the adventures in Mexico… But.. with a little stop in the night, as I just HAD to witness the biggest pillowfight to Origin. Which was epic. I tell you.

// Sara

 

Epica @ TRIX, Antwerpen, Belgium 18/10 – 2017

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on October 18, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, minitour. At 4 in the morning I left my place at home in Karlstad and drove all across the country (well…) to the airport. Yes, I know. Me. Driving. Truth is, I couldn’t really find a bus that would allow me to get on the plane in time, hence, this happening. I normally prefer to go by public transit otherwise, because you know, then it ain’t my problem.

Got to the airport in pretty good time, you know, around an hour or so before the plane was gonna leave – my style you know. The ride was quite uneventful, some stupid people refusing to listen to the cabin crew – if you so dearly wanted to sit together, then perhaps you should have pre-booked your seats. Idiots.

Landed in Brussels, took the train toward Antwerpen pretty instantly, because really, what is the point at staying here? Brussels is all nice and cool, but mayhaps another time. Once on the train I felt content, scared, and a bit excited. It’s the normal mixture of emotions you always get when going some place new.

Now, I’ve been in Antwerpen once before, but I was driven here by someone, and we were only here for the show. And well, I was only here for the show as well, but this time I had to you know, find my way to a hotel and everything.

It was quite easy to find, which made me really happy. What I didn’t realize is that I had managed to end up in the highly orhtodox Jew neighbourhood of Antwerpen, which was quite interesting to see. To see the differencies from different part of the city, and to discover their culture a bit.

For this stay, I had chosen Ambassador Suites Antwerp, and since I decided quite last minute, I got a big room. A room to fit four people. The kind of room we’d need for a Lordivacation, to be more exact.

Got ready in the room, and then I awaited Sjorvens arrival to have some dinner, and then head off to the show. I had decided, and yes, you will all hate me for this – to skip out on the supportbands and head straight for Epica, as this gig was really more of a “oh they are playing here so lets just go” kind of thing.

Sjorven was stuck in traffic, but eventually he made it, and we made it to, the ever so usual, McDonalds for some real on tour cuisine. But, you know what they say – time runs fast when you are having fun. So we had to rush back to the hotel, to pick up my phone that I forgot, and then to walk to Trix.

And got a bit lost, or something. So we got delayed. Like, very delayed. When we finally arrived at the venue, I heard “Essance of Silence” echoing from the inside, and not only that, but my favorite part of it. Of course, right? But on the plus side – there was no queue! No line! No waiting time! We got inside just in time for the song to be over, and “Universal Death Squad” starting.

Epica

So, as I said, “Universal Death Squad” was next on the list, which was amazing. I’m still not too big of a fan of this song, but what can you do? “Ascension” followed lead, and then “Dancing in a Hurricane”, which I love so much. That song has come to grown so much on me. And not only that, but the mood it sets in the venue. I saw several people just starting to dance. I love the oriental elements to the song… seriously.

“Victims of Contingency” was next on the list, throwing us right back into “The Quantuum Enigma” era, and my personal favorite “Unchain Utopia” was next on. I still cannot decide if it’s the band that is untight, or if I’ve fallen out of synch with this band. But it’s something that is just not right when they play it, and it has been so lately.

They wrapped up the set with “Cry for the Moon”, which always makes for a huge sing along. The venue is not that big, but it felt like it was thousands of people in there, let me tell you.

The band thanked for the show, and left the stage. Coen very soon came back in, starting off as he usually does with his handheld keyboard – apparently all the other keyboards fell down, and for once, he was left with only this.

“Beyond The Matrix” was on the list, and the whole arena bounced. It’s good to see a show down on the continent, where the audiences are actually good, you know. And pyro! They wrapped up the entire set with “Consign to Oblivion”. Sjorven joined the wall of death, and then he never came out. I sort of panicked for a second. TRIX isn’t THAT big, how the hell does someone vanish like that?

After the song, the band thanked for the evening, took their mandatory picture and left the stage for good this time. I went off toward the front row to try to find Cyril which I knew would be here, and gladly, after finding him I also found Sjorven. Who had gotten me a setlist, what a precious person.

After saying all of our good byes and all, we walked home toward the hotel, which took a lot longer than it should. We were stopped on the road asking if we had cocaine, so we were like, yeah, lets just get out of here.

Eventually we made it back, I got up to my room and Sjorven went home. I packed up my stuff and prepared for the next day, as I was heading off toward Vosselaar.

// Sara

Epica – The Solace System

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on September 28, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

One year after the release of ”The Holographic Principle” Epica releases a six track long EP called ”The Solace System”. The six tracks featured are songs that got left over from the writing process of the last album, yet songs they did not want to go to waste. And now, we have this EP.

The EP opens quite powerfully with the opening track ”The Solace System”, which is somewhat what I’d expect of any Epica album. The EP continues with a heavier and rougher track in ”Fight Your Demons” Before exploding in the epic and greatness that is ”Architect of Light” before going back into the heaviness and roughness. There’s a beautiful little breakdown with ”Immortal Melancholy” to break off the pounding before tying up the album with ”Decoded Poetry”. It’s following the same theme of quantuum physics kind of lyrics, so no real new surprises there.

I like the EP. I think it’s a nice break off from The Holographic Principle, and I understand that they had a hard time not releasing this, and I’m glad they did as I really enjoy it. It’s very much the same old that we are used to with Epica – epic arrangements, bombastic song and catchy melodylines. Sadly, as far as this EP goes, nothing really new for them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, now does it?

Favorite song: Now You’ll Never Know
Least Favorite:
Dance-friendliness:  2/6
Headbang-friendliness:  4/ 6
Crowd-friendliness: 1/6

// Sara

Graspop Metal Meeting Day 1: Friday

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 16, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, first day of Graspop! It was a cloudy day, but I was hopeful. I got up somewhat early today – Battle Beast was scheduled to start already at 13, which is, well, not super-early, but early enough. Got ready, headed out of the tent off I went to the festival grounds.

Battle Beast

I arrived at the stage a little before the show began, in order to get a good spot. Which was somewhat impossible, seeing the front row had been claimed by Rammstein fans. Oh well, shit happens I guess? Second row works fine – especially since it wasn’t any pressure or so. A lot of people, though.

Right on time the band entered the stage and opened with “Straight to the Heart”, and quickly followed it up with “Bringer of Pain”. The band was good, Noora is insane, but the crowd… Perhaps it’s because of my location, but you could tell the people around me wasn’t exactly there for Battle Beast, to put it that way.

“Familiar Hell” was next on the list, and then “Black Ninja”. The last one is a song that has started to grown on me quite a lot lately, and I was very happy that they did “Lost in Wars”, following this. For “Bastard Son of Odin” I was pointed out as one of the very few ACTUAL sons, well, daughters, of Odin in a crowd full of… whatever they are. They wrapped the set up with “King for a Day” and “Beyond the Burning Skies”.

It was a good show – a good start on the festival, if you will. However, I really, REALLY miss “Touch in the Night”. It’s mine and Laura’s song, and even though she wasn’t there, I miss it.

Right after the last song, I hurried of REAL quickly to the Jupiler stage to catch AS IT IS.

AS IT IS

AS IT IS did in fact start while Battle Beast was still playing sadly, so I missed out the start. But I just can’t leave Battle Beast, you know?

By the time I got there, they were already at “Concrete” in their setlist, so that became the first song for me as far as AS IT IS goes. “Cheap Shots & Setbacks” was next on the list, and the band was very energetic. “No Way Out” was next, followed by “Soap”.

The crowd for AS IT IS wasn’t superbig, but the crowd that attended gave off good vibes. Sometimes you know, a smaller crowd is better than a bigger one. “Austen” followed suit, and then “Can’t Save Myself”. And then… You know.

There are two songs I really like with this band – “Pretty Little Distance” and “Dial Tones”. I’m not going to go in on further details as to why, I just do. I was convinced that “Pretty Little Distance” was going to be the opening song, but on the same time, I had no clue – I have never seen this band before, I don’t know their habits. So imagine how happy I was when they announced no other song than “Pretty Little Distance” was the next song.

“Hey Rachel” was next on the list, until they wrapped up the set with “Dial Tones” and I was in pretty much a euphoric state. It was such a good show – such a rush to watch.

After AS IT IS, I headed back to the mainstages to attend Battle Beast’s signingsession… which was cancelled. I did instead get the oppurtunity to hang out a bit with Cyril, which was awesome.

As this happened, I walked around the grounds for some time, hoping to make it to Epicas signingsession… which didn’t happen. What the hell. Oh well, I went back to the camp to rest and deal with some things before I headed back to the festivalgrounds to see Epica.

Epica

So Epica – I arrived a bit late, just before they started, so I was walking to their stage as “Eidola” was echoing through the air, and as I arrived, “Edge of the Blade” started echoing out. It was quickly followed by “The Phantasmic Parade”.

Epica had a big crowd for the day – bigger than I remember them having the last time I saw them play at Graspop, so that was good to see. “The Essance of Silence” was next, followed by “Ascension”. Despite the big turn up, I actually have to admit that the feeling in the crowd wasn’t… really that great. I’ll admit that I was standing pretty far away from the stage, so perhaps it was better closer, but it didn’t seem like it sadly.

My personal favorite “Unchain Utopia” was next in the set, followed by “Cry for the Moon”, and then.. “Sancta Terra”. Which was… at first somewhat unsuccesful when the keyboard wouldn’t really work. And.. I’m not sure if it was technical problems, or simply a bad day, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard Epica be this untight. Like… I rarely feel like I’ve experienced bad gigs, but this was not exactly a gig I’d tell the grandkids about, so to put it.

“Beyond the Matrix” and “Consign to Oblivion” wrapped up this, relatively short set of Epica, and despite all the issues – I thank them. I did actually miss seeing them.

Europe

Right after Epica, I headed off to the other mainstage to witness Europe, a band I haven’t seen in ages. It was a really nice show, but it got even better when I managed to meet up with Ida and Adam from Camp Ellen again. Europe delivered a real good set, I was happy to see them.

After this, we headed back to the camp grounds of Camp Ellen and hung out, associating with each other and just… chilling before we headed back to the festival grounds to catch Rammstein.

Rammstein

So, I’ve always been fond of Rammstein, but never considered myself a fan. But I really looked forward to see them – and what a show it was! I enjoyed every single minute of it, even though I have to admit I was going for “Trink Capri Sonne” rather than “Hier Kommt Die Sonne”. Yes. I went there. But really, amazing show. Would see again.

After the show, we headed back to the camp and to bed, preparing for next days endaevours.

// Sara

 

March in Music

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

A little delay, here comes the report of how I listened to music in March. First off, most played bands.

5. Amaranthe

This still doesn’t strike me as a chock, since they are the bands with the most songs total in my on-the-go iPod, even thought it doesn’t feel like I listen to them that much. But apparently, I do!

4. Sabaton

Not a big shocker. I did honestly think they’d be higher seeing I’ve seen quite a few shows with them this month, but I guess not. Still going strong in the top though. I blame my sudden love for “Blood of Bannockburn” for this.

3. Battle Beast

Ah here they are! An excellent release in “Bringer of Pain” and a show that was better than most sends the group up to a higher place. I swear to God, “Bastard Son of Odin” is really MY song. Seriously.

2. Epica

Epica delivered some great shows in Helsinki and Stockholm, and “The Holographic Principle” is such an awesome album.

1. Twilight Force

Well, I guess this answers why Sabaton has been so low this month – it’s the introduction of Twilight Force. I feel so stupid, because I’ve rapidly grown to like them a lot, and well, it feels stupid – this is all honesty, as I have so many friends who are already into them, and here I come a little late. Well, at least I never spoke shit about them. So, with that said, I’m not surprised they are on top!

Lets move onto albums.

5. Bringer of Pain

No surprise! The new little masterpiece by Finlands now, in my eyes, most promising bands. I’m certain my love for “Bastard Son of Odin” is pushing this a little bit higher, but aside that – this is one killer album.

4. The Power of the Ancient Force

Well, considering Twilight Force is amongst the bands in my top artists, it’s not a big surprise their albums would make it onto the list. “The Power of the Ancient Force” is their debut album, and I really like it.

3. As I Lay Me Down (Single)

This is awesome. So, you know how I love Wiktoria? This is the single for that very song, and it has made the third place on most played album. And very well so, the song is just that fucking amazing.

2. Heroes of Mighty Magic

Another one of Twilight Force’s albums, I think this one might be a tad more epic than the previous, but it’s too soon for me to say too much already to be honest. Check back in a month or two, haha.

1 . The Holographic Principle

This album is absolute killer, and not to mention, “Beyond the Matrix”. Seriously, I just love that song so much. This album has quickly climbed to be one of my favorites, but if it’s just a new crush or forever, is yet to see.

And lastly, songs. Last.FM really shows you top ten songs, but I’ll cut it down to five.

3. Touch in the Night – Battle Beast

Battle Beasts flagship is you like, and also my personal favorite. This song has so many memories to it, I can barely count anymore how many trips has this song as their “song of the trip”.

3. Bastard Son of Odin – Battle Beast

Another one of Battle Beast’s, another favorite, but a different album. Seriously, this is my personal bootcamp song.

3. The Real Me – Art Nation

So, you probably noticed how there’s three 3’s, and this is because all of these songs had the same amount of plays.  Art Nation’s first single of the upcoming album, and I just love it that much. I can’t get over it. At all.

2. Emergency – H.E.A.T

Oldie but goldie! This song has rapidly risen, and it’s just… When you have so much music around, it’s easy to forget what you have, and then all of a sudden you just rediscover it and realize how much you love it. I’m so happy H.E.A.T is making new music again finally, I cannot wait.

1 . As I Lay Me Down – Wiktoria

Well, no surprise. I’ve been obsessed with this song ever since I first saw her in Melodifestivalen, and I cannot stop listening to this. Honestly. Beyond amazing. I’m eager to check out more of her stuff later.

So. That was that recap. I always find it somewhat facinating to see what songs you do actually listen to, and which you don’t.

// Sara

 

Epica @ Debaser Strand, Stockholm, Sweden 1/3-17

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 1, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So! Off again. I had made sure everything was going to move smoothly – not a lot of deadtime, but also no stress, so my plane would be taking off from Vaanta at 14:50, leaving me an hour or so in the city after check out. I headed off to Cybershop to pick up some new shoelaces – I crave those shoelaces, and then I headed off to the airport to get checked in and having my breakfast or more like lunch there.

Of course, as it has it, the plane is delayed. Because why would it run smoothly for once? Gladly it for one, wasn’t a very long delay, and secondly, they always say it takes longer time to travel than it actually does, and a very smooth boarding helped. Once in Stockholm, only ten minute delayed in the end, I headed into the city only to learn the bus will ALSO be a bit delayed because of an incident on the road. Incredible isn’t it?

What a good thing I had a hotel pretty close to the center. Rushed off the hotel, got myself ready for the show and then met up with Robert to have some dinner and catch up time before going off to the venue. And gladly, despite everything, I made it just in time for Skálmöld.

Skálmöld

Skálmöld played a 45 minute set – a very energetic set! I was happy to see that they had a lot of fans in the audience, and I really enjoyed the show. I’ve listened a little bit to them previously, and they were even better live! Thank you!

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Epica

So, precisely 20.30 “Eidola” started echoing out of the speakers and the opened with “Edge of the Blade” with, if possible more energy than in Helsinki. Perhaps they got more sleep this time around? Debaser on the other hand is a very small venue – takes the price of the smallest venue I’ve seen Epica in – I dare to say it’s smaller than the venue in Auckland.

170301epica1stockholmdebaser

“A Phantasmic Parade” was next on the list followed by “Sensorium”, much to the happiness of the crowd! I must admit, I wasn’t too impressed by the crowd – I know the Swedish metal scene can do so much better. Why is it, as soon as you go up here in the North, people get boring?

170301epica2stockholmdebaser

Next song on the list was from the latest album, “Universal Death Squad” before launching right into “Martyr of the Free Word”, thus cutting out “The Essence of Silence” which is one of my own personal favorites. I don’t know why they did this, but I reckon they had a reason. But seriously, I’ve grown to love this song beyond. Seriously. The rhythms!

170301epica4stockholmdebaser

“The Obsessive Devotion” was next, followed by “Ascension”. I’m so happy to hear Simone singing fully, singing her heart out as compared to London. It’s just.. I can’t even. The funky “Dancing in a Hurricane” followed, and seriously… I just love this song, and I love the vibe. It was really nice seeing them in such an intimate place – there were no fence, which seems to have become standard for me nowadays.

170301epica7stockholmdebaser

My own personal favorite “Unchain Utopia” was next, and in Helsinki, they had been a little off beat, but this time, much better! And it was fun to see Isaac play around and adding some extra guitarparts to the otherwise pretty silent verses, brought new dimensions. I love it.

170301epica8stockholmdebaser

They wrapped up the set with “Once Upon a Nightmare” before leaving the stage.

Coen came back on stage with his bent keyboard and started teasing “Sancta Terra”, soon joined by Arjen and Isaac, and kicked off the song. This time, Simone did NOT have a laugh attack, so we got to enjoy the song in full.

170301epica9stockholmdebaser

The days work out routine followed (“Beyond the Matrix”), and you know… I have already said it before that this is one of my favorite songs, but I can’t even describe the feeling I get from this song. It’s beyond me.

They wrapped up the set with “Consign to Oblivion”, and I really had to facepalm. As per usual, they ask for a Wall of Death, and Rob and Isaac even goes out in the crowd to be a “part of it”. Despite counting down, and being split up, nothing happened on “GO”. After a while some people got it, and started moshing a bit. But seriously. That was just embarrasing. METAL SWEDEN?! COME ON! It was nice to have Rob and Isaac in the audience though, they remained there for most of the song.

170301epica6stockholmdebaser

After this, the band thanked for themselves and walked off stage.

Thank you Epica, this gig, despite the lack of “Essence”, it was an amazing show – and I’m so glad I got to share this tour just a few more times with you guys. I love you endlessly. Until next time!

// Sara

 

Epica @ Tavastia, Helsinki, Finland 28/2 – 17

Posted in Concerts, Finland, Music, Travels, Uncategorized with tags , , on February 28, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Well! It isn’t very long since I returned home from the last “tour” in the United States, but no rest for the wicked, right? Off I was on an early bus to catch a not-so-early-flight to Helsinki. It was weird, but also somewhat relaxing to for once this time be on a short haul flight after all these long hauls.

Once in Helsinki, I met up with a dear old friend that I hadn’t met in the longest of times – Argo. You remember him? The guy I used to travel everywhere with because of Lordi? Yeah that’s right. Turns out he was coming. As I took a somewhat late flight, the first thing we did was getting to the hotel and then getting out on the town for a quick look around before getting back and getting ready for the evening.

We headed over to Vapiano for dinner and then off we were to Tavastia. We were running a little late because of reasons, so we missed out on most of the supportband – however, the supportband for this evening was Crimson Sun, assumingly a finnish band and the little we heard sounded great!

Epica

So, exactly on time as scheduled – 22.00, “Eidola” started echoing through the speakers as the lights went down, and the band slowly entered the stage and later opened with “Edge of the Blade”. Much to my delighted eye, Simone was wearing the “Holographic” dress as I’d call it – the silver black one. I rarely comment on clothing on the musicians, but this time I just have to since I’ve been in love with this dress ever since it was presented.

“A Phantasmic Parade” was the next song on the set, followed by “Sensorium” and “Universal Death Squad” and I must admit… I was a little disappointed in the crowd. They were somewhat responsive, but not at all what I’d be used to when it comes to Epica. Gladly, it did pick up a little. The band delivered really well – last time I saw them Simone seemed to be a bit off, but today everything was going just fine.

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“The Essence of Silence” followed suit, and I think this is around the moment where Simone would drop her microphone. I’m pointing this out, not because it’s bad, but because this is probably the first time I see this band being anything but “perfect” as far as behavior goes. It was funny. And then, what seemed to be a big audience favorite in “Marty of the Free Word”. “The Obsessive Devotion” was the next song, and finally we start get some action in the crowd! I’m glad to see that something started to happen, so the band would have something to go on.

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“Ascension” was next on the list, followed by “Dancing in a Hurricane”, and I seriously love the vibe this song sets, especially live. My own personal favorite – “Unchain Utopia” was next on the list and I cannot describe my love for this song. I don’t know if it is that very special bond you have to the first song you discover a band with, or if it simply is that amazingly good, but every time Simone starts singing the first lines, it’s like something just awakens.

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“Once Upon a Nightmare” wrapped up the set for the night, and the band left the stage. They later returned, starting off with “Sancta Terra” which would become very interesting. Coen fooled around with Simone, leading her to have so much of a laughing attack that she had to leave the stage numerous of times throughout the set, missing out big parts of the song.

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“Beyond the Matrix”, my personal favorite off “The Holographic Principle” was next, and I was very happy to see all of Tavastia jumping with with the band. Again, this song live was just… Indescribable.

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The wrapped up the entire set with a Wall of Death and “Consign to Oblivion” before saying their good byes and leaving the stage.

This even was really good. Despite being sleepdeprived, as Mark claimed, they really delivered. I’m just thinking back to the London show and this was so many times better, I guess it helps it’s in the beginning of a tour. Thank you Epica, for this amazing night! I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow.

// Sara