Epica brought their North American Principle Tour through Toronto's Phoenix Concert Hall last month, in support of their new album, 'The Holographic Principle.' 'The Holographic Principle' was released on September 30th via Nuclear Blast Records.
While their it took a full four years between their last two visits, this marked the second time in less than a year that Epica has brought their enchanting brand of symphonic metal through town.
This particular evening featured a eclectic lineup of acts spanning the hard rock and metal genre that was sure to leave any fan fully satisfied. Despite the almost-last minute pullout of Xandria from the bill, fans were still treated to a great show from start to finish.
The evening was kicked off by Atmora, a new symphonic metal act out of Windsor, Ontario. They took the stage in what appeared to be their biggest show to date, and took every moment of the big stage in stride. Singer Bailey Soulliere fronted the band with a charming and powerful persona, complete with all the gothic trimmings one would expect from this genre. While Atmora served as an excellent warm-up and a more than apt stand-in for Xandria, this was the last of the symphonic metal until later in the show.
The Agonist took the stage next. Currently, they're supporting their newest effort, 'Five,' also released September 30th on Napalm Records. This is the second album with current singer Vicky Psarakis. If anyone had arrived this particular evening wondering if Vicky was up to the task of replacing former singer Alissa White-Gluz, they certainly left with their answer. The Agonist is bigger than ever, and packs a collective punch likely to leave any news fans proclaiming "you have to see them live!" They mixed their set with songs from their previous two albums ("The Villain," "The Hunt," and "My Witness, You're Victim"), as well as classics such as "Panophobia" and "Thank You, Pain." The biggest challenge with such a high energy act like this so early in the set, is that it's over by the time they're fully warmed up.
Fleshgod Apocalypse took the stage as the final opener. They brought the most extreme blend of music for the evening, with a truly unique steampunk type of death metal. Their stage presence alone was enough to captive the audience, but they brought a serious authenticity along with it. Hailing from Perugia, Italy and coming up on ten years together, they are touring in support of their latest album, 'King' released earlier this year on Nuclear Blast Records. While Fleshgod Apocalypse may not fit into the symphonic metal genre, they were an entertaining surprise and absolutely worth checking out.
Finally, Epica took the stage at approximately 10:45pm. Following the intro music ("Eidola"), they opened with "Edge of the Blade" and went straight into "A Phantasmic Parade" to cover the first three songs from their newest album. The entire band commanded the stage like metal royalty, enjoying every ounce of energy they received back from the audience as they continued their their set. Singer Simone Simons had her fans captivated from the onset, and she paid respect to her fans devotion throughout the evening as the crowd was treated to a huge sample of new material. They did reach back to 'The Divine Conspiracy' for a pair of songs with "The Obsessive Devotion," a high point of the evening, and "Sancta Terra," which they opened their encore with.
Throughout the evening, their set included nine of the twelve songs on 'The Holographic Principle,' providing an impressive display of confidence in their new material. As a fan of live music, and seeing my favorite bands as often as possible; it's always refreshing to see a band pay so much respect to the music they want us to go out and purchase.
After over four hours of performances, those in attendance filed out in excitement over the great show they had just attended, already anxious for their next opportunity. While we don't know when the next opportunity to see Epica or any of the rest of the bands on this bill will be, we're fortunate that the European metal scene enjoys touring through North America so heavily over the last several years. Fans in Toronto are sure to keep their calendars full with upcoming shows throughout the next year.
Epica - Setlist:
1. Edge of the Blade
2. A Phantasmic Parade
4. Universal Death Squad
5. Divide and Conquer
7. The Obsessive Devotion
8. Ascension - Dream State Armageddon
9. Mother of Light
10. Dancing in a Hurricane
11. Unchain Utopia
12. Once Upon a Nightmare
13. Sancta Terra
14. Beyond the Matrix
15. Consign to Oblivion
EPICA - Edge Of The Blade (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE - Cold As Perfection (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)
THE AGONIST - The Hunt (Official Video) | Napalm Records
Atmora - Rosie (Single)