Epica – The Holographic Principle (Nuclear Blast)

  Van Muylem    26 september 2016

Well, this is my first Epica review ever and I’m a bit nervous, as I know these are smart guys, are touring all over the world and sold lots of CD. Still, I decide to review the album without looking around me and let the music feed me with words to describe what I hear …

Before we start with the review, I’ll show you some info, taken from Wikipedia:


“The holographic principle is a property of string theories and a supposed property of quantum gravity that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a lower-dimensional boundary to the region—preferably a light-like boundary like a gravitational horizon. First proposed by Gerard 't Hooft, it was given a precise string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind who combined his ideas with previous ones of 't Hooft and Charles Thorn. As pointed out by Raphael Bousso, Thorn observed in 1978 that string theory admits a lower-dimensional description in which gravity emerges from it in what would now be called a holographic way.


In a larger sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as two-dimensional information on the cosmological horizon, the event horizon from which information may still be gathered and not lost due to the natural limitations of space-time supporting a black hole, an observer and a given setting of these specific elements, such that the three dimensions we observe are an effective description only at macroscopic scales and at low energies. Cosmological holography has not been made mathematically precise, partly because the particle horizon has a non-zero area and grows with time.

The holographic principle was inspired by black hole thermodynamics, which conjectures that the maximal entropy in any region scales with the radius squared, and not cubed as might be expected. In the case of a black hole, the insight was that the informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole might be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon. The holographic principle resolves the black hole information paradox within the framework of string theory. However, there exist classical solutions to the Einstein equations that allow values of the entropy larger than those allowed by an area law, hence in principle larger than those of a black hole. These are the so-called "Wheeler's bags of gold". The existence of such solutions conflicts with the holographic interpretation, and their effects in a quantum theory of gravity including the holographic principle are not yet fully understood.”

Yup, I know: it’s Epica and they are really smart people, so let’s get over to the music! Symphonic and female fronted metal has always been my kind of thing; however I can also listen to Neil Young, David Bowie or Sylver

Eidola is the intro for the album. It sounds pretty dramatic, tense, harmonic and with some angels singing, led by a singing child. The choir gives it more strength. The percussion is very impressive! Edge Of The Blade throws a bomb from the first note: it’s fast, hard and heavy. Simone takes the soft side, whilst the choir chooses for the more energetic part, whilst drums are hard hitting. The grunting is also worth it. The song even becomes halfway pretty catchy! The choir is really impressive! The drums sound like shooting with a heavy military automatic gun. A smile shows up when I suddenly hear the phrase “Watch your back” (yay for Skeptical Minds). A Phantasmic Parade sounds pretty angelic, until the guitars & symphonic explodes. The chorus is pretty powerful. The song gets heavier once the heavy grunting appears. The end is a big boom! It’s loud and heavy, just as it should be! Another hard blow comes with Universal Death Squad. Luckily we get every now and then some time to catch some breath! It all sounds pretty impressive (for sure the symphonic and the vocals). The technical skills of the musicians are also clearly proved, they even overpass themselves! Divide And Conquer is a typical symphonic beauty versus the beast pearl! The synth and the choir play an important role It’s strong, fast and heavy and will be for sure a hard hitter on stage! Beyond The Matrix: here the choir and the bombastic symphonic sound play an important role, followed by the hammering drums and sharp guitars. I hear another classic live track! Once Upon A Nightmare is a nice title, led by a chello/violin (during the ouverture). Once Simone starts to sing I can imagine that the crowd gets very humbled and out of respect gets very silently. I hear clearly a nightingale singing. Slowly the song gets a higher tempo, gets more power. You’ll get some goosebumps, shed a tear until we hear the first sonic blast. After this first blast, the pathos takes over, the choir jumps in …  It’s a new sonic blast and o so pure and strong! I really adore this track for its purity! The Cosmic Algorithm goes back to the regular Epica sound: symphonic, strong choir/vocals, technically perfect, it’s fast and bombastic. I was never good at maths, but this one sounds like music in my ears! Ascension - Dream State Armageddon goes on with the bombastic and aggressive sound mixing grunts with a heavenly choir. Dancing In A Hurricane has Arabic influences, sounds a bit softer than the rest, but explodes halfway. The tempo comes and goes, a bit like in waves. There are even some head banging moments. Arms might go in the air and there might even be some crowd surfing! Tear Down Your Walls sounds pretty aggressive and explodes pretty fast (almost like a comet who has been hit by an explosive device). It’s hard, heavy and loud, just like lots of fans will love it! Now and then we get some time to catch our breath before exploding again and again … I feel it will work out fine on stage! The title track
The Holographic Principle - A Profound Understanding Of Reality is closing this impressive album and starts with sacred chants in Latin. Later on the piano and a chello take over. They will break your heart with its sensitive touch until the grunting tears it apart. The bombastic sound rejoices, followed by the rebirth of our nightingale. It’s simply a magical end for an enchanting album!

I’m impressed! I hope to see them on stage and check my thoughts of their live power!

1/2/2017 in the AB, together with Powerwolf and Beyond The Black.