Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA will release their seventh studio album, "The Holographic Principle" on September 30 via Nuclear Blast. The CD was produced by Joost van der Broek at Sandlane Recording Facilities and was mixed by Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, DESTRUCTION). The cover artwork was created by Stefan Heilemann.
"The Holographic Principle" track listing:
02. Edge Of The Blade
03. A Phantasmic Parade
04. Universal Death Squad
05. Divide And Conquer
06. Beyond The Matrix
07. Once Upon A Nightmare
08. The Cosmic Algorithm
09. Ascension - Dream State Armageddon
10. Dancing In A Hurricane
11. Tear Down Your Walls
12. The Holographic Principle - A Profound Understanding Of Reality
The band commented: "'The Holographic Principle' deals with the near future wherein virtual reality has taken off and allows people to create their own virtual worlds which can't be distinguished from 'reality as we know it.' This raises the question whether our current reality is a kind of virtual reality on itself, a hologram. This implies the existence of a higher reality which we currently do not have access to. The lyrics challenge you to think out of the box, to reconsider everything you thought to know for sure and to be open-minded towards recent revolutions in science. Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a ride as nothing appears to be what it seems in our holographic universe."
Speaking to Spark TV, which is part of the Czech monthly magazine Spark, EPICA singer Simone Simons stated about the follow-up to 2014's "The Quantum Enigma": "It's a huge amount of songs, it's a lot of information, it's a lot to take in, but we put everything in this record and we hope that it will pay off and that the people will feel what we feel when we listen to it."
She added: "Since 'The Quantum Enigma' was received so well, we set the bar so high, but we accepted the challenge to make an even better record. And we've done everything bigger than before — we had more orchestra, a bigger choir. We had so many different instruments — real, live instruments. Vocally, I put everything in the record that I can possibly do, and I'm very pleased with it."
According to Simone, she has once again experimented a bit with her vocal approach on the new album. "With each record, I try to get the best out," she said. "And Joost [van den Broek], our producer, he's also very good at getting everything out of me. And the songs themselves, they just ask for a lot of variation in the vocal style. And I do opera, rock, pop, and in the ballads you hear the really soft voice. And, yeah, I can belt out some high notes as well."
Even though "The Holographic Principle" is one of EPICA's most ambitious offerings to date, the album doesn't sacrifice any of its instant appeal, something which Simone says was intentional. "I think it needs to be all in balance," she said. "We are, in heart, a metal band going in the symphonic direction. The orchestration, the choir is a little bit like the seventh and eighth bandmember of EPICA, and that's something we'll always keep in there. And the choir parts are often very catchy, the choruses are very catchy. But on this record, besides having catchy melodies, we also wanted to have really groovy vocal lines. And that's something that we worked on as well; we changed up some things to make it less predictable."
One of the aspects of EPICA's sound which has been enhanced on "The Holographic Principle" is the growling vocal style of EPICA guitarist and main songwriter Mark Jansen. "Well, it's Mark and it's actually our drummer as well," Simone said. "Mark is the main grunter, and our drummer, Ariën [van Weesenbeek], has a really nice, thick sound. So I don't know if he sang all the grunt parts as well, if he doubled them with Mark, but them together makes a totally new grunt sound, and I like it. Also, it changes it up a bit. Mark can do also really low grunts, he can do screams, and Ariën really has that deep sound to it."
Simone also praised the contributions of EPICA guitarist Isaac Delahaye, who came into the band in 2009. "The guitars are definitely more brutal," she said. "Also in the mix, the melodies, the grooves, and I think that ever since Isaac joined the band, not only as a songwriter but also the guitars have been lifted to a different level, and have become more interesting to listen to, I find myself. So I'm a big fan of his guitar work and also his songwriting."