EPICA MYRKUR/OCEANS OF SLUM­BER

Si­mone Si­mons heads up a night of dra­matic highs

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Lives - DAN­NII LEIVERS

The Three bands

on this Ham­mer-spon­sored tour may come from dis­parate cor­ners of our world but they all share a cer­tain pen­chant for the dra­matic. Open­ers OCEANS OF SLUM­BER’S [8] rep­u­ta­tion has pre­ceded them. Hav­ing been en­tranced by the Tex­ans’ ex­cel­lent new al­bum, The Ban­ished Heart, plenty of met­allers have turned up early to ex­pe­ri­ence its se­duc­tive charms live. The doomy prog met­allers’ ap­proach dif­fers from the head­lin­ers’ star-en­crusted histri­on­ics, but nonethe­less, their mourn­ful ele­gance ramps up the ten­sion. Vo­cal­ist Cam­mie Gil­bert is ut­terly be­witch­ing in floor-length black lace and as her rich, soul­ful vo­cals en­twine with churn­ing Par­adise Lost-like riffs on A Path To Bro­ken

Stars and The De­cay Of The Dis­re­gard, it cre­ates a cine­matic am­bi­ence that’s sump­tu­ous as vel­vet and heavy with emo­tion.

This is the sec­ond time MYRKUR [9] has brought her full band to the cap­i­tal since the re­lease of last year’s Mareridt. The first was a slightly anaemic per­for­mance that saw Amalie Bruun play it safe with the more grue­some el­e­ments of her sound but this time round all cau­tion and mis­giv­ings have been tossed to the wind. Sound­ing haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful and yet hor­rif­i­cally grisly where she needs to be, this time Amalie gets the bal­ance right. Her weight­less vo­cals on the frosty pa­gan folk of

De Tre Piker and Vøl­vens Spå­dom hyp­no­tise the crowd into spell­bound silence, al­low­ing chilly claus­tro­pho­bia to grip the room like icy fin­gers while, amid in­tense, swarm­ing gui­tars, Måneblôt is ev­ery bit as pow­er­ful and sus­pense­ful as we knew it could be. Cathar­tic and af­fect­ing, tonight proves just how spe­cial Myrkur is.

EPICA [8] have been op­er­at­ing on full pelt for some time now, hav­ing re­leased some of their best mu­sic in the last few years with 2016’s The Holo­graphic Prin­ci­ple and last year’s gem of an EP, The So­lace Sys­tem. Tonight’s per­for­mance oozes with con­fi­dence and su­perla­tive show­man­ship – from start to fin­ish, this is Epica at their most epic. Si­mone Si­mons’ evoca­tive vo­cals sound mag­i­cal up against bom­bas­tic choirs and thrilling, or­ches­tra-laden in­stru­men­ta­tion, with vis­ceral, melodic riffs adding ex­tra dy­nam­ics to Uni­ver­sal Death Squad and Un­leashed. The band’s set is also their most lav­ish yet, with as many lights packed on­stage as pos­si­ble, while key­boardist Coen Janssen em­braces ev­ery inch of sym­phonic metal’s pre­pos­ter­ous, silly side by barg­ing his key­board around the stage on its own track. Some­one put this band in an arena pronto.

Si­mon Si­mons: Epica’s own red priest­ess

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