EPICA MYRKUR/OCEANS OF SLUMBER
Simone Simons heads up a night of dramatic highs
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  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  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  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