Chris Loomis

Epica: Omega Alive – 6/12/2021

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After 15 months of the world being shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, livestream concerts have become commonplace in the music world. As live music slowly starts to be permitted as the world is opening back up, Dutch symphonic metal masters Epica performed an EPIC (no pun intended) livestream titled “Omega Alive” on Saturday June 12 at noon PST to celebrate their eighth studio album Omega which was released on February 26 2021 via Nuclear Blast records.

When you tuned into the livestream at noon, fellow symphonic metal band Off the Cross from Belgium played a brief set to “open” the livestream broadcast to get all the virtual crowd primed and ready. After a brief 15-minute intermission Epica took the massive virtual stage and kicked off about a 1 hour and forty minute performance that consisted of five sections:

Act I – Ωvertura
Act II – Magnituda
Act III – Elysia
Act IV – Gravita
Act V – Alpha ♾ Omega

The band opened the show with the live debut of the crushing first song off Omega, “Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity”. Immediately you knew this was going to one of the finest livestream shows that has been put together by the multiple camera angles, the massive stage setup that was flanked by two large metal cobras, the pyrotechnics and the backup dancers not to mention the energy and passion that was displayed by all band members.

The immediate aspect of Epicas music that pulls you in are the mesmerizing Mezzo-soprano (think opera style) vocals of Simone Simons. Her vocal ability is as stunningly beautiful as her appearance and you would never know this was her first real show in over a year. Complimenting her vocals and a trademark to the Epica sound is the death-metal growls of guitarist/vocalist Mark Jansen. The two have almost a beauty and the beast element to them and their vocal trade-offs work so well together throughout each song.

In addition to “Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity”, the band debuted five other songs off the new album blended in with music from across their 20-year existence. Lead guitarist Isaac Delahaye was certainly having fun with constant smiles as he belted out the riffs. The rhythm section of drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek and bass player Rob van der Loo were on point and Coen Janssen was as flamboyant as ever behind his keyboards and out center stage with his keytar (and he even played a fully fire engulfed piano at one point).

Although the band and the music was the main attraction, you have to give kudos to the production team. It was like a Cirque du Soleil meets Heavy Metal with dancers, acrobats, lots of fire and smoke, just an amazing production behind the band throughout the performance. Simons made several wardrobe changes, it was a magical journey into the abyss of Epica.

One of the highlights of the show was Simons singing “Rivers” a capella with only a sea of background vocalists on stage with her. This was another live debut and you really get to appreciate her vocal talents on this song.

Another highlight was the performance of “Cry for the Moon” off the bands 2003 debut album The Phantom Agony. This song was accompanied by live footage throughout the bands career – kind of a retrospective look at how far the band has come in the last 20 years. Simons also spoke to the virtual crowd during this song stating that “Cry for the Moon” was their Alpha and now 20 years later they are celebrating their Omega.

The last few songs of the performance were grand as there was more pyro, more dancers and more emotion and energy from the band and LOTS of headbanging and hair flying. They ended the show with another new song “Omega – Sovereign of the Sun Spheres” and bam the show was over.

The wonderful aspect of a livestream is it is usually available online for a bit after the initial broadcast. Go to https://epicastream.com/ and you can still purchase a ticket to watch the livestream through June 15.

After that performance, the world is more eager than ever for a tour announcement and to see Epica perform live in person.

Epica Setlist:

Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity (Live debut) | The Skeleton Key (Live debut) | Unchain Utopia | The Obsessive Devotion | In All Conscience | Victims of Contingency | Kingdom of Heaven | Kingdom of Heaven ~ Part III – The Antediluvian Universe (Live debut) | Rivers (Live debut; a capella) | Once Upon a Nightmare | Freedom – The Wolves Within (Live debut) | Cry for the Moon | Beyond the Matrix | Omega – Sovereign of the Sun Spheres (Live debut)

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