One of the things I like about Epica is that although they play Symphonic metal with luscious female vocals, early on in their career they managed to carve out their own path and identity in this well-worn genre.
Existing alongside, yet separate from, peers such as Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Lacuna Coil, Epica managed to imbue a familiar format with their own personality and have pretty much gone from strength to strength ever since. Part of the band’s enduring appeal and differentiation at least partially comes from the fact that their interpretation of the style has more power metal accoutrements than most.
This EP consists of songs that the band viewed as being too good to be released merely as bonus tracks for The Holographic Principle, and who are we to argue? There’s half an hour of new material on this release, and it manages to easily uphold the high levels of quality that Epica are known for.
The tracks follow on naturally from their previous album, as you would expect, with all of the bombastic grandeur and overblown orchestration that you would want from the band. Well-written and easily digested, there’s still enough substance to satisfy, and like last year’s full length the end result is both satisfying and enjoyable.
The songs are strong examples of Epica’s brand of symphonic metal, rendered with a crystal clear production and more heaviness and bite than you might expect.
The Solace System shows that Epica are still at the height of their powers, and is a highly recommended listen for anyone who’s looking for some substantial, satisfying orchestral metal.