Back in the early 2000’s I was introduced to a genre of music known as Symphonic Metal by a friend who thought it’d be up my alley due to my background in orchestra, my fondness of gothic visuals & costumes, and my years getting classically trained as a soprano. Up until then, I’d always assumed that metal music was extremely hard, guttural, and heavily male driven. I was amazed to find an entire sub-genre of music that featured classically trained operatic female voices accompanied by sweeping orchestral arrangements and hard hitting thrashing guitars. One of the bands I dove heavily into at that time was Epica. Through the years the amount of Symphonic Metal I listened to waned, but I’d always go back from time to time. I was thrilled during my recent dive to discover that Epica had released their first new album in five years, ΩMEGA.
Epica was founded by former guitarist of After Forever, Mark Jansen, back in 2002. I had never been a fan of guttural vocals in the past, but when balanced out with the beautiful vocals provided by Simone Simons, it just seems to work. I really enjoy the contrasting sounds and how they end up actually balancing each other in the music. On top of that, the fully orchestrated pieces make the experience of listening to an album an epic journey, indeed.
In their latest music video for “The Skeleton Key” you get a wonderful visual experience that greatly compliments the music. A touch of gothic, a touch of light, and a bit of feeling as though you are watching a beautifully woven horror film. If you’ve never listened to Symphonic Metal before, it’s time to take your mind to The Netherlands, and experience what Epica has to offer.
Check out the truly stunning video for “The Skeleton Key” above, and check out the song below – but I also highly recommend giving the entire album a listen from start to finish, as Symphonic Metal is truly meant to be enjoyed as full albums.