Tag Archives: melissa ferlaak

Epica @ Highline Ballroom (9/9/2007)

Epica are one of the most musically exciting bands in the Symphonic Operatic Metal genre and tonight would be their first headlining NYC appearance. The show at the Highline Ballroom would deliver the band with openers Visions Of Atlantis, Unexpect and The Agonist for a very well-stocked night of music. To see our words and images from this killer gig just scroll past the logo to see the article.

Artist: Epica
Venue: Highline Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Visions Of Atlantis, The Agonist, Unexpect
Date: 9/9/2007
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

While it’s true that the Dutch Symphonic Power Metal band Epica had been doing their thing for several years now, it was mainly through their association with the band Kamelot that many Metal fans first became aware of them. Not only did they name themselves after a Kamelot album but lead singer Simone Simons would also provide additional vocals to their hit albums “The Black Halo” and “Ghost Opera” and even make an appearance on the bands concert DVD. The association has been nothing but positive of course because with it the fan base for Epica was able to grow exponentially due to their being taken on tour when Kamelot was supporting their live CD and DVD “One Cold Winter’s Night”. I caught that show and was amazed at how good Epica was in concert but I admit that I really kind of expected this to be my findings as I had prior experience in their music having reviewed a number of their releases before I ever saw them in concert. They showed headlining potential that night which made the news about their new tour something that many were looking forward to very far in advance. The show would be at The Highline Ballroom, which is pretty much the Sister club to B.B. King Blues Club, and I felt that this room would be the best suited for Epica and the many opening acts that would be on the bill as well. The show would feature another Symphonic Operatic band called Visions Of Atlantis, the Melodic Metalcore thrashers The Agonist, and Montreal’s Extreme Avant-garde experts Unexpect. It would appear that the audience tonight was in for a real treat.
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“Trinity” by Visions Of Atlantis

Artist: Visions Of Atlantis
Title: “Trinity”
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 6/5/2007
Genre: Symphonic Gothic Metal
Rating: 4/5

From the moment that “Trinity” by Visions Of Atlantis begins you will be blown away by their uncanny similarity to the classic sound of Finland’s own superstars Nightwish. It is so much the case that when the first song “At The Back Of Beyond” begins that one would wonder if the group had slipped out some new music under a different name to trick their fan base. This was certainly not the case but Nightwish is truly part of the original inspiration for this Symphonic Power Metal band from Styria, Austria who formed and began playing music together in 2000. The energetic opening track offers big guitar, drums and keyboards along with a dueling clean male vocal against an operatic female one. Now before you groan in dismay at the thought of yet another Operatic Metal band fronted by a beautiful female lead singer let me tell you that Visions Of Atlantis is really something else when it comes down to it. “Trinity” is the bands third release and finds the group with an almost completely different roster from their original lineup so even those who thought they knew them before would find a need to re-educate themselves. I was surprised to have never heard them before this album but I was truly impressed with Melissa Ferlaak’s powerful vocal register and stunning beauty. Her voice is commanding and powerful and yet at other times is quite passionate as well. “Passing Dead End” comes off like another Nightwish tune but it has such a solid groove and pounding rhythm section that you easily forgive the similarity. When “The Poem” starts we find a quasi-ballad number that features their male vocalist Mario Plank a little more prominently and its one of those songs that you know the lighters will be lit up for at a live show. “Nothing Left” is one of the catchiest numbers on the release and is quite possibly the tune that most people will remember on the chorus and the way the lyrics flow. By the time I reached “My Darkside Home” I was hooked on the band and perhaps it was the comparisons I was originally drawing in my Nightwish statement that made me focus harder and look into each song a little deeper. Ferlaak shows off her wonderful soprano abilities during “Return To You” and might have listeners reaching for a Kleenex during portions of the track. Listeners will find that her voice stands tall on its own and would work well when compared to those of her contemporaries in the genre. Needless to say I was really enjoying almost all of the tracks presented here.
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