Dutch symphonic metal heavyweights EPICA performed in their first-ever streaming event on Saturday, June 12th, titled Ωmega Alive. The universal streaming event marks the band’s triumphant return to the stage to perform for the first time in support of their latest album Ωmega, their eighth full-length release and the band’s first album in five years.

Fully immersive, the performance involved acrobatics, fire dancers, musician-performed stunts, and chilling melodic vocals. The performance was broken into multiple parts, each depicting their own themes, stage setups, and costuming.

After releasing our new album Ωmega, we found ourselves with great new songs aching to be played live, but without a stage to perform them on. We still wanted to give our fans the best possible release show like we always do, so together with Jens de Vos from Panda Productions we came up with a way to bring the EPICA experience into the homes of the fans all over the world.  Ωmega Alive is EPICA’s biggest show ever, and I can’t be more proud of what it has become! We went all out on everything we have to offer and I can tell you it is one massive audio-visual spectacle! Immerse yourself in the world of EPICA and join us in Ωmega Alive!

~ Coen Janssen, EPICA keyboardist

Ωmega is an album of unity, of friendship, of the close bond the members share. An album that naturally came together as a group effort. And no wonder: Mark Jansen, Simone Simons and keyboard player Coen Janssen have been playing together since EPICA’s conception in 2002, with drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek joining as early as 2007, lead guitarist Isaac Delahaye following in 2009. In 2012, bass player Rob van der Loo marked the latest addition to their ranks. For eight years, three records and hundreds of gigs, this band has formed an indestructible unit. In the middle of a world in turmoil, of a cataclysmic change in society, EPICA somehow managed to create their most spectacular album yet. An album that is seamlessly bringing together metal and orchestra, choir and oriental instruments to a perfect storm constantly emitting goose bumps. A record with specifically written suites for orchestra and choir, featuring a wide range of ethnic instruments recorded around the world by some of the best native musicians out there. In short: They outdid themselves. Once again. And still managed to keep the songs approachable and wickedly catchy.

Beginning the performance of epic proportions, we are pulled into a CGI-induced nightmare world, where a girl laying in bed wakes to find vines growing from her bed. She decides to explore and discover the source rather than to shy away in fear.

We are then shown into a change of scenery, a stage alit with lights and pyrotechnics as EPICA’s presence was made known. Simone Simons (vocals) stood center stage with the band, involving: Mark Jansen (unclean vocals, guitar), Coen Janssen (keys), Ariën van Weesenbeek (drums), Isaac Delahaye ( lead guitar), and Rob van der Loo (bass). Simons’s vocals created a stark and symphonic contrast to the unclean vocals that complimented her, as well as the instrumentals that only seemed to continue to increase in intensity.

Next, in the story that was created to wrap the show together, we are taken back to the scene of the girl, wandering through what appears to be an endless maze. In her wandering, she comes across a woman on fire (Simons), luring her in with a fruit outstretched in her hand. The girl wanders off and rejects the prize. The woman on fire looks stunned. The scene then transforms into a new set, another stage with a new look, bathed in blacks and red light and new costuming.

Including not only a full set of pyrotechnics, the performance featured an entire production of contemporary dancers, fire dancers, and acrobatics that seen live would compare to that of a Cirque de Soleil show, where there is always somewhere to gaze and become fully wrapped into the experience. Not only were the spectacles fantastic, but the band members themselves participated in the act with an energy unmatched by the majority. It’s no wonder that EPICA has become renowned for their hard work.

The second part of five concludes with a downpour of rain in their final track, creating a dramatic and unique aspect of the performance, washing clean and creating a new beginning.

Set in the third part of this performance, the story continues with the little girl in her pursuit for answers when she wanders into a new scene. In what appears to be a throne room, with candle-lit chandeliers, Simons sits looming above her on a golden throne, and looks straight ahead of her. The girl turns to see a door, bathed in white light as it opens.

Then the scenery changes once again as EPICA performs; this time with pillars of fire and metal surrounding them, and purple light shimmering on their figures. Behind them, a crystal chandelier spins as dancers perform on it, holding flame in between their toes. Simons’s vocals soared through the atmosphere throughout the performance, but her flowing movements onstage showered her in a kind of grace unique to her and EPICA’s soundtrack of variety and storytelling. Janssen played on a piano lit aflame, and this chapter of the performance was concluded by a pounding of a gong with a lit torch, which set that instrument on fire, as well.

We next see the fictional maze, orbs of light dotted across the landscape. Zoomed in, the girl stands in the corridor reaching for them, up close bearing symbols. Upon touching one, they all disappear. Then the scene transforms to a new stage.

A choir of people wearing skeleton keys around their neck bear the first scene, then Simons, wearing bright orange, stands in the middle, luring the audience into the experience even further with her crisp, show-stopping vocals. A few songs later, the band plays solos of their own, an intense instrumental performance as the floor around them all is wrapped in fog.

Beginning the final part of the two hour livestream performance, we see the girl for the final time, still walking through the maze, until she becomes washed in a white light before waking up where she started- in a bed with vines crawling out from under it. Symbolizing the start of an endless loop, we see the girl is trapped in this dreamlike state without a way of escape. The scene then pans out, and holding the maze in its fullest within her arms, Simons gazes straight ahead, the puppeteer of the charade.

Combining all of the elements introduced throughout the show, including aerials, dancers, fire-breathers, and dramatically choreographed pyrotechnics, the final stage was set. Before concluding their performance, they took a few moments to reflect on their live shows through showing multiple exposures of their memories. And Simons took a pause herself to break the spell of their music to say a few words:

About 20 years ago, we released our first song; ‘Cry for the Moon.’ It took us all over the world, and It was our αlpha. We came here to celebrate the release of our album, Ωmega. We love you guys forever and ever.

Stream EPICA’s album, Ωmega, now, on all streaming platforms. The show is available to watch until Tuesday, June 15 at 11:59pm EDT. Get your tickets now here.

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