Epica headline an epic evening of symphonic metal supporting their new E.P. at the UC Theatre in Berkeley, California.

As the house lights dim and “Eidola” is played over speakers, Dutch symphonic metal heavyweights Epica take the stage and deliver a set filled with some of the songs that have made them one of the biggest bands of the genre. Opening with “Edge of the Blade,” vocalist Simone Simons delivers the high octave notes with both grace and confidence, while guitarist and band founder Mark Jensen blends in his more death metal style vocals. Together with the rest of the band, every song is given multiple layers of heaviness.

The setlist is comprised of both old and newer songs, providing something for everyone in the packed venue. With the almost thrash metal guitar sound of both Jensen and Isaac Delahaye, combined with the keyboards of Coen Janssen, “Unleashed” is noticeably one of the fan favorites, with Simons singing with a wall of bright strobe lights behind her.

“Victims of Contingency” opens with the blasts beats of drummer Ariën van Weesenbeek, while Janssen takes the front of the stage to perform the keyboard duties with a Nu-Motion keyboard strapped to his body. Just as Jensen leads the headbanging crowd into a chant, the song hits full force as Simons powerful voice takes over.

For the next 90 minutes, Epica put on nothing short of a power metal clinic, and prove that they are still a force to be reckoned with. “Cry for the Moon” closes out their set, but after a short break they return for a 3 song encore highlighted by “Consign to Oblivion.”

Supporting Epica on this tour is Lacuna Coil, the long-running Italian gothic metal band fronted by Christina Scabbia. Opening their set with “Ultima Ratio,” they bring the crowd alive, as almost everybody on the floor is either banging their heads or pumping their fists, while more than a few are doing both.

Dressed in all white and heavy make-up, Lacuna Coil looks as though they have all escaped an asylum, but that does not prevent them from delivering a blazing set. Highlights include “Ghosts in the Mist,” “Spellbound and “Our Truth.”

Scabbia relates to the fans in a way that not many people can, and as she talks to them in between songs it is apparent that they are feeding off of her energy. Before she and the band launch into “Downfall” she asks them to bring light into the room with either their cell phones or lighters, in remembrance of loved ones that are no longer with them. It is moments like this that prove why they are the perfect band to support the headliners.

Epica
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Lacuna Coil
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UC Theatre
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Event Date: 14-SEP-2017

About The Author

Raymond Ahner is a professional freelance photographer residing in San Francisco, California.
Growing up in the Bay Area, Raymond was lucky enough to witness both the Punk and Thrash Metal scene of the 1980’s explode literally right in front of his eyes. It was a pretty special time in his life, and is what instilled his love for live music. Over the years Raymond has been fortunate enough to combine his passion for live music with his love of photography. And although he will always love shooting the big arena Rock show, it is in a tiny, packed to the rafters club were he his most at home with his gear.

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