Trying too hard to be epic

I volunteered to review Epica and my aching knees told me to never to do this again as the band punished the Bloodstock crowd with a snore filled 40-minute set. Unfortunately the band had to follow the brilliant Korpiklaani, which, is like Inspector Morse Following Die Hard 4.0.

Thankfully for Epica the sound was almost on the money even if the keyboards were a little too prominent, but this sorted itself out as their set went on. Simone Simons has some technical difficulties in the first couple of songs causing her to disappear into the wings a couple of times. The band performed well around her with Mark Jansen complimenting Simone with some vicious grunting.

One aspect that impressed me about Epica's performance was the sheer heaviness of the music. Their usual production, especially on the 'Consign to Oblivion' album is weaker than 2 second brewed tea with the guitars extremely low in the mix. Live however, the guitars could punch through, and they did, with brutal force, it's just a pity they never played anything interesting on them. All the effort they band put into their music is plain to see. It's grandiose, full of breaks and interludes, laced with lavish keyboards and choirs but ultimately it's a bit messy and perhaps the reason why people started to leave. There was nothing to grab on to, it was devoid of hooks and foot tapping moments that keep a cold crowd attentive.

The faithful were at the front giving it the usual horns and to be fair the band went down well, but only with the faithful. I looked around several times and there were a lot of people either staring blankly with arms folded or just chatting away. A bloke, who was wearing an ill fitting dress, started fighting with another guy which provided a brief snap of entertainment, but for the rest of us we just watched and wondered what it was all about.