The Ultimate Principle tour featuring Epica, Lacuna Coil, Insomnium and Elantris reached Baltimore last Wednesday. This was one of the last dates of the tour and hence I wanted to thoroughly mull over the performance before I put pen to paper. This is hands down the most melodic tour of the year in North America. Rarely do we see a tour with two powerhouse mezzo soprano vocalists in heavy metal. The excitement in the Facebook groups devoted to symphonic and gothic metal has been palpable for months. As I grow older I have slowly gravitated towards the symphonic aspect of heavy metal, and not attending a lineup of genre defining bands was never a question!
Elantris, a symphonic metal band from Ohio, was the first band to take the stage. I had posted in the Symphonic Metal Facebook group asking people about tours of symphonic metal bands and a band member of Elantris had responded mentioning that they will be the opening act on this tour. I had listened to the four songs on their Youtube channel many times. A promising band with a handful of good songs and they delivered a good performance. The guitar work and the medley of harsh vocals with the melodic stuff are very good for a new band, I think they still have some ways to go before they find the seamless blend of all these pieces that epitomize the uber successful groups like Epica or Leaves’ Eyes. They have captured the attention of a large number of loyal fans, and the ball is in their court to further the reputation they have built on this tour. I love up and coming symphonic metal bands, I think we could use more such bands. Keep up the good work!
Insomnium was the second band of the night, and provided the perfect contrast to the largely melodic night with some amazing doomy ballads with harsh vocals. The last two albums by the band, ‘Shadows of the Dying Sun’ and ‘Winter’s Gate’, are stellar pieces of work and songs from these two albums comprised the bulk of the set. I highly recommend that you check them out if you have not already done so, especially the former which is a landmark album in Finnish melodic death metal. A flawless album quality performance by this band on this night on every single song. The delivery of Niilo Sevänen on the bass and vocals in “The Primeval Dark” and “While We Sleep” deserve a special mention.
I discovered Cristina Scabbia and Lacuna Coil through her duet of “A Tout Le Monde” with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and I have been an admirer ever since. Many photographers had mentioned that I was going to have a challenging yet amazing time behind the camera during the the bands set, and they were right. Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro brought a raw and manic craze to the stage, and the rest of the band backed them up with aplomb. This is not surprising considering the band is about to reach their 20 year anniversary as a band. Check out the photographs and tell me if there is a more energetic front woman in heavy metal. Personally, this was the performance of the night for me, the operatic vocals of Crstina Scabbbia, and her theatrics on stage when she is not singing is peerless. Our editor Fist met up with them at the Louder Than Life festival and he will be bringing you more stuff related to Lacuna Coil in future! You should certainly attend one of their shows in future!
Epica recently released ‘The Solace System’, an EP that took some by surprise and it came relatively soon after ‘The Holographic Principle’, which was released only last year. I like the ambitious and progressive nature of Epica’s music. The band started the set with “Edge of The Blade” followed by “Unleashed” and “Wheel of Destiny”. And then came the famous Simone Simons sideways hair flips which drove the crowd to a frenzy. I must mention that unlike many other symphonic metal bands, this was not a Simone Simons only show. The energy on stage displayed by other band members were exemplary, especially that of the keyboard player Coen Janssen! Never before have I seen such an energetic keyboard player in a metal concert. And the last thing I expected to see in a symphonic metal concert was a mosh pit, and well there was one in towards the end of the set! When Cristina Scabbia joined the band and Simone Simons to perform a duet of “Storm The Sorrows”. On this night, it was not only the quality of music of each band, but the way each band complemented the style of the other bands on the bill that made it truly special. Symphonic and gothic metal fans perhaps the most loyal fans in the world of heavy metal. If you are a fan of any of these bands you probably attended this tour. If you missed out on it, then I have got tons of photographs for you. If you were dedicated enough to be in the front row or so at the Baltimore show you will probably find a photograph of you below. I can’t wait for these bands to be back in USA for another tour, and when the time comes we will cover them, and I hope to see you there. Keep following us and give this article a share!