Epica - 'Retrospect'

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Epica - 'Retrospect'

This stunning live DVD is likely to blow the socks off most Symphonic Metal lovers.

Although Epica have only released one studio album since 'The Classical Conspiracy' live compilation, (which actually concentrated on soundtracks and classic composers as much as Epica), they have decided to commemorate their Tenth Anniversary by recording a special show in Eindhoven. Combine these special factors and you have a damn good reason for a new proper retrospective.

This live celebration concert lasts a whopping 3 hours and spans 2 DVDs and 3 CDs with a show that sees Epica pulling out all the stops. There's an orchestra and choir, a fine selection of songs and even some special guests. But all these pale in comparison to the astonishing light show which sees bright spotlights criss-cross the whole stage and swirl around throughout creating intense streaks of coloured light around the performers. There are banks of LED's as well as the expected pyrotechnics and strobes. Honestly at times the stage looks like something out of 'Close Encounters'. The set list itself consists of 24 songs which not surprisingly covers their entire career. These include 'Cry For The Moon', 'Blank Infinity', 'Chasing The Dragon', 'Unleashed' and 'Monopoly Of Truth' as well as the majority of their album's title tracks. Epica also include the first ever live airing for 'Twin Flames', a cracking version of John Williams' 'Imperial March' and a brand new song in 'Retrospect' which was written especially for the event.

The guests include former members Jeroen Simons, Ad Sluijter and Yves Huts appearing for 'Quietus' whilst 'Stabat Mater Dolorosa' and 'Sancta Terra' feature new Nightwish singer Floor Jansen. It's truly mesmerizing to see and hear her and Simone Simons singing together on stage. Not satisfied with all this Epica have also brought along the seventy piece Extended Remenyi Ede Chamber Orchestra and the Choir of Miskolc National Theatre who also get their own medley. Their inclusion adds so much to the show and gives everyone the chance to hear a multitude of Epica tracks in their intended full glory. In addition to the show there's bonus features that include band interviews and behind the scenes footage.

'Retrospect' is nothing short of magnificent and a must see/own for all Epica fans. It's filmed in Hi-Def (hence a blu-ray release too) which gives crystal clear images and thankfully the editing isn't too frenetic as is often the case with live DVD's. Simons is maybe the bands focal point but everyone on stage gets their moments on camera and the shots of the crowd clapping as one living entity sends a shiver down my spine every time. Audibly the sound is top drawer and you can hear everything clearly despite the colossal sound. If there's one down side it's that the intense beams of light sometimes cut across the close up shots but this didn't particularly bother me personally.

'Retrospect' is Epica at their very best and this stunning live DVD is likely to blow the socks off not only Epica fans but most Symphonic Metal lovers in general, (with the possible exception of those that find the growling off-putting).

Dave Scott

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