Epica, Skeptical Minds, Seduce The Heaven
Gagarin 205 Club, Athens, Greece

Symphonic metal attracts many people whether they like heavy metal or not. Bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Therion have worthily won their place in the metal scene. And they have undoubtedly many fans in Greece. This Saturday, it was proven that Epica, masters of this genre, have many fans crazy about them in Athens.

The doors of Gagarin 205 were to open at 19:30, but the fans started to gather outside the venue from 17:00, in order to picture-008gain access right at the front of the scene for a better view. Right on time, at 19:30, the first persons literally ran to the banister. Forty five minutes later, the first band for the evening came on stage. I had never seen or heard Seduce The Heaven before. They play an interesting mix of melodic death metal, with symphonic and power elements, combining brutal with soprano female vocals. And while this was their first live performance, they seemed very tight as a group, in a very good mood and constantly headbanging. Especially the girl was really energetic, which unfortunately cost her a bit, as she lost her breath some times, preventing her from hitting the right notes. They faced a problem with the sound, too, with the guitars covering at times pretty much everything else. Apart from that, I liked their music, and I think it was a brave move from their part to rely only on their own compositions.

At 21:00 the album cover of “Skepticalized” was hung on the wall and the stage was ready for the second act. Skeptical Minds, picture-154from Belgium, were welcome with a warm applause. I noticed that this time they appeared as a quartet, as their cello player wasn’t there. They started their set with “No Way Out”, but there were some technical problems, which caused the singer, Karolina, to not be heard at all. Luckily the problems were overcome quickly and like the pros they are, they continued their set powerfully. The sound was significantly better this time and we were able to listen to the crystal-clear voice of Karolina. Skeptical Minds appeared very good on stage –their rich live performance history made sure of that – and they certainly knew how to win the crowd below them. They continued their set with their own songs, like “Inertia”, “Skeleton Key” and “Broken Dolls”, during which Skeptical Minds revealed their first surprise; a guest appearance of Iliana from Meden Agan. The second surprise came right after, with the cover of “Ace of Spades”. Michael, the guitarist, who is Greek by the way, is a devoted fan, so Motorhead couldn’t be left out. Their first live in Greece closed with a party, as they had in store for us a nice cover of “Born To Be Wild”.

After the two support acts, it was time for the headliners. At about 22:00 “Karma” started playing as an intro, accompanying thepicture-328 rhythmic yelling of the fans, and Epica appeared on stage, starting with “Monopoly Of Truth”. I have to say that everything was ideal for their performance. Great sound, amazing lighting, and crazy fans from below. The band responded by giving its best self, but it was Simone that drew the full attention of everyone in the venue. She was simply hypnotizing. We heard a few songs from the new album, “Requiem For The Indifferent”, “Deter The Tyrant”, “Delirium” and “Storm The Sorrow” being among them. Plus we listened to “Serenade Of Self-Destruction” with the lyrics and it was a surprise for many, since the record company made a mistake and released the instrumental version. The crowd, though, showed its love for the older ones by either clapping all the time or singing along with Simone. The representatives of the past were no others than the classics; “Sensorium”, “Sancta Terra”, “The Obsessive Devotion”. The main set ended with “The Phantom Agony” and the fans were in delirium –no pun intended. It was time for the encore, which included three more classics; “Cry For The Moon”, “Unleashed” and “Consign To Oblivion”

All in all, there isn’t much to say. All three bands were professional and they offered their best. The fans saw what they wished for. I hardly believe that anyone was displeased. And I hope that Epica, with their next visit to Greece, will have many more to give.

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Report: Stella Papaspyropoulou.
Photos: Manos Spanos.