Dutch symphonic metal band Epica began the musical rollout for its upcoming EP, The Solace System (due Sept. 1 on Nuclear Blast), with an anime video for the title track, which Billboard is exclusively premiering today (Aug. 29). The clip, created by animator Davide Cilloni, depicts a woman who finds a purple pendant that unlocks a portal to another world that’s inhabited by evil beings.
Epica keyboardist Coen Janssen explains that the concept behind the video is related to the existence of multiple dimensions. “There is one dimension that wants to take over all others by tricking them into opening a gateway through which the ‘Universal Death Squad’ can enter,” he says. “In the upcoming videos, we learn if they will succeed.”
Janssen further enthuses, “The main thing I tried to do with the story is connect certain aspects of the album, artwork, live show and even previous albums. I love thinking in big concepts, and because it is an animated video, you can basically do whatever you like. [It’s] an easy way to connect the dots. I think the fans will get the connections and even find some Easter eggs that are hidden in the video.”
The subject matter on The Solace System, which is related to self-reliance, closely aligns with that of 2016 album The Holographic Principle. That’s because the six-track EP was written during the Holographic Principle sessions, but the material didn’t make the cut because the band didn’t want to release a double album. Singer Simone Simons says the songs on The Solace System “align with the search-for-reality quest” Epica pursed on The Holographic Principle.
“However, these songs are deviating a little from the main concept,” she notes. “They are all songs that can been seen outside of the concept. In general, all our lyrics are within the same kind of style. We love philosophy, science and spirituality. Those [have been] reoccurring topics in our lyrics since the beginning.”
Epica also had Cilloni create the second video from The Solace System, for the track “Immortal Melancholy.” Watch it below:
The inspiration for the ballad—the first one created by Epica that is led by guitar instead of piano—is based on a true story. According to Simons, one of her relatives was friends with a couple who discovered that they were both terminally ill. The pair opted for euthanasia, which is legal in the Netherlands even if someone isn’t diagnosed with a fatal condition, reports The Daily Wire. “They couldn’t stand the fact that one of them would have to suffer alone,” says Simons. “It is a story that still gives me goosebumps. Such a dark but beautiful and profound love story.”
The band decided to link the videos for “The Solace System” and “Immortal Melancholy” with the animation because it wanted the music to be presented as a quasi-trilogy. It has released the calmer “Immortal Melancholy” after the title track since a similar song wasn’t released from The Holographic Principle, but the group is still up in the air about which album cut will complete the trilogy.
“I guess it will be the song most suitable for the big finale,” muses Coen. “Expect an epic-a ending.”
The sextet will begin a North American tour in support of The Solace System on Aug. 31 in Boston at Royale, wrapping up Sept. 29 at New York’s Playstation Theater. Lacuna Coil, Insomnium and Elantris will provide support. Epica will resume touring in Europe on Oct. 17 at Her Depot in Leuven, Belgium, and finish Nov. 29 at Backstage Werk in Munich, Germany. For more information about tour dates and tickets, go here.