Live report : Epica & Krypteria

by Grungi

Last sunday, I went with a friend to something I hadn’t been to since what seemed like forever : an Epica concert. This band is special to me, as it’s one of the first band I saw live. In fact, it was my first metal gig. It was at the Graspop (a big metal festival in Belgium) some years ago, and they were playing the first gig of the first day on one of the two small sets. Not the most glamorous spot, but they were a young band, with only one album under their belt. Yet they delivered a performance I won’t soon forget.

The following year, I went to see them live no less than 7 times, almost always getting there ultra-early to be on the front row. A true fan. Then the excitement somewhat vanished. I had discovered a myriad of other bands, and their second album was simply more of the same. By the time they released their third album, I was starting to lose hope of seeing them really evolve as musicians. Then the fourth album came. Having changed their lineup somewhat, they delivered a very solid album, which rekindled my interest in them. So when I saw they were coming to Antwerpen during their tour, I knew I had to be there.

And oh boy, what a night. The atmosphere in the room was electric, and it’s been a while since the Trix crowd was so enthusiastic. You could almost feel the excitement in the air, and after each song there was a huge roar and a thunder of applause.

For me, after several years without seeing them, what struck me was how much their popularity had grown. “Back in the days” they were still a small band, but now, wow, they’ve become stars. But it’s deserved, as they really have talent. Sure, they’re not the most original band around, but they still have their distinct sound, and among the ocean of female-led gothic metal band, they manage to stand out and emerge above most.

The performance itself was very solid, with a long setlist which delivered all that one could have hoped, and then some. They didn’t shy away from performing their longer songs (like “Design Your Universe”, one of their best tracks ever), and they even did their cover of Star Wars’ Imperial March ! Honestly, the song selection was top notch.

What was less awesome was learning upon arriving that the first of the two opening acts (Ocean of Sadness) had to cancel their show. Which meant we had to wait 45 minutes more for the second opening band to start playing.

Neither me nor my friend knew Krypteria, we just read that it was a German gothic/power metal band. Oh, and we also saw that they had awful review scores for their album. Of course, they were only rated by one person, but still, albums scoring 2% or 26% don’t help building up expectations.

So we were a little bit wary of what was to come when the lights were turned down and the ominous intro started playing.

Then the musicians stepped onto the stage.

Then they started playing one of the most powerful riff that I heard in a while.

Then the singer came and we went “WTF ?”

A Korean girl singing in a German power metal band ? How can this be ? But at the first chorus all my doubts (well, doubts, not really, I have a good a-priori towards asian singers) were erased, and only remained the sheer awesomeness of Krypteria’s music.

And the band went on to prove they weren’t a one-trick pony with only one good song. They performed a superb song after another, each one having a crushing chorus. They were also very nice, smiling most of the time, and visibly enjoying themselves. Honestly, for an opening band, they delivered quite the show…

And Ji-In Cho, the singer, had a powerful voice. Moreso that, I would discover that later, on their albums. Weren’t it for Epica’s stellar setlist, they would have stolen the show. Yeah, they were that good.

All in all, that was a very, very good gig. Even better than the Stratovarius concert the week before, even though that one was very good. I know look forward to the whole bunch of lives I’ll be going to in february : Presence of soul, Gamma Ray, Enter Shikari and The Gathering are bands I’m really looking forward to seeing perform.

(Pictures by Kevin De Cuyper)