Date : 24.02.2013

Bands : Katatonia (SWE), Epica (NL)

Location : Ankara (TR)

Epica and Katatonia concert was one of the most interesting concerts that I have attended. Firstly, it was the first metal concert that I have attended in my homeland and secondly, the fact that the both bands are quite different from each other raised eyebrows. Before the concert, I read lots of (mixed) comments on the line-up and I was really surprised as well. In one side, there was the Swedish gods of doom metal, KATATONIA and on the other side there was the Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA. So it was surely going to be an interesting evening.

The night started with the Swedish doom metallers, Katatonia. I was one of the many people who especially wanted to see Katatonia and I was beyond excited when they came on stage. The band started the set with the songs “The Parting” and “Buildings” from their latest album Dead End Kings (2012). At first glance, the “cool” and “dark” posture of the vocalist Jonas Renkse caught my attention; the way he sang and his ‘cool’ attitude added a great vibe to the songs in general.

The setlist of the band also included some great songs from their older albums ; The Great Cold Distance (2006), Viva Emptiness (2003), Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001), Night is the New Day (2009) and Tonight’s Decision (1999). Some of these classics songs were “My Twin” , “July” and “Ghost of the Sun”. I think the band made a good decision by including older songs in the setlist because I have heard stories earlier that the new album Dead End Kings was quite different from the band’s previous releases. By playing these classic songs and many other songs, the band made sure that the fans of the ‘older era of Katatonia’ would not be disappointed at all. This could also be heard in the applause and in the energy of the audience; when the band played from their older albums, the audience was much more enthusiastic and beyond excited.

Soundwise, the band sounded really smooth. Before the show, I didn’t know what to expect from the band’s sound quality in the venue but I could almost hear everything  so I can say that band was really successful in that sense. Furthermore, in contrast to the vocalist Jonas Renske, the guitarist Anders Nyström and the bass guitarist Niklas Sandin were really fun and energetic on stage and that certainly added another element to the beauty of the performance.

After performing for approximately 1,5 hours on stage, Katatonia said goodbye to the fans with the song ‘Leaders’. As a person who saw Katatonia for the first time, I was really impressed with the band. I wouldn’t exaggerate if I state that I just listened to their songs even days after the performance; all in all that’s what Katatonia does to the fans. The band is certainly captivating and magical.

Rating : 10/10

Setlist :

  1. The Parting
  2. Buildings
  3. Deliberation
  4. My Twin
  5. Burn The Remembrance
  6. The Racing Heart
  7. Lethean
  8. Teargas
  9. Strained
  10. The Longest Year
  11. Soil’s Song
  12. Omerta
  13. Sweet Nurse
  14. Deadhouse
  15. Ghost of the Sun
  16. July
  17. Day and the Shade
  18. Dead Letters
  19. Forsaker
  20. Leaders

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When it was time for Epica, I could already see that some people had left the venue. Nevertheless, the venue became more packed. It has been a few years since Epica last came to Turkey so it was normal that the fans were really excited. Furthermore, it was the first time that the band was playing in Ankara so it was surely going to be an epic night.

The concert started with the intro song “Karma” from the band’s latest album Requiem For The Indifferent (2012). As soon as the bandmembers greeted the crowd, the band started the set with another song “Monopoly On Truth” from the same album. It was really good to see the symphonic metallers once again; the last time I saw them was June 2012 in Metalfest and this time, they were energetic and sympathetic on stage again. The interaction of the band with the fans was unbelievable; there were no cold moments from the beginning and it was as if the band was used to playing in the venue. I especially loved how the guitarists Isaac Delahaye and Mark Jansen were really sincere with the fans.

The setlist of Epica was quite colorful; the band had  a lot to offer to the fans. Apart from playing new songs, Epica played some of their older songs like “Sensorium” and “Unleashed”. Furthermore, some of my favorite songs from the setlist were “The Obsessive Devotion”, “Sancta Terra” (I loved the keyboard solo that Coen Janssen played before the song!) and the classic Epica song “Cry For The Moon”. As a matter of fact, before playing that song, the vocalist Simone Simons had mentioned that it was the 10th year anniversary of “Cry For The Moon” and that the song had reached over 10 million views on YouTube. After that, everyone knew which song Simone was talking about. I can definitely say that that song was the highlight of the show.

Some of the highlights of the performance were the drum solo of the talented drummer Arien van Weesenbeek and the entertaining performance from the keyboard player Coen Janssen. I just couldn’t stop smiling when I saw the way Coen was playing the keyboard; the way he rotated the instrument and his dance moves were really entertaining. After playing the last song “The Phantom Agony”, the band left the stage but from the applause of the fans, it was clear that they had to come back for more. Personally, I think that the last three songs – “Delirium” , “Blank Infinity” and “Consign to Oblivion”-  that the band played were the highlight of the evening; especially the first song of the last three songs “Delirium”  showed the true essence of Simone’s voice (I think that in some songs, it was quite hard to get ‘that’ feeling from her voice) and it was really impressive. So I can say that the choice of the songs for the setlist was really good.

Soundwise, the band was good although their sound was not as good as Katatonia’s. At some moments, it was quite hard to hear Mark Jansen’s (e-guitars/growls) growls. In addition to that, I didn’t like the way Simone Simons changed some of the songs as I kind-of felt that she broke the essence and the magic of them. However, the band proved that they are really a great team in general and they really have worked hard to be one of the biggest symphonic metal bands in the world. As I mentioned earlier, their interaction with the audience was unbelievable (and this is quite important for a band) and the band was also really impressed with the crowd; as it was their first time in Ankara, I am sure they didn’t know what to expect but the fans did a great job and I am sure Epica will play in Ankara again. Even the keyboardist Coen Janssen had said that they loved the audience that night and they will surely come again.

Rating : 9/10

Setlist :

  1. Karma
  2. Monopoly on Truth
  3. Sensorium
  4. Unleashed
  5. Martyr of the Free Word
  6. Serenade of Self-Destruction
  7. The Obsessive Devotion
  8. Sancta Terra
  9. Cry For The Moon
  10. Storm The Sorrow
  11. The Phantom Agony
  12. Delirium
  13. Blank Infinity
  14. Consign To Oblivion

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Generally, it was a great night full of Metal!  Some fans would debate about the choice of the bands for the night but personally, I think that both bands managed to satisfy the crowd and they did a great job about it. If I could pick the band of the night, that would be Katatonia though. As much as I like and respect Epica, Katatonia being unique and quite different made me love the band even more. Thanks to both bands for an amazing night! 😀