Epica’s The Solace System EP was released on 1 September 2017 through Nuclear Blast. The EP comprises six songs that were written and composed during the recording of the 2016 album The Holographic Principle.
Sol notes on metalinjection.net that, “The Solace System feels like an Epica sampler pack, or perhaps even a half-LP. There aren’t any songs that exceed the 7-minute mark, whereas songs on their LPs can break the 10-minute mark. Anyone who isn’t previously aware of Epica could easily step into the realm easily with The Solace System. It’s a great follow-up to The Holographic Principle, and simply a another great entry into Epica’s discography.” I agree with Sol in regard to the EP being a great follow-up to The Holographic Principle, but don’t with reducing the EP to a ‘sampler’. It is a worthy stand-alone release with fantastic songs that enrich the experience of listening to The Holographic Principle.
Jon White gave a 9 out of 10 rating to The Solace System at distortedsoundmag.com and stated, “Fans of EPICA will find themselves overwhelmed with this new six track release as The Holographic Principle is still so fresh in many people’s minds. But thirsts for epic, incredible and unique sound will surely be quenched as they have really outdone themselves. It’s almost shocking that these songs could have easily gone unheard of and slipped under the radar. The fans will be so grateful for this extended insight into the musical world of EPICA.” I can just underline the fact that these songs are ‘as good (if not better)’ than the songs on its predecessor. Hence, what a waste it would have been, if they’d never seen the light of day.
Dr. Wvrm at angrymetalguy.com is a bit more critical but finds positive points and says that “Overall, it’s hard to view The Solace System as anything but an extension of The Holographic Principle. Epica themselves put out two videos to that effect, effectively begrudging having to cut material from Principle and saying “Fuck it, we’ll release it next year.” Though I am not entirely sold on that conceit, the shortened format really improves the band’s palatability.” As I mentioned above, an extension doesn’t need to be considered a negative thing. Jeannie Blue at crypticrock.com supports my view by giving full points and stating, “With The Solace System, Epica have woven a glorious spell that serves as the perfect addendum to their 2016 hit release, The Holographic Principle. A continuation that is both intensely beautiful and immaculate, these six songs are a prime example of what it means to be Symphonic Metal with immense artistic talent and heart.”
Zenae D. Zukowski clearly agrees and gives full points as well as myglobalmind.com, “Epica’s The Solace System more-than-satisfies the listener, as they continue to rise from their creative expressions.”
In conclusion: Epica’s The Solace System is a relevant addition to The Holographic Principle extending the storyline with beautiful songs that perfectly match its predecessor from a sonic and philosophic perspective.