Epica (band)

Epica (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Epica

Img_capt = Epica performing at The White Rabbit (Texas, USA) in 2007.
Img_size = 250
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Alias = Sahara Dust
Origin = The Netherlands
Years_active = 2003–present
Label = British Plastic Head Distributions Ltd.
Nuclear Blast
Associated_acts = Kamelot
After Forever
URL = [http://www.epica.nl/ www.epica.nl]
Current_members = Simone Simons
Mark Jansen
Ad Sluijter
Yves Huts
Coen Janssen
Ariën van Weesenbeek
Past_members = Jeroen Simons
Helena Michaelsen

Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal band founded by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen subsequent to his departure from After Forever.


"Cry for the Moon" (2002–2003)

In early 2002, Mark Jansen left After Forever over financial differences and began looking for musicians to who would work towards a more commercial type of music project, initially named "Sahara Dust". In late 2002, the band courted Helena Michaelsen (from Trail of Tears) as its frontwoman, but shortly after she was replaced by the then unknown mezzo-soprano Simone Simons, Jansen's girlfriend at the time. The band's line-up was completed by guitarist Ad Sluijter, drummer Jeroen Simons, bassist Yves Huts, and keyboard player Coen Janssen. The name was later changed to Epica, inspired by Kamelot's eponymous album.

Epica then assembled a choir (made up of two men and four women) and a string orchestra (three violins, two violas, two cellos and an upright bass) to play along with them. Still under the name "Sahara Dust", they produced a two-song demo entitled "Cry for the Moon" in 2003. As a result, they were signed to Transmission Records.

"The Phantom Agony" (2003–2004)

Their debut album, "The Phantom Agony", was produced by Sascha Paeth (known for having produced bands such as Angra, Rhapsody of Fire and Kamelot) and released in late 2003. The song "Façade of Reality" on the album was written about the September 11, 2001 attacks and includes fragments from speeches by Tony Blair.

The album was followed by three singles: "The Phantom Agony", "Feint" and "Cry for the Moon".

"Consign to Oblivion / The Score" (2005–2007)

Their second release, entitled "Consign to Oblivion", was influenced by the culture of the Mayan Civilization, which can be noticed on songs in the "A New Age Dawns" series. "A New Age Dawns" refers to the time system of the Mayan people, which extends up to the year of 2012, and makes no reference of what may happen past said year. "Consign to Oblivion" was composed with film scores as a basis, with Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman being cited as major inspirations. The album features guest singing by Roy Khan (from Kamelot) on the song "Trois Vierges". Epica also joined Kamelot as a support band on parts of their tour for promotion of the "The Black Halo" album, to which Simons had contributed her vocals on the track "The Haunting (Somewhere In Time)".

Two singles were released from the album, "Solitary Ground" and "Quietus (Silent Reverie)".

Epica's non-metal album "The Score - An Epic Journey" was released in September 2005 and is the soundtrack for a Dutch movie called "Joyride", though it can also be seen as their third album. Mark Jansen describes the album as typical Epica "only without the singing, without the guitars, no bass and no drums". [cite album-notes |last=Jansen |first=Mark |year=2005 |title=The Score - An Epic Journey]

In 2005 and 2006 Epica went on their first tour throughout North America with Kamelot. After the tour, their drummer, Jeroen Simons, left the band, because of his wish to pursue other musical interests. In fall 2006, Simone once again contributed vocals to Kamelot's new album "Ghost Opera", this time on the tracks "Blücher" and "Season's End". In December Ariën Van Weesenbeek from God Dethroned was announced at the official website of the band to be the drummer for their new album, though not to become a band member.

"The Divine Conspiracy" (2007–present)

In September 2007, Epica headlined their first tour through North America and released their latest album, "The Divine Conspiracy", this time on a new label, Nuclear Blast. That December, Ariën Van Weesenbeek was announced to be Epica's permanent new drummer. They will once again tour North America in April 2008, with Into Eternity and Symphony X, this time with Amanda Somerville because of Simone's infection from MRSA.

The first single of the album was released on August 10, 2007 entitled "Never Enough".

In mid-2008 the second single was "Chasing The Dragon," though it didn't have a video to accompany it.


Epica's performs a blend of gothic metal [cite web |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |title=Rockdetector Epica |url=http://www.rockdetector.com/artist,38390.sm |publisher=Rockdetector.com |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] cite web |author=Bowar, Chad |title="The Divine Conspiracy" Review |url=http://heavymetal.about.com/od/cdreviews/fr/epicadivine.htm |publisher=About.com |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] [cite web |author=Smit, Bas |title="Consign To Oblivion" Review |publisher=Lordsofmetal.nl |url=http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showreview.php?id=5322&lang=en |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] and symphonic metal.cite web |author=Rivadavia, Eduardo |title="The Phantom Agony" Review |url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0bftxqeald6e |publisher=Allmusic.com |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] cite web |author=Fox, Keith |url=http://www.metalreview.com/4074/Epica-The-Divine-Conspiracy.aspx |title="The Divine Conspiracy" Review |publisher=Metalreview.com |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] Another component of Epica's style is power metal with their guitarist Ad Sluijter describing the band as "a bridge between power metal and gothic metal." [cite web |author=Cursed With Oblivion |title=Interview with Mark Jansen, Simone Simons and Ad Sluijter of Epica |url=http://www.xs4all.nl/~cursed/epica-interview.htm |publisher=Xs4all.nl/~cursed |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] Vocalist Simone Simons has expressed a preference for the group to be described as symphonic metal [cite web |author=Rademacher, Brian |title=Interview with Simone Simons of Epica |url=http://www.rockeyez.com/interviews/int-epica-simons.html |publisher=Rockeyez.com |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] though the founder of the group Mark Jansen notes that they do not mind being called gothic metal. [cite web |author=Vayner, Ofer |title=Interview with Mark Jensen of Epica |url=http://www.alternative-zine.com/interviews/en/76 |publisher=Alternative-zine.com |accessmonthday=March 30|accessyear=2008]

The music of Epica is aggressive, bombastic [cite web |author=Van der Wal, Kim |title="The Divine Conspiracy" Review |url=http://www.lordsofmetal.nl/showreview.php?id=10237&lang=en |publisher=Lordsofmetal.nl |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] and excessive with some songs being "epic, grand and majestic" and others "more subdued and introspective." The band is also known to have progressive tendenciescite web |author=Rivadavia, Eduardo |title="Consign to Oblivion" Review |url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:jjfixqrsldje |publisher=Allmusic.com |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] while a gothic atmosphere and sentimentality is also present in their music.

Epica uses a "trademark of many symphonic and gothic metal bands" in contrasting "two extremes, death grunts and brutality on one side, airy female melodiousness on the other." Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic notes that the band's "attraction ultimately hinges on exploring the sonic contrasts of light and dark; the punishing intensity of those elephantine guitar riffs and hyperactive drumming cast against the soaring, layered sweetness of the orchestrated strings and keyboards." [cite web |author=Rivadavia, Eduardo |title="Divine Conspiracy" Review |url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0nfwxzwgld0e |publisher=Allmusic.com |accessmonthday=March 30 |accessyear=2008] Simone Simons delivers operatic vocals in a mezzo-soprano range though she has also been known to sometimes sing "with a clear alto voice that has a flawless tone and a lot of emotion." Mark Jansen delivers death grunts "that are secondary to Simons' singing, but very important in terms of balance and variety." The group is also known to employ human choirs and orchestras with additional embellishments such as spoken word recitals and lyrics in Latin and Arabic.


*Simone Simons - mezzo-soprano vocals
*Mark Jansen - guitar, grunts, screams
*Ad Sluijter - guitar
*Yves Huts - bass guitar
*Coen Janssen - synthesizer, piano
*Ariën Van Weesenbeek - drums

Past members

*Jeroen Simons - drums
*Helena Michaelsen - vocals

ession members

*Ariën Van Weesenbeek - drums (The Divine Conspiracy and for Epica live in 2007, select dates). Joined as a full-time member of the band in late 2007. [Revealed on the official band page on 2007-12-03]
*Koen Herfst - drums (For Epica live in 2007)
*Amanda Somerville - vocals (Live for 2008 USA tour) [ [http://www.epica.nl/?page=news Epica Online ] ]



*2003: "Cry for the Moon"

tudio albums

*2003: "The Phantom Agony"
*2005: "Consign to Oblivion"
*2005: "The Score - An Epic Journey"
*2007: "The Divine Conspiracy"

EPs and singles

*2003: "The Phantom Agony"
*2004: "Feint"
*2004: "Cry for the Moon"
*2005: "Solitary Ground"
*2005: "Quietus (Silent Reverie)"
*2007: "Never Enough"
*2008: "Chasing the Dragon"


*2006: "The Road to Paradiso"


*2004: "We Will Take You with Us"

Music Videos

*2003: "The Phantom Agony"
*2004: "Feint"
*2005: "Solitary Ground"
*2005: "Quietus"
*2007: "Never Enough"


External links

* [http://www.epica.nl Official website]
* [http://www.metal-ways.com/115/8/interview-epica-interview-metal-female-voices-wieze.html Interview with Mark Jansen (October 2007)] - From [http://www.metal-ways.com www.metal-ways.com]

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