- 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.
Kamelot After Forever
URL = [http://www.epica.nl/ www.epica.nl]
Simone Simons Mark Jansen Ad Sluijter Yves Huts Coen Janssen Ariën van Weesenbeek
Jeroen Simons Helena Michaelsen
"Cry for the Moon" (2002–2003)
In early 2002,
Mark Jansenleft After Foreverover 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 Fireand Kamelot) and released in late 2003. The song "Façade of Reality" on the album was written about the September 11, 2001 attacksand includes fragments from speeches by Tony Blair.
"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 Zimmerand Danny Elfmanbeing cited as major inspirations. The album features guest singing by Roy Khan(from Kamelot) on the song "Trois Vierges". Epica also joined Kamelotas 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 soundtrackfor a Dutch movie called "Joyride", though it can also be seen as their third album. Mark Jansendescribes 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 Americawith 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 Weesenbeekfrom God Dethronedwas 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 Americaand released their latest album, " The Divine Conspiracy", this time on a new label, Nuclear Blast. That December, Ariën Van Weesenbeekwas announced to be Epica's permanent new drummer. They will once again tour North America in April 2008, with Into Eternityand Symphony X, this time with Amanda Somervillebecause of Simone's infection from MRSA.
The first single of the album was released on
August 10, 2007entitled "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 metalwith 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
Allmusicnotes 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
*Jeroen Simons - drums
*Helena Michaelsen - vocals
Ariën Van Weesenbeek- drums ( The Divine Conspiracyand 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"
The Phantom Agony"
Consign to Oblivion"
The Score - An Epic Journey"
The Divine Conspiracy"
EPs and singles
The Road to Paradiso"
We Will Take You with Us"
*2003: "The Phantom Agony"
*2005: "Solitary Ground"
*2007: "Never Enough"
* [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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