Just keeps getting more Epic-a.
Epica is a Dutch
band that straddles several genres depending on which particular song they are playing at any given moment, from Symphonic Metal
to Power Metal
, from Gothic Metal
to Progressive Metal
and even stepping into the territory of Death Metal
from time to time. They began playing as Epica (a name taken from a Kamelot
album) in 2003, before that they were known as Sahara Dust
before gaining the talents of Simone in 2003 and changing their name to Epica. The band are still going strong, currently on their The Quantum Enigma
tour following the release of their newest album in 2014 of the same name.
Similar bands include: After Forever
, and Within Temptation
- 2003 The Phantom Agony
- 2004 We Will Take You with Us (DVD)
- 2005 Consign to Oblivion
- 2005 The Score - An Epic Journey (Classical instrumental soundtrack album)
- 2006 The Road to Paradiso (CD/Book collection for fans)
- 2007 The Divine Conspiracy
- 2009 The Classical Conspiracy (Live album, recorded with a 40-piece orchestra and a 30-piece choir)
- 2009 Design Your Universe
- 2012 Requiem for the Indifferent
- 2013 Retrospect (A ten year anniversary live album)
- 2014 The Quantum Enigma
Current and past band membersCurrent Line-up
Former band members
- Vocals: Simone Simons
- Rhythm Guitar and growled vocals: Mark Jansen
- Lead Guitar: Isaac Delahaye
- Bass Guitar: Rob van der Loo
- Leopards: Coen Janssen
- Drums, spoken word and growled vocals: AriŽn van Weesenbeek
- Vocals: Helena Iren Michaelsen (2002-2003)
- Drums: Jeroen Simons (2002-2006)
- Lead Guitar: Ad Sluitjer (2002-2008)
- Vocals: Amanda Somerville (2008; filled in for Simone while she was ill)
- Bass: Yves Huts (2003-2012)
- Koen Herfst Ė Drums (tour 2007)
- Amanda Somerville Ė Lead vocals (North American tour 2008,) soprano vocals on "The Phantom Agony" and "We Will Take You With Us," background vocals on "Consign to Oblivion," "The Divine Conspiracy," "Design Your Universe," and "Requiem for the Indifferent" (Somerville also performed alto choir vocals for this album,) now married to Sander Gommans.
- Oliver Palotai Ė Touring leopards (North American tour 2010,) also Simone's partner.
- Bridgit Fogle - Alto vocals on "We Will Take You With Us" and "The Phantom Agony," background vocals on "Consign to Oblivion," "The Divine Conspiracy," and "Design Your Universe."
- Annie Gobel - Alto and backing vocals on "We Will Take You with Us."
- Linda Janssen: Backing vocals on "We Will Take You With Us," choir vocals on "Consign to Oblivion," "The Divine Conspiracy," and "Design Your Universe", soprano choir vocals on "Requiem for the Indifferent," also Coen's wife.
- Laura Macri: Soprano choir vocals on "Requiem for the Indifferent," also a member of the project group MaYan along with Mark and AriŽn.
Epica and their music contain the following tropes:
- Aesop: Most of their songs have some sort of greater message or story or moral, sometimes anvilicious, sometimes sneaked in...
- Ascended Fanboy: Or rather, ascended fan band to Kamelot with Simone being a regular guest on their albums and often touring together.
- Break Up Song: "Never Enough" if nothing else.
- Concept Album: They are rather good at keeping an Aesop theme to it.
- Mark Jansen's The Embrace That Smothers (started with After Forever's Prison of Desire and ended with The Divine Conspiracy) elaborates humanity's flirtation with belief in a higher power and the associated corruption.
- Also A New Age Dawns (started with Consign to Oblivion ended with Design Your Universe,) based on the Mayan civilization.
- The Phantom Agony is inspired by the events such as the 9-11 attacks and abuse of children in the Catholic church.
- Consign to Oblivion is inspired by Mayan Civilization/religion.
- The Divine Conspiracy is about a philosophical idea that all religions are the same.
- Design Your Universe is optimistic about humanity's capacity for growth and uniting religion and science. (Don't forget you're able to, design your own universe!) Musically/compositionally the darkest of Epica's work, in contrast to its lyrical optimism.
- Requiem for the Indifferent is inspired by the enormous tension between different religions and cultures, wars, natural disasters and the financial crisis. Lyrically a bit darker than the others.
- The Quantum Enigma is about trying to find a deeper understanding in life and beyond through transcending one's own mind.
- Driven to Madness: The protagonist from the "Unleashed" video — he is shot in front of his partner during a robbery. He seems to recover from the attack, until he starts seeing the band members of Epica staring menacingly at him everywhere he goes until eventually he ends up in a mental hospital, with the staff also being the members of Epica. Unfortunately, this is revealed to be a hallucination as the man ended up dying from the aforementioned burglary.
- Driven to Suicide: Discussed in "Serenade of Self-Destruction."
- Dying Dream: The music video for "Unleashed" turns out to be this.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: One at the start of every album, but their more recent albums each have one more in the middle ("La'petach Chatat Rovetz," "The Price of Freedom," "Anima," and "The Fifth Guardian.")
- Epic Rocking: The title tracks of each album, but usually at least one other track:
- The Phantom Agony: "FaÁade of Reality" clocks in at 8:12, and the title track at 8:59.
- Consign to Oblivion: The title track is the only long one here, lasting 9:45.
- The Divine Conspiracy: "The Obsessive Devotion" is 7:13 (combined with "Indigo," it would be 9:18 long,) "Chasing the Dragon" is 7:40 long, "Fools of Damnation" clocks in at 8:42, and the title track is the band's longest song to date, at 13:57.
- Design Your Universe: "Kingdom of Heaven" is Epica's second-longest song, a 13:35-long five-movement suite. The title track clocks in at 9:28.
- Requiem for the Indifferent: "Monopoly on Truth" lasts for 7:11 (combined with "Karma," it would be 8:44 long,) the title track is 8:34 long and "Serenade of Self-Destruction" clocks in at 9:52.
- The Quantum Enigma: The title track is Epica's third-longest song at 11:53, "Sense Without Sanity" (The Impervious Code) is 7:42.
- Fanservice: The cover of the album The Divine Conspiracy features Simone wearing elaborate body paint, and nothing else.
- To be fair, the cover is supposed to be a symbolic representation of the Garden of Eden. That being said, the cover for The Phantom Agony does contain Absolute Cleavage. And let's not forget about the white body suit worn in "Storm the Sorrow"...
- The men can also put on a show of fansevice. See Walking Shirtless Scene below.
- Fiery Redhead: Averted, Simone is quiet, soft-spoken and laid-back in interviews and her blog is very much of a feminine nature.
- Follow Your Heart: A moral you can take from both "Design Your Universe" the album and the "A New Age Dawns Series" of songs.
- "Guilty Demeanor" is a song about staying true to yourself in the face of criticism. "Storm the Sorrow," about songwriting in the face of criticism, also features this.
- Subverted, however, with "Stay the Course" — the song is a political commentary on George W. Bush's presidency and suggests that what he thinks he's doing is actually part of someone else's plan.
- The Fundamentalist: A Berserk Button of the band.
- Girly Girl: Simone's blog Smoon Style focuses a lot on make-up and accessories.
- Green Aesop: "This is the Time" and "Deep Water Horizon".
- Harsh Vocals: Mark Jansen always grunts, growls and screams. In addition to Mark, both drummer AriŽn van Weesenbeek and lead guitarist Isaac Delahaye provide harsh vocals as well (all 3 harsh vocalists can be heard on Requiem for the Indifferent, for instance AriŽn can be heard providing the harsh vocals on the verses for Stay the Course,) although Isaac tends to limit himself to doing live backing growls only. This makes Epica a quadruple-vocalist band, which deserves awesomeness points in itself.
- Heavy Mithril: A fair amount of their songs fall into this category with the combination of social commentary. Their earlier videos for "The Phantom Agony" and "Feint" oozes the stuff as well.
- Huge Girl Tiny Girl: Whenever◊ Simone performs with◊ Floor Jansen. Simone's 5'6, and Floor is at least six feet tall.
- Humans Are Bastards: "Semblance of Liberty."
- Idiosyncratic Album Theming: Every studio album has an intro between 90 seconds and two minutes long, and starting with The Divine Conspiracy, there is also a similar interlude about halfway through. Each album also ends with an unusually long composition, which was also the title track on every album until Requiem for the Indifferent.
- Incredibly Long Note: While not as long as examples by other singers, Simone ends "Never Enough" with an impressive G5 held for ten seconds.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Averted with Simons, played straight with Jansen.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Simone's surname is pronounced in a similar manner to her first name: "See-mons."
- Kubrick Stare: Used heavily in the video for "Unleashed," mostly coming from Simons, but the rest of the band is also featured during the video as well.
- Last Chorus Slow Down: "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Karma."
- Last Note Nightmare: "Beyond Belief" — a song about death and what might or might not come after — ends with a chilling wind and a gradually fading heartbeat.
- Mezzo-Soprano And Gravel: In a twist, newer albums have two gravel voices. Mark supplies the deeper grunts, but AriŽn provides higher-pitched screams starting on Design Your Universe.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Epica's lyrics are markedly darker than the lyrics of most other symphonic metal bands, and usually range between 7 and 9.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Because of the Harsh Vocals and Melodic Death Metal influences, Epica is a bit heavier than other Symphonic Metal bands on average, hovering around 7 to 9. Some of the ballads can go as low as 1, but "Chasing the Dragon" covers everything from 2 to 9.
- Mood Whiplash: "The Fifth Guardian" / "Chemical Insomnia" — a calm, oriental-themed orchestral piece segues straight into a death metal-esque intro.
- Ms. Fanservice: Simons.
- Multilingual Bonus: Latin and Arabic are just two of the languages the band uses in their work.
- New Sound Album:
- Consign to Oblivion is more classical than most of their stuff, but the variation between all albums is noticeable and almost always a "new sound" on some level...
- The Divine Conspiracy was overall heavier than the debut while still having the neo-classical influences from Consign.
- Design Your Universe introduced an even greater Melodic Death Metal slant thanks to the introduction of Issac Delahaye and AriŽn van Weesenbeek of God Dethroned fame.
- Requiem for the Indifferent retains the melodeath influences and was overall more complex.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: The title track of Requiem of the Indifferent samples an extreme amount of sounds from Asian to classical choirs to epic riffs... But they generally tend to mix and match any and all music genres, for example; "Never Enough" is classical pop inspired metal.
- Non-Appearing Title: About half the time, although a few songs just slightly reword the title in their lyrics.
- The Phantom Agony: "Sensorium," "Cry for the Moon," and "Illusive Concensus."
- Consign to Oblivion: Almost the entire album, including the title track. The only songs that have a full title drop or a close approximation are "The Last Crusade," "Blank Infinity," and "Another Me" (its subtitle, "In Lack'ech," translates from Mayan to "you are the other me.")
- The Divine Conspiracy: "Menace of Vanity," "Chasing the Dragon," "Fools of Damnation," "Beyond Belief," "Safeguard to Paradise," and "Sancta Terra."
- Design Your Universe: "Resign to Surrender," "Kingdom of Heaven," "Deconstruct," and "White Waters."
- Requiem for the Indifferent: Even more often than on Consign to Oblivion, with only "Storm the Sorrow" and "Stay the Course" as aversions.
- The Quantum Enigma: Scaled back somewhat with "Victims of Contingency" and "Reverence - Living in the Heart" not employing the non-parenthesised title in the lyrics. "Sense Without Sanity" is used in the line "sense without your sanity."
- Of Corsets Sexy: Who do you think?
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Every album. Good examples include "Martyr of the Free World," "Fools of Damnation," and "Serenade of Self-Destruction."
- One-Woman Wail: Occurs frequently in their songs including "Quietus" and "Twin Flames."
- Power Ballad: "Tides of Time," "Delirium," "Solitary Ground," and "Canvas of Life."
- Rapunzel Hair: Simone is known for her long, flowing red hair. This also extends to the other members of Epica (save for Coen, who shaved his hair off for charity in 2013.)
- Religion Rant Song: Not afraid of this trope at all. Examples include "Cry for the Moon," "Requiem for the Indifferent," and "The Embrace That Smothers" saga shared with After Forever. The Divine Conspiracy is very much a Religion Rant Album.
- Repetitive Name: Simone Johanna Maria Simons.
- Ripped from the Headlines: "Requiem for the Indifferent" is very grounded in many of the issues of the early 2010s, including one song about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and another about the Libyan Civil War.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: Simone drops her relatively strong Dutch accent when she sings. Mark has a surprisingly soft speaking voice for someone who does death growling on a regular basis.
- Step Up to the Microphone: "Incentive" is the only song where Mark growls by himself.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Pretty cynical, though Design Your Universe is somewhat more idealist than the other albums.
- Something Completely Different: According to Mark, the reason why a music video was released for "Victims of Contingency." Beforehand, the Epica songs given music videos were generally the most single-friendly and focused a lot on Simone's vocals. "Victims of Contingency" is one of the heaviest songs on The Quantum Enigma with Simone only singing during the chorus.
- Soprano and Gravel: Simone is the soprano, Mark is the gravel.
- Specs of Awesome: Coen Janssen.
- Spoken Word in Music: This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today, spoken by Tony Blair in "FaÁade of Reality."
- Design Your Universe: Cameos by Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush in "The Price Of Freedom" and "Semblance of Liberty" respectively.
- Requiem for the Indifferent: Excerpts from a speech given by Muammar Gaddafi features in "Deter the Tyrant."
- General news reports can be heard in "Living a Lie" and "Serenade of Self-Destruction."
- Surprisingly Good English: Can be found as early as The Phantom Agony where Simone speaks a monologue in "Seif al-Din."
- Sweet Tooth: Simone has a self-confessed one.
- Take That: "Run for a Fall," it was a harsh critique of After Forever's change in sound.
- "Requiem for the Indifferent" takes aim at many a person/situation.
- Three Minutes of Writhing: The video for "Storm the Sorrow." Justified in that although Simone is wearing a white form-fitting body suit throughout most of the video, the writhing is due to the tar-like tentacles trying to consume her at every opportunity.
- Title Requiem: The album and title track Requiem for the Indifferent.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change; Played with:
- Straight: "Solitary Ground," "Unleashed," "Our Destiny," "Storm the Sorrow," "Twin Flames," "Avalanche," "Victims of Contingency," and "The Essence of Silence."
- Subversions: "Beyond Belief," "The Last Crusade," and "Chasing the Dragon."
- Inverted with "Unchain Utopia" where the Lyrical Cold Open and intro are noticeably higher than the rest of the song.
- An interesting case occurs on "Monopoly on Truth" — The second chorus (where Simone sings by herself) is modulated lower than both the first and final choruses.
- Uncommon Time: A lot of their songs like to randomly throw in bars of alternating time signatures (e.g. "Menace of Vanity" alternates between 4/4 and 6/4 while "Internal Warfare" alternates between 4/4 and 7/8.)
- Vocal Evolution: The operatic vocals are less prominent with each album. Simone also did away with higher pitches and started using a more deeper and intimate voice with The Divine Conspiracy. Lampshaded in this video.
- Vocal Tag Team: Simone and the male vocalist(s). Most often Mark (and occasionally AriŽn as of the newer albums,) but can also be one of the guest voices.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Mark and Isaac, much to the fangirls' glee.
- Witch Hunt: The video for "The Phantom Agony" suggests that Simone is accused of of being a witch, as evidenced by the instruments of torture she is placed under, and her being thrown underwater. She is eventually bought to be executed by her bandmates but apparently escapes, leaving them dead.
- Working with the Ex: Simone was Mark's girlfriend when she joined the band, but both of them remain despite breaking up some time ago.
- Despite Mark leaving After Forever over creative differences, members from both bands have featured in the other's works or appeared in concerts as guest stars.
- Woman in Black: "Storm the Sorrow."
- Woman in White: "The Phantom Agony" and "Storm the Sorrow."