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Music / Epica

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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 and are onto their eighth album, Omega, which was released in February 2021.

Similar bands include: After Forever, Nightwish, 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
    • 2020 - The Quantum Enigma B-sides (EP of bonus songs that were previously exclusive to 1 version of the album)
  • 2016 - The Holographic Principle
    • 2017 - The Solace System (EP of bonus songs which didn't make it on their previous full-length)
    • 2018 - Epica vs. Attack on Titan (Cover EP of songs from Attack on Titan)
  • 2021 - Ωmega
    • 2022 - The Alchemy Project (EP with various guest vocalists)


  • Mark Jansen - rhythm guitar and growled vocals (2002-)
  • Coen Janssen - keyboards (2002-)
  • Simone Simons - vocals (2002-)
  • Ariën van Weesenbeek - drums, spoken word, growled vocals (2007-)
  • Isaac Delahaye - lead guitar (2009-)
  • Rob van der Loo - bass (2012-)

Former Members:

  • Helena Iren Michaelsen - vocals (2002-2003)
  • Jeroen Simons - drums (2002-2006)
  • Ad Sluitjer - lead guitar (2002-2008)
  • Yves Huts - bass (2003-2012)

Session and Touring members:

  • Koen Herfst – drums (tour 2007)
  • Amanda Somerville – 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 – touring keyboards (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 from "Consign to Oblivion" through "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 Ariën.

We will trope you with us.

  • Aesop: Most of their songs have some sort of greater message or story or moral, sometimes anvilicious, sometimes sneaked in...
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: "Universal Death Squad" predicts this might happen to us if technological advances are left unchecked.
  • Audience Participation Song: A number of songs are these but this is especially the case with "The Final Lullaby":
    It is time!
    Don't you cry!
    Say your prayers
    Wave goodbye!
    As the darkness comes down!
    The world ends and everything dies!
  • Bilingual Bonus: Latin and Arabic are just two of the languages the band uses in their work.
  • 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 fifth member of the set would spin off into its own trilogy known as...
    • Kingdom of Heaven (started with Design Your Universe, ended with Omega,) which dealt with the cycle between life and death.
    • 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.
    • The Holographic Principle is about scientific advancements and perceptions of reality. How much of it is an illusion we ourselves have created?
  • Cover Version:
  • 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. At the very end it is revealed that this is all a hallucination or dying dream for the man, who was actually killed in the aforementioned burglary.
  • Driven to Suicide: Discussed in "Serenade of Self-Destruction."
  • Dying Dream: The music video for "Unleashed" turns out to be this.
  • Earth Song: "Deep Water Horizon" was inspired by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank. The song is also more broadly about climate change caused by the consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: One at the start of every album, and often there is 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 as well:
    • The Phantom Agony: "Façade 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," "Chasing the Dragon" and "Fools of Damnation" are all in the 7-9 minute range, and the title track is the band's longest song to date at 13:57.
    • Design Your Universe: Besides the title track, we have "Kingdom of Heaven," Epica's second-longest song at 13:35.
    • Requiem for the Indifferent: "Monopoly on Truth," the title track and "Serenade of Self-Destruction" all qualify.
    • The Quantum Enigma: The title track clocks in at 11:53, "Sense Without Sanity" at 7:42.
    • The Holographic Principle: "Divide and Conquer" and "Once Upon a Nightmare" are both around 7 minutes, and the title track is 11:35.
    • Omega: "Kingdom of Heaven Part 3" clocks in at 13:24 while the title track and "Synergize - Manic Manifest" are 7 minutes and 6 minutes 30 seconds respectively.
  • Fanservice Cover:
  • 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.
    Don't forget you're able to design your own universe
    • "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.
  • Genre Mashup: 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.
  • Girly Girl: Simone's blog SmoonStyle focuses a lot on make-up and accessories.
  • Green Aesop: "This is the Time" and "Deep Water Horizon", the latter being about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
  • Harsh Vocals: Mark Jansen always grunts, growls and screams. In addition to Mark, both drummer Ariën 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 Ariën 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 6'1".
  • Humans Are Bastards: "Semblance of Liberty."
  • Idiosyncratic Album Theming: Every studio album has an intro between 90 seconds and two minutes long, and often 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 (though not the case with Requiem for the Indifferent where the title track appears in the middle of the tracklist or Omega which, while long, is only just over half the length of "Kingdom of Heaven ~ Part 3").
  • Incredibly Long Note: Simone's high note at the end of "Never Enough" is held for ten seconds.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Averted with Simons, played straight with Jansen.
  • 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.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Simone and Mark, although some songs have other backing growls by Ariën or in one case, Sander Gommans.
  • Mood Whiplash: "The Fifth Guardian" / "Chemical Insomnia" — a calm, oriental-themed orchestral piece segues straight into a death metal-esque intro.
  • 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 Ariën van Weesenbeek of God Dethroned fame.
    • Requiem for the Indifferent retains the melodeath influences and was overall more complex.
  • 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. Aside from the intro tracks, good examples include "Martyr of the Free Word," "Fools of Damnation," and "The Holographic Principle."
  • One-Woman Wail: Occasionally Epica strips back the sound to focus on Simone's vocals. The intro to "Twin Flames" is a good example.
  • Power Ballad: "Tides of Time," "Delirium," "Solitary Ground," "Canvas of Life," "Once Upon a Nightmare," "Rivers."
  • Rearrange the Song: The bonus tracks from The Holographic Principle are acoustic variations on the main album tracks. Notably, some of the reworks are also given Lighter and Softer lyrics. For example, "The Cosmic Algorithm" becomes "The Funky Algorithm" with lines such as "Find the reason why we're blind while we can see" rewritten "It's the funky groove that makes my booty move"
  • 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.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: One of the primary themes of The Holographic Principle. Especially prominent on the title track, as well as "Ascension - Dream State Armageddon."
  • 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.
  • 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 "Façade 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."
    • The monologues in "Seif al-Din" and "The Obsessive Devotion" were done by Amanda Somerville, who also helped as a vocal coach and lyric editor on the earlier albums.
  • 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A large part of the band's lyrics is this, towards some particular people, groups of people, or even humanity as a whole.
  • 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 Ariën as of the newer albums,) but can also be one of the guest voices.
    • The Holographic Principle has most of Mark's vocals overlaid with Arien's as well, basically creating a growl duet throughout the album.
  • 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 Class Anthem: "Resign to Surrender - A New Age Dawns - Pt. IV" poetically calls out income and wealth inequality with stanzas like "Now that all hands are tied / We're panic stricken / Wealth out of sight / Demolition, the damaged pride / The price of ambition", and closes on the lines "Chasing our addictions, we're stunting our growth / Once we get rid of this ballast we'll be able to / Restore the balance and distribute our wealth".
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


"Universal Death Squad"

Epica's Simone Simons sings soprano; guitarist Mark Jansen growls.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SopranoAndGravel

Media sources: