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So, this totally wasn’t supposed to have started last week…

In any case! Every week I’m going to do a post about a band or composer that I quite enjoy, hopefully every Sunday. I felt it was only appropriate to begin with unquestionably my favorite band:

Epica (from The Netherlands)

Epica belongs to a genre called Symphonic Metal. A fusion of Classical and Metal, combining the power of Classical, the energy of Metal, all held together by the collective complexity and musical mastery of both. Generally these bands are fronted by classically-trained vocalist, almost always women, along with skilled guitarists, experienced composers, and very precise drummers.

The lead singer of the band is Simone Simons, a classically-trained coloratura mezzo-soprano vocalist with a full four-octave range (she also performs in all choir parts to their songs with female vocalists). Their backup vocals and rhythm guitar are performed by Mark Jansen. Coen Janssen has been their keyboardist since their formation. Yves Huts made his last performance with the band in 2012, and has since been replaced. Lead guitars and drums are done by Isaac Delahaye and Arien van Weesenbeek respectively, both formerly of God Dethroned.

Not to mention their lyrics are always wonderfully insightful, philosophical, and intelligent. Big points in that regard.

The whole band is incredibly friendly and very personable. I’ve been to all of their US concerts in New England since 2008, and I usually make sure to buy a pass to meet them. They’re always talkative and genuinely interesting people, and I’ve spoken with them about a number of things involving music, their personal lives, and random stuff in general (like how musty the upstairs of The Palladium gets).

And yes, Simone actually IS as beautiful as she looks in their videos in person, haha.

The first selection is their single “Storm the Sorrow” off of their most recent album release: “Requiem for the Indifferent”. Like most of their singles, this single is a very commercially accessible song, but I feel like it still encapsulates enough of their general sound to be a good introductory piece.

The next is the title track from “Requiem for the Indifferent”, which is a good display  of their fusion of Metal and Classical. It’s a long song, but it features a wide range of vocal styles, from Simone’s shift between contemporary and classical vocals, to Marks backing vocals, as well as a good amount of instrumental parts to keep things going.

The next two videos are to showcase Simone Simons’ vocal ability, which is the main thing that has pushed them to the top of my list. The first song is their song “Feint” off of their debut album “The Phantom Agony”, and the second is a cover of “Memory” from the musical “Cats”. They’re from a live dvd they recorded back when the band was first picking up heat in Europe, and I think it shows just how talented they are.

And here’s one more just because I like you guys:

“Sancta Terra” from the album: “The Divine Conspiracy”