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EPICA

Progressive Metal • Netherlands


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Epica picture
Epica biography
EPICA were founded in 2002 by Mark Jansen who had just left AFTER FOREVER. The lineup was completed by Simone Simons on vocals, Ad Sluijter (guitars), Jeroen Simons (drums), Coen Janssen (keyboards) and Yves Huts (bass). In late 2003 they released their debut album "Phantom Agony". It featured a real choir, authentic string orchestra and very complex songwriting compared to their peers in the genre of female fronted symphonic metal, such as NIGHTWISH, WITHIN TEMPTATION or even AFTER FOREVER. In 2005 EPICA released their second album "Consign to Oblivion" which confirmed the style of their debut album, and additionally they released "The Score", an album based on a movie soundtrack which can be described as the typical Epica sound without drums, bass, guitars and keyboards - a purely classical approach.

The have continued to progress with larger-than-life releases "The Divine Conspiracy" and "Design Your Universe."



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
The band was cleared for addition by the prog metal team.



Discography:
Phantom Agony (2003)
Consign to Oblivion (2005)
The Score (2005)
The Divine Conspiracy (2007)
Design Your Universe (2009)

EPICA Videos (YouTube and more)


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EPICA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

EPICA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 89 ratings
The Phantom Agony
2003
3.65 | 77 ratings
Consign To Oblivion
2005
3.08 | 27 ratings
The Score - An Epic Journey (OST)
2005
3.95 | 139 ratings
The Divine Conspiracy
2007
3.90 | 125 ratings
Design Your Universe
2009
3.56 | 92 ratings
Requiem For The Indifferent
2012
3.81 | 93 ratings
The Quantum Enigma
2014
3.80 | 79 ratings
The Holographic Principle
2016
3.65 | 46 ratings
Omega
2021
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Alchemy Project
2022

EPICA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 35 ratings
The Classical Conspiracy
2009
3.96 | 5 ratings
Ωmega Alive
2021
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at AFAS Live
2023

EPICA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.08 | 12 ratings
2 Meter Sessies - We will take you with us
2004
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live at Rockpalast 2007
2007
4.21 | 10 ratings
Retrospect
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kingdom of Heaven Part 3 - The Antediluvian Universe - Omega Alive
2021

EPICA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 4 ratings
The Road to Paradiso
2006

EPICA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 2 ratings
The Phantom Agony
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Feint
2004
4.67 | 3 ratings
Cry for the Moon
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Solitary Ground
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Quietus (Silent Reverie)
2005
4.67 | 3 ratings
Never Enough
2007
4.00 | 5 ratings
Chasing the Dragon
2008
4.33 | 3 ratings
Unleashed
2009
4.50 | 2 ratings
Epica & Jńgermeister Memory stick
2009
4.50 | 2 ratings
This Is the Time
2010
3.50 | 2 ratings
Storm the Sorrow
2012
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Essence of Silence
2014
4.17 | 6 ratings
The Solace System
2017
3.50 | 2 ratings
Abyss of Time
2020
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Skeleton Key - Omega Alive
2021
0.00 | 0 ratings
Consign to Oblivion (Live at the Afas Live)
2023

EPICA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Consign To Oblivion by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.65 | 77 ratings

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Consign To Oblivion
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars In my opinion, Epica released two of their first albums that are solid but not too memorable for fan searching for distinctive metal music. Although they have had solid symphonic traces and music execution at the time already, there isn't the appetite for experimentation and development that started in 2007. Epica is capable of writing accessible melodic pieces like "Solitary Ground" or "Quietus" no wonder these became Epica live anthems. My favourites as a prog metal fan are the two tracks with the longest names such as the Consign To Oblivion ('A New Age Dawns' #3) that has pretty versatile music surroundings ranging from extreme vocals (Death/Black) to elegant classical feel. A promising album.
 The Divine Conspiracy by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.95 | 139 ratings

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The Divine Conspiracy
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The third proper album by Epica (not counting the symphonic soundtrack) brings the most overblown output by Epica yet. The drummer sounds like his hands were tied for the last two months prior to the album recording as his blistering speed (fill-ins, double bass) are all over. Guitar playing is intensive and heavier than ever before. In other words, the band was keen and motivated to explore new territory - a bit further away from classical music and closer to progressive and alternative metal. Singing is inspired, too, supported by memorable melodies such as in "The obsessive devotion" or "Never enough". The last 14-minute track is an ambitious metal opera with ambitions similar to the best of Symphony X - overheavy riffing sections, pure classical trips and even death-metal moments. This album is a candidate for one of the best progressive symphonic metal releases of 2007 (and I also recommend Therio's Gothic Kabbalah" and After Forever's eponymous album.
 The Score - An Epic Journey (OST) by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.08 | 27 ratings

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The Score - An Epic Journey (OST)
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars This soundtrack isn't representative of Epica's output as it focuses mainly on their symphonic instrumental character of music. The absence of guitars and rhythm section gives music more epic heights and gets over the top. Not many listeners will be tempting to listen to the short instrumental pieces as the main music meal - it's a more background matter, a fine soundtrack when watching a movie or playing a game. Having said that, there is a certain music quality and motives that will stay in your head. The last two tracks and "Trois vierges" are three sung tracks and offer the best value for the money. Don't expect progressive elements and dynamic instrumentation - be content with the symphonic melody driven tracks. Just when the only dynamic clearly metal-based track arrives, the album is over.
 The Phantom Agony by EPICA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
5.00 | 2 ratings

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The Phantom Agony
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

5 stars 20 years ago, a new album came out like a bomb and revolutionized the musical world in the classico-opera hard-rock space; EPICA with a mezzo-soprano Simone was hitting the molehill; prog one day, prog always to deflower a new concept, not only prog metal, EPICA. I had to talk about it since it's a major album in terms of innovation.

1. 'Adyta (The Neverending Embrace)' for the intro as it should be, sinister atmosphere, choirs, limit of an almost Gregorian chant, latent that's enough for me as an intro to imagine. 2. 'Sensorium' for the hit, if possible, to show the soul of the band, yes, needless to say, it's so visible, their 1st was the best by far; lots of Nightwish in it though. 3.' Cry for the Moon (The Embrace That Smothers, Part IV)' for the characteristic sound between metal, sympho and classic rock opera, a style apart; lack of solos but classic cinematic atmospheres before their time, the drums being there for something! the least, even if I got used to it, this growl voice, good Nightwish did the same so why not, but still Simone is more than enough for me; in the absence of solo you will have an acceleration of the air, style apart 4. 'Feint' the melting headline; when Enigma and Era transform and give birth with a crescendical air of beauty, Simone shows that her voice is enough for this title, and that the solo is not essential 5. 'Illusive Consensus' with a nagging intro, the DVD showed Amanda's help with vocals and the presence of a classic space with violins which potentiated the hollywood-opera rock metal side; a little guitar solo here anyway 6. 'Fašade of Reality (The Embrace That Smothers, Part V)' for one of the 2 river titles, it's fast at the start, the real or synthetic violins accompany a fight of voices, romantico-ethereo-aperitif or opera I no longer know; Mark's growling voice passes almost like a letter here, Simone rises to angel level with her voice; in the absence of a guitar solo, you are entitled to a classico-romantic-cinematic break before your time, beautiful! Simone shows her talent as a mezzo-soprano and breaks down the boundaries between classical and heavy-rock, as if the Rondo Venezualo merged with Apocalyptica 7. 'Run for a Fall' for the romantic ballad from start to finish, Amanda and Simone show that you can sing well before being beautiful, the archetype also of the metalhead who only saw women as backing vocalists before, do not forget. 8. 'Seif al Din (The Embrace That Smothers, Part VI)' on the oriental texture, between howls of Mark I'm struggling and the high but beautiful voice of Simone and a cinematic voiceover or otherwise; we feel the simplistic but catchy development; we take advantage of the string chamber, we would find the second growl almost soft, as soft as that look from Simone at the end of the clip; hey what no I did not fall in love! 9. 'The Phantom Agony' for the track on the album, everything is there to make it perfect; the rhythm, the choirs, look at the clip of the dvd (seen a few times), we feel that the group is having fun surfing between the hollywood of a Rhapsody, the bombast of an Ayreon and the mastery of an Epica .

Well, a bombshell album, one of those that revolutionizes the progressive sound and that allows a musical opening, that's also the goal of loving a genre that is evolving, hence this babbling. (Note for the album 'The Phantom Agony 5).

 Ωmega Alive by EPICA album cover Live, 2021
3.96 | 5 ratings

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Ωmega Alive
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Normally, when Epica release a new album, they then tour the world for at least 18 months, but of course there is nothing normal about the music scene anymore. Some bands have been able to get out on the road, but there are a great many issues that need always dealing with, and so far, there have been few bands touring anything like they used to. For example, here in New Zealand the closest we have had to an international act touring in the last two years is Crowded House, and most of them are Kiwi! Currently we are in a position where the largest number of full-vaccinated people allowed in one place is 100, which means rock gigs are pretty much off the table although I do have some folk gigs planned.

So what were the band to do? They decided to undertake a streaming event with no audience which would be the biggest show they had ever done; with everything they could think of included in way which could not be repeated on tour as it was just too big. Sonically, for the first time ever they performed songs like "The Skeleton Key" or the insanely monumental "Kingdom of Heaven Part 3" from 'Ωmega', alongside the band's most popular songs, rare songs, fan favourites and surprises. This has of course been made available in multiple different versions and formats, but I only have the audio and what is strange is that there is no audience, which in turn of course means no interaction. At one point Simone thanks the fans for everything they have done, but it is just weird as of course there is no response. Not having an audience did not mean that the band were going to do anything but put their all into the show and the result is another symphonic metallic monster. The strange thing is that they are so good at what they do that at times it feels much more like another studio recording as opposed to a live show. Playing it straight after 'Ωmega' feel quite unnerving, almost as if this were a bonus disc, but this was released at the end of 2021 whereas the studio was at the beginning.

If one were to look for just one song to see why these band are held in such high regard then just listen to "Unchain Utopia" which has a stunning performance from Simone, backed up with crunching guitars and choir. Superb. I only hope Epica will be able to get back out on the road soon, and they decide to come down here as that will be a show well worth seeing. Overall, this is a great release.

 Omega by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.65 | 46 ratings

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Omega
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars When it comes to female singers performing in symphonic metallic styles then there is no doubt that Floor Jansen has been leading the pack, particularly since joining Nightwish. But to think she is the only person producing incredibly passionate and dynamic work is wrong on so many levels, and Epica are a prime example of that. Guitarist and gruff vocalist Mark Jansen formed Epica after leaving After Forever (where Floor was the singer) in 2002. Keyboard player Coen Janssen and singer Simone Simons have been there since the very beginning, while Isaac Delahaye (guitars), AriŰn Van Weesenbeek (drums) and Rob Van Der Loo (bass) are all long-term members. Over the last eight years, three records and hundreds of gigs, the band has formed into an indestructible unit, who know exactly what they want to achieve and how they are going to go about it. Five years on from their last studio album, this is the final part of the trilogy they commenced with 'The Quantum Enigma'.

Although symphonic and progressive, they are also more metallic than the likes of Nightwish, with two guitarists and growled and gruff vocals providing a contrast with Simons. This album sweeps and swirls, and the only way to really describe it is as majestic, as it is that on so many levels. There are times when the keyboards fall away, and we are left with two guitarists belting along, then the keyboards come in to provide support or even take over altogether. During some songs Jansen performs as a co-lead singer, with a far more dominant role than the one undertaken by Marco Hietala, far gruffer and in a lower register. When that is placed against the delicacy of Simons then the contrast is quite stark, driving the music into extremes.

A special mention must be made of "Code Of Life", which contains far more elements of world music with a very ethnic sounding beginning, which allows the song to move in a very different direction indeed, even when the guitars finally come crunching in on the same melody. This is a thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, and some 20 years since they started, Epica continue to show they are a class act with a great deal to offer the scene.

 The Phantom Agony by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.92 | 89 ratings

BUY
The Phantom Agony
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

5 stars 20 years ago, a new album came out like a bomb and revolutionized the musical world in the classico-opera hard-rock space; EPICA with a mezzo-soprano Simone was hitting the molehill; prog one day, prog always to deflower a new concept, not only prog metal, EPICA. I had to talk about it since it's a major album in terms of innovation.

1. 'Adyta (The Neverending Embrace)' for the intro as it should be, sinister atmosphere, choirs, limit of an almost Gregorian chant, latent that's enough for me as an intro to imagine. 2. 'Sensorium' for the hit, if possible, to show the soul of the band, yes, needless to say, it's so visible, their 1st was the best by far; lots of Nightwish in it though. 3.' Cry for the Moon (The Embrace That Smothers, Part IV)' for the characteristic sound between metal, sympho and classic rock opera, a style apart; lack of solos but classic cinematic atmospheres before their time, the drums being there for something! the least, even if I got used to it, this growl voice, good Nightwish did the same so why not, but still Simone is more than enough for me; in the absence of solo you will have an acceleration of the air, style apart 4. 'Feint' the melting headline; when Enigma and Era transform and give birth with a crescendical air of beauty, Simone shows that her voice is enough for this title, and that the solo is not essential 5. 'Illusive Consensus' with a nagging intro, the DVD showed Amanda's help with vocals and the presence of a classic space with violins which potentiated the hollywood-opera rock metal side; a little guitar solo here anyway 6. 'Fašade of Reality (The Embrace That Smothers, Part V)' for one of the 2 river titles, it's fast at the start, the real or synthetic violins accompany a fight of voices, romantico-ethereo-aperitif or opera I no longer know; Mark's growling voice passes almost like a letter here, Simone rises to angel level with her voice; in the absence of a guitar solo, you are entitled to a classico-romantic-cinematic break before your time, beautiful! Simone shows her talent as a mezzo-soprano and breaks down the boundaries between classical and heavy-rock, as if the Rondo Venezualo merged with Apocalyptica 7. 'Run for a Fall' for the romantic ballad from start to finish, Amanda and Simone show that you can sing well before being beautiful, the archetype also of the metalhead who only saw women as backing vocalists before, do not forget. 8. 'Seif al Din (The Embrace That Smothers, Part VI)' on the oriental texture, between howls of Mark I'm struggling and the high but beautiful voice of Simone and a cinematic voiceover or otherwise; we feel the simplistic but catchy development; we take advantage of the string chamber, we would find the second growl almost soft, as soft as that look from Simone at the end of the clip; hey what no I did not fall in love! 9. 'The Phantom Agony' for the track on the album, everything is there to make it perfect; the rhythm, the choirs, look at the clip of the dvd (seen a few times), we feel that the group is having fun surfing between the hollywood of a Rhapsody, the bombast of an Ayreon and the mastery of an Epica .

Well, a bombshell album, one of those that revolutionizes the progressive sound and that allows a musical opening, that's also the goal of loving a genre that is evolving, hence this babbling.

 Design Your Universe by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.90 | 125 ratings

BUY
Design Your Universe
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars There is no doubt that Epica's fifth album, 2009's 'Design Your Universe' was a breakthrough both for them and for the symphonic metal genre in general. Although the band had already built a strong reputation and released some great albums since being formed by Mark Jansen following his departure from After Forever, this album marked the watershed between a fairly well-known symphonic metal band with high ambitions and an international phenomenon of great prowess. With striking momentum and a carefully maintained balance between epic metal and orchestral soundscapes, between cinematic bombast and teeth-clenching heaviness, between Mark Jansen's grunts and Simone Simons's vocals, everything just worked. Looking back at it now it is easy with hindsight to point out the importance of this album in their canon, as it was the first to feature Ari'n van Weesenbeek as their new permanent drummer, Isaac Delahaye as their new guitarist and cover artist Stefan Heilemann (Heilemania), all of whom are still involved to this day. To celebrate the tenth anniversary the decision was made to revisit the album, re-mix it, and then provide some additional acoustic versions from the current line-up, making for a double disc release which is roughly 110 minutes long.

The band has been incredibly stable in turns of line-up over the length of their career, and the only new boy since the original is bassist Rob van der Loo who joined in 2012, so it was easy for the whole band to be involved with going over the original tapes. What can one say about an album which is either the best, or second best (2016's 'The Holographic Principle' is in very close contention for that title) of their whole career? The sound has been kept true to the original, although some of the compression has been released, and any album which contains 'Martyr of the Free Word', 'Unleashed', power ballad 'Tides of Time' or the epic 'Design Your Universe' is always going to be well received. Jansen says. 'My favourite song was and still is 'Kingdom of Heaven'. It has all the elements EPICA stood for at the time, but even more so because it is dedicated to my grandmother who passed away while we were recording this album. It will always have a special meaning to me.' And not only to him. 'Mark's grandmother was a very important figure for the whole band', Simone Simons says. 'Her house was our rehearsal space from the beginning of EPICA. She always greeted us with a smile and made sure we had everything we needed.'

Fans will play the first disc with real joy, but will turn to the second disc with interest, as here the band take on five songs from the album in an acoustic, orchestral and choral setting. I love hearing Simone's voice in this setting as she is letting it flow without having to provide the force and presence it requires when she is fronting a metal band at full force, with 'Burn To A Cinder' being a fine example of her range and style. There will be many fans who think the band may never better 'Design Your Universe' but they may not have heard the Gold Edition yet.

 The Holographic Principle by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 79 ratings

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The Holographic Principle
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Epica is one of the more notable bands of the ever-growing operatic female-fronted metal acts. One of Its distinguished characteristics is how the quasi-symphonic elements play not just a supporting background role, but often lead the music as much as the typical metal instrumentation. Another is the beauty-and-the-beast formula, with ethereal acrobatics of Simone Simons and the often symphonic pop melodic inclinations contrasted with the harsh metal riffs and growls. The growls are annoying as always, of course, but I know, I know , it's kind of Epica's schtick it can't be itself without. I've previously said that all Epica sound is the same, and it kind of still is, but what I marvel about is their consistency in proving high quality and catchy material with so many 70-minute-plus albums to their credit.
 The Holographic Principle by EPICA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.80 | 79 ratings

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The Holographic Principle
Epica Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars I can't put my finger on it, but there is definitely something that lifts this 2016 album to a higher plane than the one that came out just two years earlier. The intensity is still at the very high level, but Simone seems to be more in control on this one, as opposed to sometimes being swept away. It is bombastic, it is massively over the top, and the guitars have reined in just ever so slightly, although at times they still race off like bolting horses that have been given their heads. It is an overpowering aural assault on the senses, and I love it. The closest way I can think of describing it is like being at a version of Handel's "Messiah" with full choir and orchestra, but with Slipknot also being involved!

I was playing these two albums back to back the other day, and even without looking I knew when this one had started as there is a definite lift, a step up in just about everything. Symphonic over the top progressive metal just doesn't get any better than this. This is not something that can be played as background music, but rather demands full attention of the listener at all times, as this is all-consuming, and not for the fainthearted. I really do hope that the guys decided to come down to this part of the world for a show one day, as they must be incredible in concert. This is essential, nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks to MikeEnRegalia for the artist addition. and to Finnforest for the last updates

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