Tag Archives: dutch metal bands

PiercingMetal Talks To Epica’s Mark Jansen & Simone Simons (9/20/2006)

Logo - Epica

Epica is one of the most outstanding Symphonic Power Metal acts to hit the scene in some time. As the opener for Kamelot it was great to find the band coming to New York as their opener for the tour. The two have worked together in the past and this was met with approval in the Metal world. The band visited the Prog-Power USA Festival earlier that week and now were off and running with Kamelot. I had reviewed a majority of their releases and as a result I was very interested in speaking with them yet was unsure of how possible this would actually be on the night of the show. The uncertainty led me to not have a “formal” interview written up and of course, as luck would have it I was able to meet both Simone Simons and Mark Janssen. After introductions were made, we secured some space in the depths of the back halls of the venue where we also found Yves relaxing. Mark joked that if I wanted to know anything related to Belgium, like about the fries that I should ask him. We were off to a great start with this one it seemed for there would more joking ahead with this very good-natured and friendly bunch of musicians.

Mark: Yves is here so if you need to know about anything from Belgium, such as Belgium fries you can ask him.

PIERCINGMETAL: What do I need to know about fries and beer? What do you want to tell us about them?

Yves: It depends on what you want to know.

Simone: They’re tasty, they’re thick……
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“Exordium” by After Forever

Artist: After Forever
Title: “Exordium”
Label: The End/Transmission Records
Release Date: 4/13/2004
Genre: Melodic Dark Metal
Rating: 7/10

Closing in on the bands that are fronted by female vocalists comes After Forever. Singer Floor Jansen is aiming to make fans of the Finnish band Nightwish and Within Temptation her own with her dynamic style and vocal prowess. On this EP you will find some solid Melodic Dark Metal for not only does it feature Floor’s amazing voice but is also includes the darker vocals of Sanders Gommans. The group has grown musically from their last work with departed guitarist Mark Jansen (who is not related to Floor in case you wondered) and began the groundwork on this CD which best serves as an introduction to the coming album “Invisible Circles”. Of the 6 tracks four are original compositions and two are cover renditions. There is a great instrumental piece in “Line Of Thoughts” and the single for the CD “My Choice” is a wonderful number that might give Nightwish a run for its money if it gets any airplay in areas that feature this stuff. Floor is a classically trained Soprano and she belts out the notes on the CD with apparent ease. The included covers were interesting as a great version of Iron Maiden’s “The Evil That Men Do” is delivered with finesse. It was also nice to see a non-expected Maiden tune be used rather than the standards that everyone does. On “One Day I’ll Fly Away” we see an R&B track get the Symphonic Metal treatment and sounds pretty good considering. This tune was sung by Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and I think I will stick with Floor on this one. Joining Sanders and Floor in the group, the members are rounded out by Lando Van Gils, Andre Borgman, Bas Maas, & Luk Van Gerven. I think we are going to see some great things from this band and if you are fans of Metal fronted by the powerful female presence this is right up your alley..
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“Consign To Oblivion” by Epica

Artist: Epica
Title: “Consign To Oblivion”
Label: The End/Transmission Records
Release Date: 10/11/2005
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Rating: 7.5/10

Holland’s Epica are one of those bands that are following a great path of music forged in the footsteps of bands such as Nightwish and Therion. They do this by combining Symphonic music with powerful Metal riffs mixed with the elements that their Mezzo Soprano lead singer brings to the table. The group also employs a full choir and that brings so much more of their music to life. As you listen you will find some traits of these bands but also a spark of originality that makes for a good overall listen. Epica was founded by After Forever’s Mark Jansen who left that band and began working with Simone Simons. Simone’s voice is as amazing as she is beautiful and from the moment I heard their debut “The Phantom Agony” I knew this was going to be a band I would be interested in. There are many who call this group a second rate After Forever simply because the band utilizes the clean operatic style and the gruff Black Metal growls at points in the music like they do. It also doesn’t help the comparison when both groups feature a standout female vocalist. As someone who has listened to and reviewed both bands I would have to disagree for each one offers the listener something different. There are some similar writing styles as Jansen was a principal writer in After Forever yet with Epica there are more clean Male vocals than the growls used in the former band. Epica also slows it down a little more hitting a couple of ballads on the record where AF maintains a generally heavy course. I like both Floor Jansen and Simone Simons and rather than debate which one is better feel that anyone who enjoys Operatic Power Metal or Symphonic Metal should give each group a fair shot at an unbiased listen.
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