Epica is a Dutch Symphonic Metal band formed in 2002 in the city of Reuver, Limburg, by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen.

After he departed from the Symphonic Metal band “After Forever” in 2002, Jansen founded his own band, which was initially called Sahara Dust. The original lineup also included the former lead singer of Trail of Tears, Helena Iren Michaelsen. However, there were some changes in the lineup and mezzo-soprano Simone Simons replaced Helena.

The first album, “The Phantom Agony”, was released in 2003 and received a good critical response.
Its successor, “Consign to Oblivion”, came out in 2005 and debuted at number 12 on the Dutch charts. The third album, “The Divine Conspiracy”, was released through the Nuclear Blast record label in 2007 after the split with the Transmission Records label.

In 2009, the band’s fourth album, “Design Your Universe”, was released, which entered the charts in several European countries, receiving critical acclaim.
The following album, “Requiem for the Indifferent”, was released in 2012 and marked the band’s debut on the coveted Billboard 200 at 105th position. The group’s tenth anniversary commemorative concert took place in the Dutch city of Eindhoven on March 23, 2013, and featured a live orchestra and choir, special appearances, and the presence of former members; the event became the Retrospect live DVD.

Their sixth album, “The Quantum Enigma”, was released in 2014 and further expanded the group’s international success. In 2016, the seventh album was released: The Holographic Principle. The band is currently in the studio recording their upcoming eighth album, which will be released in the second half of 2020.

Conceived as a Symphonic Metal band with gothic elements, Epica has incorporated strong Death, Power and Progressive Metal influences into its music over the years. The lyrics deal mostly with philosophical, psychological, spiritual, moral, scientific, environmental, socio-political, global and personal themes. The extensive use of orchestras and opera choirs also became the band’s trademark.

Vocalist Simone reported on 1st February 2020 that pre-production for the band’s eighth studio album had been completed.

On October 9, 2020, she released the first single from the new album, “Abyss Of Time-Countdown To Singularity-” in the official music video format in collaboration with Grupa 13.

On the same day, the new album titled “Omega” (stylized: ΩMEGA) was announced, which will reach the public on February 26, 2021, via Nuclear Blast.

It is the band’s first studio album after five years, among small EP releases, thus being the successor to “The Holographic Principle” from 2016.

On November 27th, the second single from the new album was released in official music video format, entitled “Freedom – Wolves Within -“.

The song is based on a story about a fight between two wolves. “A wise Cherokee is talking about life with his grandson. He tells the boy, ‘There is a fight going on inside me between two wolves. One wolf is evil; he embodies anger, envy, sadness, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other wolf is good, joyful, peaceful and embodies love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. We all have the same fight going on inside of us, and that battle’s outcome will be reflected in the outside world.’ The boy becomes curious and asks his grandfather which wolf will win. The old Cherokee replies, ‘The one you feed the most’. What we want to be and what we want to reflect in the world around us depends on which wolf we feed and also the degree of control we have over our inner wolves. Will we be able to control them, or will they control us?”

-Mark Jansen.

For the single, the band teamed up with WWF and record label Nuclear Blast to support a cause. Three goals were set on streaming platforms, and with each goal achieved, the record label will sponsor the symbolic adoption of 2 endangered grey wolves through the World Wildlife Fund so that at the end of the match, each band member will have adopted an animal.

“Not only do grey wolves suffer from constant habitat loss, but they also have to endure revenge killings for attacks on wild animals, and the World Wildlife Fund relies on sponsorships and adoptions to conserve the natural habitat of these precious animals.”

The band performs a mix of several metal subgenres, including symphonic metal, progressive metal, gothic metal, thrash metal, melodic Death Metal, Symphonic Black Metal, and, more rarely, folk and Power Metal. Former guitarist Ad Sluijter described the group as “a bridge between Power Metal and Gothic Metal”. Vocalist Simone Simons has expressed a preference for them to be described solely as Symphonic Metal, although founder Mark Jansen has noted that they do not mind being pigeonholed. It’s like gothic metal, too. Jansen further described the band as “Symphonic Death Metal”, a bridge between Symphonic Metal and Death Metal.

Epica’s music is aggressive, bombastic and excessive, with some songs “epic, grandiose and majestic”, and others more “moderate and introspective”. The band is also known for its progressive tendencies but with a gothic and sentimental atmosphere also present in his musicality.

They use the “trademark of Symphonic and Gothic Metal bands”, contrasting “gutturals and brutality on the one hand, and graceful feminine melodies on the other”, a formula used by Norwegians Theater of Tragedy and Tristania, or even fellow countrymen Within Temptation and After Forever.
Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic cited that the band’s “attraction ultimately depends on exploring the sonic contrasts of light and dark; the strong intensity of heavy guitar riffs and the hyperactive cast of drums set against the soaring sweetness of layered orchestral strings and keyboard”.
Simone offers operatic vocals in her mezzo-soprano range, although she has also explored the most popular singing since Consign to Oblivion (2005), described as “a clear high voice that has impeccable tone and great emotion”.
Simone admitted that she was wrong and that she was not a mezzo but rather a soprano. Mark, in contrast, offers throaty vocals that are “secondary to Simone’s vocals, but very important in terms of balance and variety”.
The group is also known for employing choirs and orchestras in their songs, with additional elements such as recitals of Latin and Arabic words and lyrics.

Current Members

Mark Jansen – guitar, vocals (since 2002)
Coen Janssen – keyboards, synthesizers, piano (since 2002)
Simone Simons – vocals (since 2002)
Ariën van Weesenbeek – drums (since 2006; support: 2006–2007)
Isaac Delahaye – guitar, backing vocals (since 2009)
Rob van der Loo – bass (since 2012)

Studio Albums

The Phantom Agony (2003)
Consign to Oblivion (2005)
The Divine Conspiracy (2007)
Design Your Universe (2009)
Requiem for the Indifferent (2012)
The Quantum Enigma (2014)
The Holographic Principle (2016)
Omega (2021)