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Substage, Karlsruhe, Germany
15th October 2009
Epica, Sons of Seasons

These days EPICA is releasing their 7th Album, named 'Design Your Universe', so only one good reason to go on a huge european tour again. I was really curious about their live performance at Karlsruhe's Substage, because on the 2009 festival tour they seemed to be really tired and half-hearted.

I was pleased to hear the new album before the official release and I liked it, because it was a bit rougher and darker, and I think it will help the band a bit to escape of their sweet image into a heavy, tougher image in the music subculture. Unfortunately, the Finnish band AMBERIAN DAWN cancelled their support for this evening, due to Heidi Parviainen's crow throat. So SONS OF SEASONS, a German symphonic metal band, could play two more songs. The crowd was soon convinced of the live qualities of SONS OF SEASON and a good atmosphere was already created when EPICA finally entered the stage.


EPICA is a Dutch symphonic metal band founded by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen subsequent to his departure from AFTER FOREVER. In early 2002, Mark Jansen left AFTER FOREVER due to creative differences. He then began looking for musicians who would work towards a more classical/symphonic type of music project. In late 2002, the band courted Helena Michaelsen (TRAIL OF TEARS) as their frontwoman, but shortly thereafter she was replaced by the then unknown mezzo-soprano Simone Simons, who was Jansen's girlfriend at the time. The band's line-up was completed by guitarist Ad Sluijter, drummer Jeroen, bassist Yves Huts, and keyboard player Coen Janssen. The name was later changed to Epica, inspired by KAMELOT's eponymous album. The current live Line up is: Simone Simons (Vocals), Mark Jansen (Guitar, Grunts/Screams), Isaac Delahaye (Guitar), Yves Huts (Bass), Coen Janssen (Keyboard), Ariën van Weesenbeek (Drums). /

Music & Performance

The sound in the Substage is never the best, but this evening it worked well for all bands. The songs they played were a mixture out of all-time favourites, old pieces and songs from the newest album. Simone's voice was luckily in a perfect shape (she obviously didn´t kiss Heidi from Amberian Dawn), wether it was some faster song or a ballad. Also the emotions she gave to the songs where right placed. Mark's grunts and screams also became better, altough a bit more power and a deeper grunt would make the whole setting more intense. All instruments were working together very well, so the set was in harmony.

The stage was really small and so low that Simone was putting her fingers in the soft styropian roof, having fun with it. There was not much space to jump and run around and perform wired things, but it was an advantage for the audience who was only about half a meter away from the band. Simone used this fact to place the setlist on her butt, turning around to the folks and who had the longest arm could pick it off. Fans in the front had self-painted posters and were singing along to every song. I was surprised that there were nearly as much male as female guests! The atmosphere was fantastic due to Simone's jokes and her brilliant German, and the fans had a lot of fun.

Her attitude did not fit to the line up all the time, so the songs seemed to be performed a bit too automatical from time to time. The rest of the band was sometimes a bit too concentrated on themselves. A suprise for everyone was that they played 3 extra songs, including 'Sancta Terra' which can't be missed on an EPICA concert. The grateful audience gave a big applause at the end and I´m sure that the new album will sell pretty well.

1. Samadhi
2. Resign to Surrender
3. Sensorium
4. Deconstruct
5. Fools of Damnation
6. Design Your Universe
7. Tides of Time
8. Imperial March
9. Martyr of the Free Word
10. Quietus
11. The Phantom Agony
12. Cry for the Moon
13. Sancta Terra
14. Consign to Oblivion

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Light: 8
Sound: 7
Total: 8.3 / 10

All pictures by Kira Appelt

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