Epica - Aschaffenburg, Germany, 9th October 2010

Event: Epica: Design Your Universe Tour Pt. II
Written by: Promonex
Published: 12.11.2010


Epica: Design Your Universe Tour Pt. II - Aschaffenburg, Germany, 9 October 2010 by Promonex (69)
Only three nights to go before Epica, one of the greatest symphonic metal bands of our time, will tour North America in support of their latest masterpiece Design Your Universe. Suffice it to say that the band is quite thrilled already, annoying every non-American fan on Facebook with daily posts about how much they are looking forward to hitting the new world for the second time this year. At least these Dutchies leave Europe in style after having satisfied the fans on this side of the pond with an extensive tour and with perfectly fitting support acts which made any fan of female vocals in metal (and females in general...) drooling all over their tickets.

I was fortunate enough to get one for their sold-out show in Germany's Aschaffenburg, a town close to Frankfurt and home to my favourite concert location, the Colos-Saal. This is the place where I experienced some of my greatest gigs, courtesy of the brilliant sound in the venue and the very friendly atmosphere within the crowd. So with Epica, ReVamp and Kells on the schedule this was sure to become a brilliant night.

The After Forever successors ReVamp were the openers of this night. And let me tell you, it was great to hear Floor Jansen's voice again, who played the Colos for the third time, each time with different bands (After Forever and Star One being the other two). And no, she still hasn't lost it. While the song-writing of her new band isn't as mature as that of After Forever (R.I.P.) her vocal capabilities easily made the performance a resounding success. Powerful as in the fast opener "Here's My Hell", fervent as in the sophomore song "All Goodbyes Are Said" or soulful as in the ballad "Sweet Curse", Floor impressed with the versatility of her voice. But the rest of the band also did a good job, building the foundation for Floor's soaring vocals and generally getting the crowd in the mood for the upcoming artists, and hence received very positive feedback from the audience. A solid performance, which unfortunately was void of any surprises in the setlist.

Setlist: Here's My Hell, All Goodbyes Are Said, Fast Forward, Sweet Curse, Disdain, Kill Me With Silence, Million, Break, Disgraced, Head Up High

Kells might be rather unknown to many people and it might come as a surprise that they got to play after ReVamp and as direct support for Epica, but they definitely deserve their share of attention. Unlike most bands from this particular scene, Kells don't draw inspiration from Theatre Of Tragedy or Nightwish, but from Korn and Deftones instead. The nu metal riffing blends surprisingly well with the typical symphonic metal vocals of singer Virginie which makes them quite a standout band in the genre. At least on CD. In a live environment the nu metal aspect appeared to be a lot more prevalent, so that many visitors were a bit irritated, even alienated. And so Virginie was singing, shouting and screaming her lungs out - the latter especially during the as of yet unreleased new songs "L'heure que le temps va figer" and "Le manège déchanté" - while bounding all across the stage. And many a visitor was wondering where this girl in her corset got all the energy from to deliver such a steady performance over 45 minutes while never really coming to rest, yet still coming across as tender and innocuous. The rest of the band also left its mark with guitarist Patrick contributing a few harsh vocals as well and bassist Lo, who did bear some resemblance to Korn's Jonathan Davis, making faces and interacting a whole lot with the audience, occasionally stealing the show from the bounding gazelle Virginie.

In the second half of their set Kells moved even more towards nu metal with the aforementioned "L'heure que le temps..." and a tribute to their main inspiration by performing the only English song of their gig, a rendition of Korn's "Here To Stay." While this cover wasn't bad, it wasn't quite what people have come for this night and so the response was rather lukewarm. Fortunately the band opted to end their set in a reconciliatory manner with two of their better songs from their latest album Lueurs.

Setlist: Réminiscences, Avant que tu..., Ailleurs, Le manège déchanté (new song), Mes rêves, Sans teint, L'heure que le temps va figer (new song), Here To Stay (KoRn cover), La sphère, Lueur

But now it finally was time for the headliners of the night, the one reason why everyone has come: Epica! The band made its entry with the opener of the new album "Samadhi/Resign to Surrender" and got subjected to a frenetic welcome. Epica were in top form, pulled off a flawless performance - enhanced by the great sound in the venue - and emanated an unreal amount of fun. And the setlist was just perfect as well! Right after the openers from their latest album Design Your Universe Epica returned straight back to their beginnings with the piano-driven "Sensorium" and went on with the captivating and at times fast-paced "Fools of Damnation" with its oriental touch. Singer Simone Simons was as lovely to look at as always, enchanting the whole audience with her angelic voice, but still making a very down-to-earth impression, jesting a lot in between songs and interacting a lot with her band mates.

It's nearly impossible not to make this a song-by-song review as each and every song was a highlight in itself which actually deserves to be written about. The upbeat "Martyr of the Free Word" for example, which features Simone's mezzo-soprano vocals entangled with the growls of guitarist Mark Jansen, was just as mind-blowing live as on CD. "Cry for the Moon" from their debut has always been a fan favourite and so the whole hall was singing along during the chorus of this song. Another highlight was the ballad "Tides of Time", which Simone suggested to be used as beer break, has easily given you goosebumps or at least conjured a smile upon your face. And if you weren't as hypnotized as I was, you might indeed have gotten a beer by now. That's also what Simone did during the instrumental "Imperial March" (a constant in the band's setlist since their Classical Conspiracy performance in Miskolc) to return refreshed for the finale of their regular set, comprised of "The Obsessive Devotion" and the epic title track of their latest masterpiece, "Design Your Universe." In between these two songs they were shaking hands with a girl from the front row and as I got to find out later this particular girl had a "Design Your Universe" tattoo in her neck which just looked way cool.

Setlist: Samadhi, Resign to Surrender, Sensorium, Fools of Damnation, Unleashed, Martyr of the Free Word, Cry for the Moon, Tides of Time, The Imperial March, The Obsessive Devotion, Design Your Universe

My mind was overflowed with impressions by now and couldn't really take more of the awesomeness that was a club show of Epica. Most people however needed another fix and demanded an encore. The attentive fan might also have noticed that Epica hadn't played anything from Consign to Oblivion yet and as the band was eager to do something about that it didn't take much convincing to get them playing again. The simply beautiful "Sancta Terra" of The Divine Conspiracy made the beginning before they eventually closed the night with the rather calm "Quietus" and the title track of their sophomore album "Consign to Oblivion", which turned out to be the perfect conclusion for an absolutely brilliant night.

Encore: Sancta Terra, Quietus, Consign to Oblivion

Happy and exhausted, most people left for their homes now. At the merch stands in the entry hall Floor Jansen of ReVamp and the whole of Kells were giving autographs, talked with the fans, sold their merchandise themselves and got joined by Epica's Mark Jansen after a while. I however have gotten what I had come for, so satisfied I also went home and am ever since waiting for the announcement of the next Epica tour once they've returned from the States.

Text and photos by Daniel "Promonex" Pereira of Metal Storm.
All rights reserved, do not use without permission.


Written on 12.11.2010 by
Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.
More articles by Promonex ››


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wrathchild - 13.11.2010 at 12:02  
Now that makes me sad I didn't go to the show in Paris... I am not a fan of any of these 3 bands and wanted to go only to see Floor's performance. I heard it was sold out there too.
Elodie Artour - 13.11.2010 at 18:13  
Awesome review! Well done, Daniel! It was such a pleasure to read it...

Epica is one of my favourite bands but I haven't seen them live yet, so this review indeed made me want to have been there. Oh, and by the way, classical singing is not used much on "Martyr of The Free Word." The only part you can actually hear Simone using her high mezzo notes is the Latin one.

P.S.: I also liked the pics.
The Shape 1973 - 13.11.2010 at 19:58  
Still would like to catch Epica at some point.

I have seen Floor before in the After Forever days. She always seems to meet the fans after the show. Brilliant voice and not a massive ego so she spends time with her fans.
albatros - 13.11.2010 at 23:50  
Excellent report. Competent and eloquent.

Like Elodie said - a pleasure to read.

As much as I enjoyed to hear Floor's wonderful voice again, music-wise Kells are my favourite of the three.
Jason W. - 14.11.2010 at 01:07  
Great read And yes, a few days ago I noticed how much Epica had been posting about their tour over here and thought "this is a little over the top with the promotions, but who cares, because I'm going!" All I can say is now, I'm as ready for the gig in a week I'm wishing though that ReVamp was part of the lineup too, even if it would be mainly to hear Floor sing and not as much for the songs themselves.

Sounds like this is a venue I'd enjoy too, particularly one with great sound
Promonex - 14.11.2010 at 15:46  
The venue is amazing! The crowd seems to consist of true music lovers only, so that it's very responsive to each band and overall atmosphere is somewhat relaxed, even at an Exodus gig - it was obvious the moshpit was about fun and celebrating the music, not about punching the shit out of each other. Deadsoul Tribe sounded as crystal-clear as on CD. And especially during this Epica gig the lighting was amazing, so that doubled the fun of taking pictures of the three bands. Looking forward to going there again tonight for Amorphis and Orphaned Land
GT - 14.11.2010 at 16:32  
Sounds like this show topped the one at Wacken and that one was awesome. Too bad I didn't have a chance to catch them near me
Promonex - 14.11.2010 at 16:45  
Written by GT on 14.11.2010 at 16:32

Sounds like this show topped the one at Wacken and that one was awesome. Too bad I didn't have a chance to catch them near me

Comfort yourself, the Wacken show is still untouchable. That's the best show I've seen of them so far, with the whole atmosphere, the pyros, the darkened sky above you. Its only downside was that it wasn't 100 minutes of Epica
nb - 18.11.2010 at 13:49  
Nice Review. I liked Epica, but after Design your universe came out, I really really got into their music, and would love to see them play live.
Almagest - 06.02.2011 at 01:59  
Written by The Shape 1973 on 13.11.2010 at 19:58

Still would like to catch Epica at some point.

I have seen Floor before in the After Forever days. She always seems to meet the fans after the show. Brilliant voice and not a massive ego so she spends time with her fans.

Yeah, it's funny. Simone never meets fans, but she never gets accused of a massive ego. You-know-who is accused of having an ego problem, despite meeting the fans after every show, too. Floor meets the fans and never gets accused of having an ego ... so obviously meeting fans is a sign of an oversized ego as well as the opposite, and not meeting fans is a sign of no massive ego. Logic? %)

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