Live at The Regent Theater
Los Angeles, CA
January 5th, 2020
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their seminal album, "Design Your Universe", the symphonic metal maestros fittingly known as Epica have embarked on a tour that graces Los Angeles right after the turn of the decade.
With the beginning of a globally fated year such as 2020 Epica is a great way to kick if off. Combining soaring operatic vocals, guttural growls, huge orchestrations and lifting keyboards, with driving guitar and bombastic drums the band builds a powerful aural force that is undeniable.
At the core of the band stands the statuesque red head, Simone Simons, a mighty vocalist whose verse sounds even better performing these songs than when the album debuted a decade ago.
Supporting her is a motley crew of men lending their talents to build their lush signature sound. Band founder Mark Jansen plays rhythm guitar and lends the growled vocals that punctuate Simone's angelic voice. Isaac Delahaye plays lead guitar and backing vocals, Coen Janssen handles all keyboards and synthesizers as well as some comedic relief, Rob van der Loo plays bass guitar, and Ariën van Weesenbeek plays the drums.
Their set list would draw heavily from "Design Your Universe" with almost the entire album being played in order. They did spice it up a bit towards the end of the main set with a few classic songs from other albums and then the encore featured a few more fan favorites to close out the night.
The first five from the featured anniversary album are all amazing songs and really show how talented and uplifting their music is, especially in a live setting. "Resign to Surrender", "Unleashed", and "Martyr of the Free World" exemplify their signature sound of juxtaposing symphonic and melodic highs with guttural darkness and driving heavy head-banging riffs and beats.
"Our Destiny" and "Kingdom of Heaven" continue the sound and expand upon their complex examinations of esoteric principals in respect to the human condition and question of the soul and afterlife.
They took a moment to jump to a later album with "In All Conscience" from "The Quantum Enigma" album before returning to "Design Your Universe" for "Burn to a Cinder" and "Tides of Time".
"The Obsessive Devotion" is a personal favorite of mine coming from "The Divine Conspiracy" album followed by a crowd favorite with "Cry for the Moon" from their debut, "The Phantom Agony".
They finished up the main set with the title track from "Design Your Universe". The venue was packed to capacity and the crowd was still energetic for more Epica.
After the fans chanted for Epica's return for quite some time Coen came out and talked to the crowd for a moment followed by Issac. Issac joked about how deep and meaningful their lyrics are but that they all know a lot of people were here just for Simone.
The rest of the band joined them on stage and they did an amazing rendition of "Sancta Terra" from "The Diving Conspiracy" followed by "Beyond the Matrix" from "The Holographic Principle".
They finished out the night with a fan favorite, the title track from their sophomore release, "Consign to Oblivion" which remains one of my personal favorites fifteen years after its release.
Epica are truly an epic experience with such a massive force to their songs Even on the songs that are paired down to just Simone's voice and Coen's piano, the nature and intent of their music remains powerful and fulfilling. I have listened to Epica since coming across their debut album in a record store of their native country in Amsterdam when if first came out and have been a fan ever since. I highly recommend checking them out, especially if you can see them live.
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