Live at The House of Blues

Hollywood, California

November 16th, 2012

Review and Photos by Travis Baumann


The amazing Epica return to the shores of North America from their Dutch homelands, bringing their brand of Symphonic Metal to all of those fans eagerly awaiting another dose of powerful operatic-tinged metal with the gorgeous Simone Simons at the forefront.

This is the fourth time I have had the privilege of seeing them live and each time gets better and better as they grow as a band, get better venues to play in, and more material is released.

For this outing they were promoting their latest output, "Requiem for the Indifferent". This album follows suit with their previous works in that it is a multi-layered production incorporating bombastic guitar and drums, huge moving orchestrations with symphonic and choral approaches, as well as the juxtaposition of Simone's angelic operatic voice and Mark Jansen's growled vocals.

Epica's fan base has grown by leaps and bounds by this fifth studio release and touring has only increased it tenfold as once you have seen them live, you will return like a moth drawn to a flame (but with the only danger of combustion being your spirit).

The crowd was rowdy having just witnessed the metal pirate carnival act that is Alestorm, and cheered at deafening volume when the band took the stage. Another resounding cheer went up when the illustrious Simone took the stage in a small black dress, her long red locks shining in the stage lighting.

They opened the set with "Karma" and the fans went crazy. Mark stood to one side of Simone and sang his growled parts with a wind machine blowing his hair up around his head while he also played rhythm guitar.

Simone crooned center stage while the lead guitarist, Isaac Delahaye and bassist Rob van der Loo played to the other side. Arien Van Weesenbeek pounded out the percussion in back center and Coen Janssen manned his keyboard just off center next to the drums.

The set list ran through a number of their best songs including "Monopoly of Truth", "Sensorium", "Unleashed", and one of my favorites of theirs, "Martyr of the Free World".

The band is always smiling and enjoying the live performances it seems as much as the audience, it is a symbiotic relationship that propels them to always impress.

They continued with "Serenade of Self-Destruction", "Blank Infinity" and hit upon another of my go to tracks, "The Obsessive Devotion".

On the song "Quietus", the keyboard player, Coen equipped himself with a portable keytar instrument and came forefront to join in the fun.

The next song came from before they even called themselves Epica, and was the first track Mark wrote after he left After Forever. The announcement of "Cry for the Moon" sent the crowd into another frenzy of cheers before Simone had them sing the intro for her.

This oldie lead into an extended drum solo that built into "The Phantom Agony", another great song and another one that I always recommend people new to the band check out.

The band left the stage at this point but the fierce shouts and chanting of "Epica" would not die down, so before long they returned to the stage.

For the encore we were treated to the first single off their newest release, "Storm the Shadow" and what a powerful, epic song it is.

They played one more song for us, the title track from their sophomore album, "Consign to Oblivion" before calling it a night. Before leaving the stage they gave us a short piece of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sound track played Epica style to send us off with an upbeat mood.

It was a great show, Simone is so awesome to watch and listen to on stage and the entire band has such musical mastery and presence that it is unlike any of the other symphonic metal bands out there. I can't wait for them to return and take us on their journey once more.

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