A night of ('gothic') female fronted metal nearby: not to be missed.
So off I went to the city just 20 minutes from my home to see Epica just before the release of their upcoming album Requiem For The Indifferent supported by ReVamp,
the band of former lead singer for After Forever, Floor Jansen.
It used to be the other way around and I can remember the days when Epica were supporting After Forever very well!
I'm probably not the only one who is still feeling sorry for what happened with After Forever and it might have caused the
'burn out' singer Floor had been suffering from the last six months.
For me personally Floor is one of the best if not the best singer in the genre of female fronted metal and when Nightwish parted ways with Tarja Turunen
I'd wished Floor would have been applying for a job with the Finnish masters of gothic metal.
She chose to stay with After Forever however, but the band broke up within some two years leaving Floor without band and composers.
The members of After Forever went their separate ways, leaving many fans in South America, the Netherlands and all around the world 'in mourning'.
Floor found new soul mates and started a new band ReVamp.
It became clear that ReVamp is certainly not an After Forever clone but rather purely 'female fronted metal'.
Their debut album was a huge disappointment to me because the style was so much more metal, less melodic and Floor was hardly using her magnificent operatic voice anymore.
For Floor, having played for larger venues, on big festivals and even in stadiums in South America it must have been a huge disappointment to have to start from scratch again,
playing smaller venues and in the role of support rather than main act.
No wonder at all she became ill and had to take a break from music.
Fortunately for all her fans, she's back! With her powerful voice and big smile she obviously enjoyed being back on stage.
ReVamp played a set of around an hour featuring the ballad I Lost Myself.
The lyrics according to Floor were autobiographical and indeed gave insight to her situation in the past year.
The band played tight but as said, the compositions are not as catchy as the ones of After Forever, of course in my humble opinion.
A bit more orchestral seemed to only new track ReVamp performed: Sins.
Certainly a track with more subtlety and variety compared to the other songs, but the only part I didn't particularly like was the part where
Floor was rather shouting then singing... from my perspective that was a 'sin'!
The venue had almost been sold out and it was nice to see so many enthusiastic responses from the fans and so many happy faces.
The current line up of the band consists of Matthias Landes on drums, Jaap Melman on bass, Jord Otto on guitar, Arjan Rijnen on guitar and Ruben Wijga on keyboard.
Here's My Hell
All Goodbyes Are Sad
Head Up High
The Trail Of Monsters
No Honey For The Damned
I Lost Myself
Kill Me With Silence
Epica today is a force to be reckoned with.
The band is gigging regularly and did shows all over the world since their debut The Phantom Agony from 2003.
Singer Simone has grown into a self assured woman instead of the somewhat shy person she used to be in the early days.
The line up with Mark Jansen, Yves Huts, Coen Janssen, Isaac Delahaye and AriŽn van Weesenbeek seems a stable one and the band certainly did a professional show.
Although Simone looked a bit pale and admitted she was tired, she sang beautifully nonetheless.
With her partner Oliver she speaks English and where she lives it's practically German so she found it a bit hard to speak in plain Dutch again.
There were many old favorites during the show, but one of the highlights undoubtedly was a track from the forthcoming album called Storm The Sorrow,
a powerful bombastic song, clearly in the vein of the previous albums and certainly a great teaser for the fans.
During the show Mark explained that the band would be performing the new album in its entirety in Tilburg on March 16, so stay tuned!
Epica combines film score music with bombastic orchestral metal and with guitarist Delehaye, Epica has more metal to offer,
whereas former guitarist Ad Sluijter in my opinion tended more towards classical and film music, a less harder edged guitar player.
A nice interlude giving Simone a break was the instrumental Imperial March from the album The Classical Conspiracy: classical themes the metal way!
As could be expected when these two bands perform together, but pure joy just the same,
was the duet between Simone and Floor in the encore Sancta Terra and as Mark proclaimed when Floor left the stage: "She's back on track".
A true statement indeed!
Sound & lights were quite okay so altogether it was a great night.
Only remark I would like to make that I was puzzled by the 'traffic jam' on the way out of the venue: many people on the stairs and hardly any movement.
In case of panic this pathway to the outside would surely not help to get people out safe and quickly...
Resign To Surrender
Menace Of Vanity
Design Your Universe
Tides Of Time
Storm The Sorrow