Archive for November, 2009

Epica's Simone Simons

Epica’s Simone Simons: “Metal has a New Design”

The Dutch symphonic metal band Epica is about to break through with its new album, Design Your Universe. This is the album they have been building to since the release of their 2003 debut, The Phantom Agony. From the orchestration to the vocals to the arrangements and the overall complexity and heaviness, it displays a complete evolution in every aspect of the band’s sound. At the heart of it all is their 24-year-oldsinger, Simone Simons. A mezzo-soprano by nature, she experiments with vocal styles on the new album. Classical, pop, rock—she nails down them all.

The album did extremely well in its initial release, selling more than 2,000 copies in the United States alone and appearing on the Billboard Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) at No. 12. In January 2010, Epica will launch its first U.S. tour supporting the album.

Not long after the release,’s Jeff Maki spoke to Simons in a lengthy chat (their second in six months). Simons talks in depth about the making of Design Your Universe, the lyrical themes behind it and much more. Will we soon see the red-haired beauty all over rock and metal publications as the new reigning queen of the hottest chicks in metal? See what she has to say about it. (more…)

WT-acousticFans of Within Temptation are probably divided regarding this release. On one hand, a live acoustic album will be a great representation of Within Temptation’s music, a strong focus and raw form of recent songs that fans know and love. On the other hand, An Acoustic Night at the Theatre comes not long after the release of 2008’s Black Symphony, a live CD/DVD of the band’s collaboration with a full orchestra. So if fans are getting antsy for new material, I can see their point. (more…)

Album_Memento_Mori_CoverReview by Greg Maki
It’s kind of hard to believe Flyleaf is only on its second album. It seems like they have been around forever, a side effect of spending three and a half years on the road supporting their debut, which was released in 2005. That appears to have been time well spent, as on their sophomore effort, Memento Mori, greater songwriting maturity and improved musicianship shine through. (more…)

epica-designAfter their collaboration with a live orchestra and subsequent release of The Classical Conspiracy, The Netherlands’ Epica became one of the first “underground” bands to greatly prosper from the release of such an album. Yes, Epica is an established band in their own right, but not established in the sense of Metallica or the Scorpions or other bands that have had a release similar to this.

Still riding the success, Epica now brings us a new studio album, Design Your Universe only a few months later. And the boldness and grandiose performance has carried over like never before—I felt as if I was hearing a massive, extended encore of The Classical Conspiracy. (more…)

slayer-bloodNearly 30 years into their career, Slayer is still going strong. Those that need proof need only take a listen to the band’s newest release, World Painted Blood, a release that continues a creative rebirth for the band that started with 2001’s God Hates Us All. (more…)