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Epica: We Will Take You With Us

If I'm not mistaken, Meter Sessies is a famous television show in the Netherlands and We Will Take You With Us compiles Epica's two appearances on the program. Completists should note that there is a DVD version of We Will Take You With Us as well. For those who may not know, Epica is a Dutch Beauty and the Beast metal band and musically it must be said, virtually a carbon copy of After Forever. Mark Jansen quit After Forever to form Epica and instead of taking his music in a different direction, he acquired a young beautiful female vocalist and largely continued in the same style: operatic female vocals, male growls, symphonic keyboards and strings, crunching electric guitars and layers of choir voices singing Latin verse. Sure, this kind of thing is pretty old hat in Europe at the moment, but Epica does a good job of (re)treading over common ground. We Will Take You With Us is my first exposure to the band so I don't know how the songs on 2 Meter Sessies compare to the regular studio versions. The first six songs are electrified symphonic metal and the production is excellent considering they are virtually live in the studio. "Feint", "Run For a Fall" and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Memory" are "unplugged" songs, which is essentially vocalist Simone Simons crooning over piano from Coen Janssen. According to the CD liner notes, there is a bonus track of "Run For a Fall" in German, but it's nowhere to be found on my copy. What We Will Take You With Us lacks in originality it makes up for in class and enthusiasm. With Tarja Turunen recently ousted from Nightwish, perhaps Epica will rise to the top of the heap.

Track Listing

  1. Façade of Reality "The Embrace that Smothers Part V"
  2. Sensorium
  3. Illusive Consensus
  4. Cry for the Moon "The Embrace that Smothers Part IV"
  5. The Phantom Agony
  6. Seif al Din "The Embrace that Smothers Part VI"
  7. Feint
  8. Run for a Fall
  9. Memory (from the musical Cats)

Added: October 31st 2005
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Epica Web Page
Hits: 2663
Language: english

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Epica: We Will Take You With Us
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-21 07:05:45
My Score:

Dutch Symphonic Metal sensation Epica bring us a very special recording as a follow-up to their debut album The Phantom Agony. On We Will Take You With Us (2 Meter Sessies) the group presents to the listener a "live-in the studio" recording of their entire debut album with strings and full choir. To make sure that this is not taken as a clone of the first album the group also offers a couple of these numbers performed acoustically and features one unreleased song. This was a band that I found quite by accident when I was looking into After Forever. When I read that Epica (formerly called Sahara Dust) was formed by the guitarist who had left After Forever I knew this would be in the vein of music that I was appreciating. Mark Jansen's discovery of Simone Simons allowed him to being a different level of player to the Operatic Fronted Metal band and this is surely not a secondary version of his former group either. A singer like Simone Simons brings the Mezzo Soprano as band superstar a possibility and showcasing an album where they perform live in a closed setting shows you that this group can indeed play and does so with very little difference from the fully recorded and produced release The Phantom Agony. Those that already own the debut might find this interesting more for the variations and the bonus tracks.

One of the surprises was the inclusion of the song "Memory" from the Broadway musical "Cats". Simone does a great rendition on this song that was once performed by Barbara Steisand and I think Andrew Lloyd Webber would approve of it. They also feature a German rendition of the track "Run For A Fall" which fans of alternate versions would appreciate the band giving them. My favorites on the CD are "Façade Of Reality" and "Seif Al Din". Overall this is an impressive piece and falls in line with the type of music fans of Nightwish and Therion tend to follow. There is a companion DVD available and on this you are able to watch this same performance and enjoy some extras. I recommend this primarily for those that really enjoy the debut CD for its added difference and perhaps for those that find this level of music of interest.

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