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Review: Epica – "Design Your Universe" (10th Anniversary)

Epica - Design Your Universe
Epica - Design Your Universe

Texto em português: Epica: os 10 anos de “Design Your Universe.
(Translated to english by Renato Azambuja)

The Dutch symphonic metal band Epica is like a great mythological creature that is born, feeds on what it learns and absorbs it, growing and evolving always. And the best, becoming more confident and stronger.

Rising from their great debut “The Phantom of Agony” (2003), sequencing with “Consign to Oblivion” (2005) and “The Divine Conspiracy” (2007), the band led by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen and frontwoman Simone Simons will debut in his fourth studio work, “Design Your Universe” (2009) a new second guitarist, Isaac Delahaye, egressed by God Dethroned, replacing Ad Sluijter, and also a new drummer, Ariën Van Weesenbeek, also from Isaac’s previous band.

And Delahaye had brought great elaborative qualities to the increasingly powerful Epica, with her well-seasoned technique with progressive touches on both electric and acoustic guitar, as well as contributing positively to a second line of guttural vocals, adding to those of Mark Jansen.

Epica had been specializing over time in delving deeper into the themes of their albums and song lyrics into the worlds of psychology, parapsychology, metaphysics and quantum physics, the obvious fruits of the literature absorbed by the master in psychology and main composer of the band, Mark Jansen.

Here we have the vision of Jansen referring us to the concept of human union at the subatomic level, coming from quantum physics, that is: while in the predecessor album “The Divine Conspiracy” (2007) the approach brought the concept of the union of the divine about being. Humanity, now in “Design Your Universe” (2009), is reversed, with human relevance being anthropocentrically exponentialized by the power of its own thinking, which might even be able to influence matter.

Musically “Design Your Universe” was another beautiful gift to the fans who had been accompanying the band, bringing the elements of Epica’s essence in full expansion.

Every fan of the Netherlands group wants to get a job vitalized by solemnly pervading operatic corals, flawless keyboard bases and lyrical arrangements performed by Coen Janssen, Mark Jansen’s heavy guitar riffs and now ripped solo by Isaac Delahaye and the gorgeous mezzo-soprano voice of Simone Simons.

The album in question provides the listener with all the above elements, in perfect balance, track by track, marked also by another noble feature of Epica: the amazing ability to play with the possible variations of the tempo of the songs. A song from this band never starts and ends the same way, it always comes full of storms and lulls in your womb, even though their proportions are not always the same, which is great, because they instill something of surprise and a certain unpredictability.

As for the highlights, if this is possible, due to the happy qualitative homogeneity of this work, let us try:

The track “Resign to Surrender (A New Age Dawns, Part IV)“, a kind of “overture”, where one has the perfect notion of what to expect from the next hour during the audition and a starts to portray a smile. such a sensation;

Unleashed“, the first single released, which would be the album’s “working song”, steps a little on the tempo brakes and makes room for Mrs. Simons to sing with her full lung and diaphragm ability. The song conquered space on the setlists of the band’s shows to this day;

Martyr of the Free Word“, which begins to sound like the damn sound will absolutely reign over it, soon gets its violence broken by Simons’ cadent, soothing chant, and then there’s a gnarly musical rollercoaster, a killer solo by Delahaye killer;

Our Destiny“, track written for Simone Simons to shine. The melodic line of his singing here sounds like one of the best of his career. A Song to ask: “Sing more for us, Simone”.

Kingdom of Heaven (The New Age Dawns, Part V)“, now we’re talking about the best song on the album, one of the band’s top five songs and one of the greatest of all symphonic metal. Not exactly a Rich song, but a millionaire one in progressive elaboration and thousand variations, potentiated by much weight. Special attention at 4’50”, where we have a wonderful tempo of the doom-metal-classic, a solemn moment.

Tides of Time,” a soaring song, built primarily on the voice and piano line, where Simone Simons had probably given her most beautiful trebles of her career;

Semblance of Liberty“, here we have a song with some structural resemblance to “Resign to Surrender (A New Age Dawns, Part IV)“, where Simone enters, bursting with her voice, only in the choruses. As in the above, excellence is the same;

White Waters“, a ballad worth highlighting given the duet between Simone and the special guest Tony Kakko of the band Sonata Arctica;

Design Your Universe (A New Age Dawns, Part VI)“, the magnificent title track, which solemnly signs and stamps the entire artistic-conceptual framework of this work.

Epica is currently touring and promoting the recently released “Design Your Universe – Gold Edition“, celebrating the anniversary of the first decade of the original’s release.

On the Next week the band will land in Brazil for concerts on October 26 and 27, in Sao Paulo (Tropical Butantã) and Rio de Janeiro (Circo Voador) respectively.

A most deserved celebration. Long live Epica !!!


  • 1. Samadhi – Prelude 
  • 2. Resign To Surrender – A New Age Dawns – Part IV 
  • 3. Unleashed 
  • 4. Martyr Of The Free Word 
  • 5. Our Destiny 
  • 6. Kingdom Of Heaven – A New Age Dawns – Part V
  • 7. The Price Of Freedom – Interlude 
  • 8. Burn To A Cinder 
  • 9. Tides Of Time 
  • 10. Deconstruct 
  • 11. Semblance Of Liberty 
  • 12. White Waters 
  • 13. Design Your Universe – A New Age Dawns – Part VI


  • 14. Incentive
  • 15. Unleashed (Duet Version) (com Amanda Somerville)

The Band:

  • Simone Simons – vocal
  • Mark Jansen – rhytm guitar, gutural vocals
  • Isaac Delahaye – lead guitar
  • Yves Huts – bass
  • Coen Janssen – piano
  • Ariën Van Weesenbeek – drums, gutural vocals


  • Tony Kakko – vocal (in “White Waters”)
  • Amanda Somerville – vocal (in “Unleashed (Duet Version)”)


  • Linda van Summeren, Bridget Fogle
  • Amanda Somerville, Cloudy Yang
  • Previn Moore
  • Melvin Edmondsen
  • Simon Oberender, Olaf Reitmeier, Coen Janssen
Review: Epica - "Design Your Universe" (10th Anniversary)
Review: Epica - "Design Your Universe" (10th Anniversary)




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