Dutch symphonic metal band Epica brought their North American Enigma Tour to Irving Plaza in NYC on January 21st with melodic death metal band Starkill as special guests and Portuguese gothic metal band Moonspell as direct support. This marked the first date of the tour, which will land in different venues throughout the states and conclude on February 11th in Dallas, Texas.
Moonspell are perhaps the most famous Portuguese metal band, with an impressive amount of accolades to their name. Having formed in 1992, they have since been the only Portuguese metal band to reach the first spot on the Portuguese charts with their 2006 album Memorial. The album also made Moonspell the first ever Portuguese Metal band to have a record certified gold status. Moonspell is fronted by the strong presence of Fernando Ribeiro (Langsuyar), with Miguel Gaspar (Mike/Nisroth) on drums, Pedro Paixão (Passionis/Neophytus) on keyboard, Ricardo Amorim (Morning Blade) on guitar and Aires Pereira (Ahriman) on bass. Although they weren’t the headliners, their music and lengthy career has earned them lifelong fans and international support from the metal community. Moonspell was the perfect band to be the direct support for a band like Epica; Ribiero personifies the strong, dark leading front man while Simone Simons embodies the strong beauty of a leading front woman. Moonspell were the heavy warm up the crowd needed before Epica took the stage.
As usual, the men of Epica came out on stage before the leading lady, a way to tease the fans before the actual show approached the stage. Front woman Simone Simons encapsulates all of the qualities fans look for in a front woman, charming onstage presence, strong vocal abilities, and undeniable beauty. Formed out of fellow Dutch symphonic metal band After Forever, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Mark Jensen formed Epica after his departure. Although the band went through several lineup changes and even name changes, the current lineup stands as Coen Janssen on keyboards, Ariën van Weesenbeek on drums, Isaac Delahaye on lead guitar, Rob van der Loo on bass and Simone Simons on lead vocals. Epica has gathered a following since their inception in 2002, however they have found increased success with the release of their latest album The Quantum Enigma.
The album has helped Epica debut on the 110th spot on the Billboard 200 Chart and peaked at #4 on the Neatherlands Chart in their home country. This tour serves as further support for their album, with Epica playing songs like “The Essence of Silence”, “The Second Stone” and “Unchain Utopia” off of the album.
Simone Simons is arguably one of the most famous and talented female singers in a symphonic metal band. A distinct quality of symphonic metal are the classical vocals of the female lead singer, accompanied by the heavy guitar riffs of her band. Simons never fails to fascinate fans with her strong vocals, displaying her wide octave range. In comparison to other metal sub-genres, symphonic metal makes it easier for fans to sing along with the distinguished lyrics, also easier for non metal listeners to appreciate. Epica is now currently working on their seventh album, which Jensen confirmed is currently in pre-production. The expected release date is sometime in 2016.