Epica - We Will Take You With Us - 2005 - The End/Transmission Records
1. Facade of Rality 2. Sensorium 3. Illusive Consensus 4. Cry for the Moon 5. The Phantom Agony 6. Seif al Din 7. Feint (acoustic version) 8. Run for a Fall (acoustic version) 9. Memory
Epica are part of the new wave of Dutch female-fronted gothic bands that also includes the likes of After Forever and Within Temptation. Led by guitarist/screamer Mark Jansen and beautiful (not to mention talented) frontwoman Simone Simmons, they manage to create some beautiful albeit unoriginal music. They are also very good at contrasting different elements of their songs - operatic female vocals and aggressive male vocals are both used with a nice variance. Along the same lines, there are lots of fast, heavy guitar led parts in addition to slower, keyboard driven melodies. Epica aren’t a band that’s afraid of the spotlight, and with only a few releases they have risen to the top of their scene.
We Will Take You With Us doesn’t really have any new or exciting material for Epica fans out there. It’s basically most of the songs from their debut album, The Phantom Agony, in a different order. The only song here that was previously unreleased is “Memory” – a song taken from the musical “Cats.” In addition, “Feint” and “Run For A Fall” are both acoustic tracks, taken from an appearance on the 2 Meter Sessies, a Dutch program. They both consist mainly of Simone singing, accompanied by a piano. Her voice really shines on these two songs, more so than on any of the others on this release. Instead of having to compete (for lack of a better word) with the other instruments, Simone is given the full freedom her voice deserves.
I’m not going to go into detail about the other tracks on the album, because that’s already been done. In fact, I’m a bit puzzled to why Epica even bothered to release all of them together like this – they’re already out on The Phantom Agony. Why not release an EP with the two acoustic songs, the “Cats” cover, and maybe one other track? Maybe it’s because EP’s only sell for $5, while “albums” go for $15. I’m not going to draw any rash conclusions (but feel free to do so on your own) at this point, but I’d hope that this isn’t a sign that Epica are planning to walk down the over-commercialized path that often plagues bands in this genre. I’m not saying exposure isn’t good, and they do have a lot of commercial appeal (as their music is relatively accessible) but excessive (and semi-pointless) releases such as this are never a good thing. They still have great material at this point in their careers – I just hope that isn’t compromised in the future.
Unless you’re just dying to hear a few acoustic Epica tracks, don’t bother picking this up (unless it comes with the 2 Meter Sessies DVD that was also released, that might be worth it but I haven’t seen it). You’re better off getting The Phantom Agony, where the tracks are in their proper order (an order which suits them much better). In fact, if you really want to hear Simone shine, pick up the new Kamelot album, The Black Halo. She accompanies Roy Khan beautifully on “The Haunting.” In fact, “The Haunting” is the best performance Simone has done – the overall song and her contribution are far superior to anything Epica’s done.