Travelling around the world and meeting other cultures; those are in short the major sources of inspiration for singer, songwriter, composer and guitarist Mark Jansen, both as a person and a musician. The latest proof of his unlimited interest in the world around him is the album The Phantom Agony, the colourful debut album of the recently founded Dutch band Epica. Mark Jansen and his fellow musicians harbour a great interest in other cultures, especially Arab ones. The warmth with which people treat one anotherthere, but also the music from that part of the world. The varied sound of Epica reflects all that. Also influences from other parts of the world, including South-America found their way to the songs that figure on the debut alum. The band also intends to do a lot of touring in order to add as much as possible to the gamut of experiences and impressions.
After a brief and stormy period as one of the creative king pins of the successful Dutch band After Forever, Mark Jansen felt compelled to start all over again recently. He didn't tarry for a second. On the day it dawned on him he no longer had a future in his old band, the plan matured for new challenge. Contacts were made, auditions were carried out and a name for the band was thought up. Initially Sahara Dust was picked as the name of the band, but in the first weeks of 2003 this name was definitely changed into Epica. In the embryonic stage the band worked with the Norwegian singer Helena Michaelsen of Trail of Tears. However, a definitive choice was made for the young Dutch singing talent Simone Simons. The line-up was further stabilised with Coen Jansen (keyboards), Ad Sluijter (guitar), Jeroen Simons (drums) – both from Cassiopeia, and Yves Huts (bass) from Axamenta.
Avast, ye landlubbers! From the deepest darkest depths of eastern Scotland comes ALESTORM, a drunken band of two mad Scots and two Irishmen on an epic quest to slay posers, drink beer, and be the greatest damn band that ever did sail the seven seas! Describing their style as "True Scottish Pirate Metal", Alestorm plays an infectious blend of folk and power metal in the vein of bands such as Korpiklaani and Turisas, but with a unique piratical twist. ALESTORM are coming to kick ass and chew gum. And they're all out of gum.
ALESTORM formed in 2006 and after gaining a cult following in their local scene, they quickly inked a record deal with Austria's Napalm Records. After a few line-up changes early on, the band eventually settled on their current swashbuckling crew comprising Christopher Bowes, Daniel Evans, Gareth Murdock, and Peter Alcorn.
Drawing on wide stylistic influences, such as Bal-Sagoth and Primordial to name but a few, ALESTORM released their debut album "Captain Morgan's Revenge" in 2008 to great critical acclaim, followed swiftly by their sophomore album "Black Sails at Midnight" in 2009. Now, after cementing their reputation as a kick-ass live band with countless hundreds of shows around the world, ALESTORM returns in 2011 with their third album "Back Through Time".
"Back Through Time" promises to be an epic adventure through piratical badassery in 11 tracks, with more drunken singalong anthems than you can shake a stick at. There will be songs about midgets. There will be songs about Wisconsin. There will be songs about travelling through time to kill Vikings. And, of course, loads of songs about pirates doing what they do best; kicking your ass and stealing your wenches!
New album Across the Dark (2009) shows a band that knows its strenghts but isn't afraid to evolve. Crux of the music is still melodic death metal but nuances are giving it a unique flavor. Keyboards are overwhelmingly epic and there are some stunning clean vocals by Jules Näveri. Bit of folk metal, pinch of doom, some thrashing, a whole lot of timeless melodies and progressive twists and there you have it: ingredients of the masterpiece.