Epica have a leading role in the female fronted scene and their latest effort "The Quantum Enigma" is a solid proof of that allegation.
As the band is about to visit Greece for two lives shows in the next few days, we asked Mark Jansen (guitars, vocals) to name his 10 'all-time favorite albums'. Read below a really wide selection list, that expands from thrash metal to the classic composers and from hard rock to progressive rock/metal.
1. Megadeth - Rust In Peace
It's the first metal album that I bought, just picking it as I loved the cover and the saleswoman told me it was one of the heaviest albums they had in store. When I got back home and listened to the first song "Holy Wars" I knew I had intuitively made the right choice. I was blown away by this album and it's still very dear to me. I remember when Megadeth released their next album I was so disappointed at first as it didn't sound like this one (laughs) but I got used to it and also that album rocks.
2. Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
My father bought some GN'R albums when I was a kid and I told him it sucked but secretly I took those albums and started listening to them in my room. I became a fan and in 1993 I saw them live, one of my first concerts. My friend and I were so excited that we lost my father; it took us hours and hours until we found him back. The next day we had to go to school, that wasn't a big success (laughs).
3. Clannad - Greatest Hits
When I was a young kid I watched "Robin Hood" (the series) on TV. I remember that I started watching it at my grandparents place and they had a colour TV, when my parents came to pick me up and we drove to my other grandparents I had to continue watching the episode on a black and white tv. Of course I was always trying to leave a bit later so I could watch the whole episode on the colour TV haha. The music in the series was written by Clannad. This music is magic to me, not just because it's beautiful but also because of all the memories.
4. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto #3
He is my favorite classical composer among other favourites as Chopin and Mozart. Rachmaninov has a darker, heavier edge that's why he's my favourite. I watched a movie about a guy getting crazy by playing Rachmaninov, that's the moment that I got to know his music. (editor: He refers to the movie "Shine" about the life of the pianist David Helfgott. Geoffrey Rush played the leading role and won an Oscar for his amazing performance.)
5. Ayreon - The Final Experiment
I read a review about this album in a Dutch metal magazine. If I remember well this album got a 10 out of 10 rate. That's why I went to buy it. After the first spin I was massively disappointed, totally not the music I used to listen to before. Fortunately I gave it another try, and another. I started liking the album and after a while I started loving it. Later on Transmission Records (the label that released this album) got in touch with me about signing After Forever. Because of this Ayreon album I was really eager to start working with this label. The rest is history.
6. Gorefest - Erase
There was a program on MTV called "Headbangers Ball" with Vanessa Warwick as host. I always recorded this on video. This is how I discovered new bands. One of those bands was Gorefest. When I bought this album I was blown away by the power and vocals. Still I play this album and the "False" album on a regular base.
7. Nightwish - Oceanborn
I remember this album got a great review and I decided to give it a shot. It was something I had never heard before. A unique combination of metal and classical music. The songwriting, atmosphere and melodies are great. Still my favourite Nightwish album.
8. Paradise Lost - Icon
I was on holidays when I met a metalhead and we started to talk about music. He advised me to check out this band called Paradise Lost. As soon as I got home I went to the record store and listened to this album. I bought it right away. What a massive album. A very typical atmosphere and feeling of sorrow.
9. Machine Head - Burn My Eyes
This was also a discovery from "Headbangers Ball". "Davidian" is one of my favourite metal tracks ever. I still hate them for cancelling their U.S. tour one and a half weeks before it would take place with us and Children Of Bodom as supports but I can still enjoy this masterpiece fortunately.
10. Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory: Metropolis Part 2.
Normally the part 2's are not as good as part 1 (In Dream Theaters' case part 1 is a classic) so I was a bit sceptical at first but... wow what a masterpiece. From the beginning until the end an orgy of beautiful melodies, progressive mid parts and catchy chorusses. This is how progressive melodic metal should sound!