Epica's Simone Simons loves Opeth and here's why

An illustration of Simone Simons drawn in an Opeth-esque style
(Image: © Matt Dixon)

THEY’RE AS UNIQUE AS IT GETS

“I listen to a lot of other music besides metal, but Opeth are a timeless metal band that have remained in my CD player non-stop for six years. I listen to pop, rock and jazz, but Opeth have aspects of them all, even a few jazzy undertones, so they’ve maintained their spot in my all-time favourite bands. I love that you can recognise a song by Opeth right away. Most bands are confusing because you can hear their inspirations too clearly, but Opeth are really uncanny and undefinable – they’ll never fit into one box.”

THEY’RE AN ACQUIRED TASTE

“My ex-boyfriend showed me their live DVD, Lamentations, about 11 years ago, and I thought it was a tad boring and the performance was a bit lacking, so I fell asleep! I hadn’t listened to their music properly yet, but I appreciated that they played greatly. A few years later, my now-husband would come around and listen to their CDs with me, so I eventually grew to enjoy the music for what it is. With Opeth, you really have to close your eyes and enjoy the music – don’t expect Mikael to get up and do a little dance! Then again, he comes up with funny announcements between songs that not everybody grasps or understands, but you have to have the same sense of humour. My husband and I saw them in Stuttgart and we were laughing so much, we were probably the only ones laughing out loud! Coen Janssen [Epica keyboardist] and I saw them at Sweden Rock, too; we went out and headbanged with the crowd. It was amazing.”

MIKAEL’S A LEGIT LOVELY DUDE

“I’ve met Mikael a few times and he’s a really nice guy; I can’t say a bad word about him. I love his very dry sense of humour! We got on really well when we hung out at Wacken; we talked a lot about parenthood – we’re both metal parents so we understand missing our loved ones on tour. Mikael’s the only original bandmember left, so Opeth wouldn’t be the same if he ever left. He’s the mastermind.”

WATERSHED IS SO UNDERRATED

“I’ll never stop listening to it; Mikael had that really ass-kicking growl sound. The tempo changes and melodic riffs really prove that they’re amazing musicians. And it arrived at a memorable time of my life. Pale Communion turned up while I was too busy to sit down and relax with it.”

THEY’VE PROGRESSED IN EVERY SENSE

“I first saw them in 2011 when Heritage had just come out, which was a transition phase where they left the growls behind and moved into a 70s vibe, but I still loved it because Mikael has an outstanding clean voice, too. People in the crowd kept complaining about the lack of grunts and I had to have a word with Mikael about it afterwards, but I respect their decision. If they carried on just to please the crowd, they’d become marionettes for the masses instead of the true artists they are. They’ve been around for 25 years and have built a loyal fanbase. They might lose some people that are not so open- minded to the lack of growls, but change is a natural process.”

THEY’RE AN INSPIRATION

I’d love to tour with them even though we might be a little too far from each other, content-wise. Most of us in Epica fell in love with their growl era, so I’m the one who’s grown along with Opeth! Our song Kingdom Of Heaven from Design Your Universe shows a lot of Opeth inspiration because Mark Jansen [guitar] is a fan, too.”

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