EPICA – ‘Design Your Universe: Gold Edition’ (2019)


Nuclear Blast Records

Review by Federico De Maria

2019 has been a very peculiar year for Epica, since ‘Design Your Universe’ tenth anniversary is approaching real fast. For the occasion, the Dutch band has given us a new version of the album, that has been released back in 2009, reproposing the remixed tracks by Joost Van Der Broek who has been following the band since ‘The Quantum Enigma’.

The album consists in 19 tracks, the latest five are simply the unplugged versions of some of the songs of this record and are a kind of addiction compared to the 2009 version. The project is indeed very ambitious and each band member had the chance of showing off his own skills.

The record gives a deeper atmosphere, an opening to unknown dimensions, to elevation from the transcendent and the physics laws, with some philosophical notes addressed to a majestic grandeur, with the aid and the strong use of oriental melodies.

The orchestrations and the chorus are both very present in each song of the album and they denote a dominant feature in the armonic section of the record itself. Through a deeper listening, we can observe the visit of different genres, using power riffs, death vocals (sung by both Mark Jansen and Ariën Van  Weesenbeek) in contrast with the softer and clean voice by Simone Simons. It’s also important to highlight the use of electronic and synth sounds by Coen Janssen, that will become a constant from 2009 on.

Entering the core of these tracks, the record opens up with an introductive prelude, that introduces a certain tension in the air and an increasing force, enriched by the female and male choir. The third song, “Unleashed”, has a great passionateness thanks also to the use of the orchestrations that is very cyclic. “Martyr Of The Free World” is a song featured by bursted guitars, prominent until the end of the song. “Our Destiny”, compared to the already present oriental characteristics, identifies itself for a bass that is shiny and emphasized. We reach then the acoustic versions of the songs, that estabilish the oriental inspiration taken from the band more than ever now. It’s indeed possible to sense a more basic atmosphere, but not less captivating compared to the original songs.

Concerning the artwork, it’s possible to notice a renewal of the original cover, chosen on purpose in order to celebrate this particular anniversary.

As a whole, Epica offers the audience a very dynamic and grandious project and the band didn’t upset their own fans!

Rating – 90/100


  1. Samadhi (Prelude)
  2. Resign To Surrender: A New Age Dawns part IV
  3. Unleashed
  4. Martyr Of The Free World
  5. Our Destiny
  6. Kingdom Of Heaven: A New Age Dawns part V
  7. The Price Of Freedom – Interlude
  8. Burn To A Cinder
  9. Tides Of Time
  10. Deconstruct
  11. Semblance Of Liberty
  12. White Waters
  13. Design Your Universe: A New Age Dawns part VI
  14. Incentive
  15. Burn to a Cinder – acoustic version
  16. Our Destiny – acoustic version
  17. Unleashed – acoustic version
  18. Martyr of the Free Word – acoustic version
  19. Design Your Universe – acoustic version

Line Up:

  • Mark Jansen – Guitars, Growl Vocals
  • Simone Simons – Vocals
  • Isaac Dehalaye – Guitars
  • Rob Van Der Loo – Bass
  • Ariën van Weesenbeek – Drums


Epica Official Website

You May Also Like

Devin Townsend Project – “Z²” (2014)

Label: Century Media Records Review by Tony Cannella Devin Townsend is one talented dude. I don’t think that’s really a revolutionary statement. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, showman, multi-tasker, all of…
View Post