Design Your Universe

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Design Your Universe
Epica design.jpg
Studio album by
Released16 October 2009
RecordedDecember 2008 – June 2009
StudioGate Studio, Wolfsburg, Germany,
The Huts Studio Antwerp, Belgium,
The Iceman Studio, Ypres, Belgium,
GenreSymphonic metal
LabelNuclear Blast
ProducerSascha Paeth & Epica
Epica chronology
The Classical Conspiracy
Design Your Universe
Requiem for the Indifferent
Singles from Design Your Universe
  1. "Unleashed"
    Released: 25 September 2009
  2. "Martyr of the Free Word"
    Released: 30 October 2009

Design Your Universe is the fourth full-length studio album by Dutch symphonic metal band Epica, released on 16 October 2009. It was the first album to feature officially new band members Isaac Delahaye on guitar and Ariën van Weesenbeek on drums.


Pre-release and production[edit]

The band entered Gate Studio in Wolfsburg, Germany on 2 March 2009 to start recording the album with usual collaborators Sascha Paeth, Amanda Somerville and Michael 'Miro' Rodenberg.[1][2]

The band's previous album, The Divine Conspiracy, was dealing with the idea that God created many religions and that it was to man to understand that they are all the same, and this album will be dealing with the power of thoughts and imaginations, as Mark Jansen stated:

The album title, Design Your Universe, deals with new breakthroughs in quantum physics. It proves that we are all connected to each other on subatomic level. Also, it shows that we can create or at least influence matter with our thoughts… a very interesting fact. Because it changes everything for us, our whole worldview collapses once you accept these facts and integrate them in your lives. So this had to become the new album title.[2]

Three songs of this album continue the A New Age Dawns saga, which started on the album Consign to Oblivion of 2005.

Sonata Arctica frontman Tony Kakko announced in an interview with La Grosse that he would duet with Simone Simons on the album.[3] His vocals for the song "White Waters" were recorded in Finland and later mixed with the other sound tracks.

The song "Resign to Surrender" was published on the MySpace website of the record label Nuclear Blast on 23 September 2009.[4] and the video for "Unleashed" premiered on the band's MySpace site on 25 September 2009.[5]

The bonus track "Incentive" is one of the very few Epica songs to not feature Simone Simons in any capacity.


Professional ratings
Review scores
About.com4/5 stars[6]
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[7]
Lords of Metal(90/100)[8]
Metal Storm8.5/10 stars[9]
Papel Mag(favorable)[10]

Reception has been positive from both critics and fans. The album debuted at No. 8 in the Dutch charts, being the highest position an Epica album had reached until that moment. The album remained on the chart for five weeks, and re-entered in No. 94 for one week due to the band's performance at the 2010 Pinkpop Festival.[11]

Design Your Universe World Tour[edit]

Epica performing at Norway Rock Festival in 2010.

After the release of Design Your Universe, Epica set out on a World Tour to support the album. They did a CD release party at The Paradiso in Amsterdam. They performed at some summer festival concerts in the summer of 2010 and returned to the United States and Canada in late fall 2010. Several dates in Europe, specially in the Netherlands, were sold out. The band also did a South American Tour, performing in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay. They played also in many important rock and metal festivals in Europe, such as Wacken Open Air, Pinkpop and Masters of Rock, in front of very large audiences.[12][13]

Track listing[edit]

1."Samadhi" (Prelude)Mark JansenJansen 1:27
2."Resign to Surrender" (A New Age Dawns, Part IV)JansenJansen, Jack Driessen, Simone Simons, Isaac DelahayeFeatured on JamLegend video game6:19
3."Unleashed"SimonsCoen Janssen, Jansen, Delahaye 5:48
4."Martyr of the Free Word"JansenAriën van Weesenbeek, Janssen, Jansen, Delahaye 5:03
5."Our Destiny"SimonsJansen, van Weesenbeek, Yves Huts, Simons, Delahaye 6:00
6."Kingdom of Heaven"
  • I. "Hold in Derision"
  • II. "Children of the Light"
  • III. "Bardo Thödol"
  • IV. "Paragons of Perfection"
  • V. "The Harsh Return" (A New Age Dawns, Part V)
JansenJansen, Delahaye 13:35
7."The Price of Freedom" (Interlude)InstrumentalJanssen 1:14
8."Burn to a Cinder"SimonsJanssen, Jansen, Delahaye, Simons 5:41
9."Tides of Time"SimonsJanssenOrchestral arrangements by Brian Reese5:34
10."Deconstruct"SimonsHuts, Jansen 4:14
11."Semblance of Liberty"JansenJansen, Delahaye 5:42
12."White Waters"SimonsJansen, Simons, Delahayefeaturing Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica on vocals4:44
13."Design Your Universe" (A New Age Dawns, Part VI)JansenJansen, Delahaye, Janssen 9:29


Band members
Guest musicians
  • Tony Kakkoclean male vocals (on "White Waters")
  • Amanda Somervillesoprano vocals (on "Unleashed (Duet Version)"), backing vocals, vocals production, engineer, vocal coaching and lyrical editing
  • Brian Reese - orchestral arrangements (on "Tides of Time")
  • Epica Choir:
    • Linda van Summeren, Bridget Fogle - sopranos
    • Amanda Somerville, Cloudy Yang - altos
    • Previn Moore - tenor
    • Melvin Edmondsen - bass
    • Simon Oberender, Olaf Reitmeier, Coen Janssen - additional baritone and bass vocals
  • Sascha Paeth - producer, engineer, mixing, backing vocals
  • Simon Oberender, Olaf reitmeier - engineers, editing
  • Miro Rodenberg - mastering, orchestral arrangements


Country Peak
Austrian Albums Chart[14] 70
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[15] 66
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[16] 40
Dutch Albums Chart[11] 8
Dutch Top 30 Alternative Chart[17] 1
French Albums Chart[18] 31
German Albums Chart[19] 37
Japanese Albums Chart[20] 228
Swiss Albums Chart[21] 27
US Heatseekers[22] 12


  1. ^ "EPICA: New Album Title Revealed?". Roadrunner Records. 20 April 2009. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b "EPICA Completes Work On New Album, Announces North American Tour". Roadrunner Records. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Tony Kakko, chanteur de Sonata Arctica" (in French). La Grosse 15 August 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  4. ^ "EPICA: New Song Available For Streaming". Roadrunner Records. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  5. ^ "EPICA: 'Unleashed' Video Released". Roadrunner Records. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  6. ^ Bowar, Chad. "Epica - 'Design Your Universe'". Heavy Metal. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  7. ^ Freeman, Phil. "Epica Design Your Universe review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  8. ^ Smit, Bas. "Epica - Design Your Universe". Lords of Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  9. ^ Anderson, Baz (16 October 2009). "Epica - Design Your Universe". Metal Storm. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  10. ^ Aneudys Santana, Pedro (14 October 2009). "Epica's Extreme Universe Makeover…with an Orchestra!". Papel Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Epica - Design Your Universe (album)". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  12. ^ Epica Announces North American Tour with Scar Symmetry, Mutiny Within and Blackguard 9 May 2010. Retrieved on 2010-05-15.
  13. ^ "Epica Online". 21 January 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  14. ^ "Epica - Design Your Universe (album)". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Epica - Design Your Universe". Ultratop (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Epica - Design Your Universe". Ultratop (in French). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Alternative Top30 - 24/10/2009". GfK Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Epica - Design Your Universe (album)". (in French). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Album - Epica, Design Your Universe". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  20. ^ "エピカのCDアルバムランキング、エピカのプロフィールならオリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese). Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  21. ^ "Epica - Design Your Universe". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  22. ^ "Design Your Universe - Epica". Billboard. Retrieved 6 October 2012.