I like the idea of it, but I have never really been able to get behind Epica. I am not much of a clean vocals fan, except when used as accents or in doom. So, when Czech symphonic-metal band, Arch of Hell came recommended to me from a good friend, it was a heaven (or hell) sent. You see, Arch of Hell takes all the epic-y goodness of Epica, strong female vocals and symphonic keys then adds a healthy dash of harsh vocals, tones down the pop-production and leaves the rest of the commercial crap behind them. I couldn't ask for more. They are not shy, however, about their affinity for drawing influence from Epica, stating them as one on their myspace page.
I have been listening to a lot of Arch Of Hell lately and believe me when I say they will silence all the gothic/symphonic (whatever you want to call it) doubters. They certainty worked their magic on me. Arch of Hell's 2009 album, 'One Day' is available.