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Epica is a symphonic metal band from The Netherlands, founded in 2003 by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen after his departure from After Forever. The band currently consists of Simone Simons (vocals), Mark Jansen (guitars, vocals), Isaac Delahaye (guitar), Rob van der Loo (bass), Coen Janssen (keyboards, synthesiser), and Ariën van Weesenbeek (drums). They perform symphonic metal, with influences from death, progressive and power metal.

In early 2002, Jansen left After Forever and began looking for musicians to start a new musical project, initially named Sahara Dust. In late 2002, the band recruited Helena Iren Michaelsen (former singer with Trail of Tears and singer with Imperia) as its frontwoman, but shortly afterwards she was replaced by the then unknown mezzo-soprano Simone Simons, Jansen’s girlfriend at the time. The band’s line-up was completed by guitarist Ad Sluijter, drummer Jeroen Simons, bassist Yves Huts and keyboard player Coen Janssen. Their name was changed to Epica, inspired by Kamelot’s album, Epica.

Epica then assembled a choir (made up of two men and six women) and a string orchestra (three violins, two violas, two cellos, and a double bass) to play with them. Their debut album, The Phantom Agony, was released in late 2003.

Their second release, Consign to Oblivion, was influenced by popular beliefs about Mayan culture. Consign to Oblivion was composed with film scores as a basis, with Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman being cited as major inspirations.Epica joined Kamelot as a support band on parts of their tour for promotion of the The Black Halo album, to which Simons had contributed her vocals.

Epica’s The Score: An Epic Journey was released in September 2005 and is the soundtrack for the Dutch film Joyride. Jansen has said that the album is “Typically Epica. Only without the singing, without the guitars, no bass and no drums”.

In 2005 and 2006 Epica went on their first tour throughout North America with Kamelot. After the tour, their drummer Jeroen Simons left the band, and Ariën Van Weesenbeek replaced him. The Divine Conspiracy was released in 2007 in the U.S. in time for their second tour through North America. The new album was released early September in Europe.

In 2008, Sluijter left the band, and was replaced by Isaac Delahaye. The album Design Your Universe was released in 2009.

2012 saw the release of the new album Requiem for the Indifferent, soon after which founding member Yves Huts left the band and was replaced by Rob van der Loo.

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