Epica (Dutch symphonic metal band)
For a short while the group called themselves Sahara Dust, and they recorded a small demo under that name.
Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal band, founded by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen after his departure from After Forever. They are known for their symphonic sound and the use of female vocals and male growls, performed by Simone Simons and Mark Jansen respectively, whilst writing primarily their lyrics. Their songs largely deal with philosophical topics, including science, religion, and world events.
In 2003, Epica's debut album The Phantom Agony was released through Transmission Records. Consign to Oblivion followed in 2005, and debuted at No. 12 in the Dutch charts. They moved labels to Nuclear Blast following Transmission's bankruptcy, and in 2007, released their third studio album The Divine Conspiracy, which charted at No. 9 in the Netherlands. 2009's Design Your Universe was met with yet greater success, debuting at No. 8 in the Dutch Albums Chart, and charting across Europe, also garnering much critical acclaim. Epica's fifth studio album Requiem for the Indifferent was released in 2012. Well received by critics, it achieved international success, entering the US's Billboard 200 at No. 104, and Japan's Oricon Albums Chart at No. 172.
In the beginning of May 2014 the band released their sixth album, The Quantum Enigma, which was a huge international success, debuting on No. 110 on US Billboard 200 and peaking at No. 4 in Epica's homeland Netherlands. In June 2015 Epica was awarded the Music Export Awards, which is given to the Dutch act with the most international success in the past year. In May 2016 it was announced that the seventh album, The Holographic Principle is set to be released in September 2016.