On June 5th 2003, the dutch Epica released their first album, The Phantom Agony.
The band was formed in 2002 thanks to the guitarist-growler Mark Jansen, who was this time the member of After Forever. According to him, he created a formation in which he could play classical, symphonic metal, so he left the band and started searching for musicians alongside him. This is how the Sahara Dust was formed. At that time, the singer was the Norwegian Helena Iren Michaelsen, but she was soon replaced by Mark’s girlfriend Simone Simons, who was only 17 years old. They changed their name, they chose a name after the Kamelot’s album, Epica.
The Phantom Agony’s recordings has begun on January 2003 in Wolfsburg, Germany, at the Gate Studio. The record was produced by Sascha Paeth, who has also worked on Kamelot’s albums. The choir consisted of six members, including Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Kiske, HDK, Exit Eden, Trillium), and a string band on the release of such songs as evergreens such as Cry For The Moon, Feint or Sensorium.
The songs mainly deal with religions and their dark sides, and Cry For The Moon, which has become a constant piece of music in concerts, is deals with the child criminals of Catholic priests.
In 2004, the band released a concert album titled by We Will Take You With Us, featuring a live TV coverage of 2 Meter Sessies in the Netherlands. In this show, the band played all the compositions of The Phantom Agony.
With the album Simone Simons and the band founded their reputation, successfully defrauding their feet on the metal scene, and their chariot has been unstoppable ever since.