Power of Metal.dk Review

The Quantum Enigma
Style: Symphonic Metal
Release date: 2 May, 2014
Playing time: 69:27

I feel sorry for all the other bands in the metal genre that are going to release a new album in the month May. No matter what style or genre they play, this is my and I'm almost sure, the powerofmetal.dk album of the month. The band spend more time than ever in the studio, also due to the pregnancy of Simone, to record this album. With 'Retrospect' they closed the first decade and this new album 'The Quantum Enigma' shoots them to the stars.

The first thing that strikes you is the production, it all sounds so very bombastic, gigantic, perfectly balanced and mixed. After a bombastic intro, "The Second Stone" opens fast and heavy, with gigantic orchestral elements, magnificant choir singing, the angelic vocals of Simone Simmons in combination with the choir and the hammering drums of Arien Weesenbeek. The guitar riffs of Mark Jansen and Isaac Delahaye sound aggressive and Coen Janssen fills every gap with his synths and piano. Halfway the grunts of Mark Jansen appear for the first time and the song finishes with a nice guitarsolo.

The next 2 songs have the same aggression and even sound heavier because of the bigger role for the grunts. I hear you think not much has changed musically and for a rather big part that is a fact, but somehow it all sounds even better than on earlier albums. Take for example Simone, again she has improved her singing and the melodies and harmonies in the several songs never sounded more beautiful, listen for example to "Omen - The Ghoulish Malady". Also the choir singing is perfect and sounds very authentic and last but not least the arrangements of the songs, in my opinion, it leans towards perfection.

After "Sense Without Sanity" the music momentarily slows down and in these songs Simone really takes the lead. Her voice sounds so nice and warm, you hear every emotion. Again the choir singing is first class and the orchestral parts sometimes make me think a bit of Within Tempatation. "The Fifth Guardian" is an interlude that reminds me of background music in a Chinese Restaurant. After this Eastern instrumental part, the successful journey continues. They have kept one of the best tracks at the end and this almost twelve minutes long track is the second part of "Kingdom of Heaven" from the 'Design Your Universe' album. They use an almost identical intro and choir to underline the alliance with the first part. In that track Epica takes you on the final trip to show what they stand for and what they are capable of. If you are still not convinced, you better visit the ear specialist.

At the moment there isn't a band I know that combines symphonic metal with choirs, orchestration, progressive elements, death, thrash and power metal in such a perfect balanced way. If you already liked their earlier albums, you will run away with this one, it all sounds even more bombastic, heavier and more progressive then ever. How on earth will they top this with the next album??

01. Originem
The Second Stone
The Essence of Silence
Victims of Contingency
Sense Without Sanity - The Impervious Code
Unchain Utopia
The Fifth Guardian - Interlude
Chemical Insomnia
09. Reverence - Living in the Heart
10. Omen - The Ghoulish Malady
11. Canvas of Life
12. Natural Corruption
13. The Quantum Enigma - Kingdom of Heaven Part II
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Distribution: Sony Music (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Reinier de Vries
Date: 1 May, 2014
Website: www.epica.nl