Epica - The Quantum Enigma
Nuclear Blast
Symphonic Metal
14 songs (76:00)
Release year: 2014
Epica, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Joel
Album of the month
Epica really needs no introduction, and as one of the leading bands in the Symphonic Metal genre, the only questions asked usually are is this disc going to be like the last one, is it going to be just as epic, are they going to try something new? Is there something new? My honest opinion, this cd has a different feel to it at times(which I will get too) which adds to to the disc as whole. The procedural first intro song as always, comes first. Not exactly an instrumental, though a sweeping movie score-esque string melody is heard throughout the track, choral vocals join in during the last third of the song. The Second Stone, brings the Symphonic Metal to the fold, with driving guitars, strings, and solid choral vocals. The beautiful vocals, of lead lady, Simone Simmons kicks in shortly thereafter. The first thing I notice, is her singing in her more subdue and melodic vocal range, versus her operatic range. Similar to Never Enough on The Divine Conspiracy, but not "poppy" but pure Symphonic Metal, without the operatic overtones. This is easily one of my favorite songs, and its only the first. It definitely sets the tone, for what you can expect. The Essence of Silence, was the first song released with a lyric video you will be able to watch here. Its a song deep in the typical Epica fashion, and definitely does not disappoint. I love the mixture of dissonant and driving guitar riffs. Mark Jansen's growls are featured throughout the song, and in more of lead variety, then the usual beast to the beauty that is Simmons's vocals. Victims of Contingency, is another faster song, with a very cool symphonic overtone. Again, Jansen takes the lead, and I am really digging the extra heaviness. The extreme heaviness to melodic-ness can not be done any better than this song. Victims, is the shortest song you will find on the disc at just over three and a half minutes. Fans of Jansen's Mayan, will love this song. The haunting yet beautiful intro of Sense of Without Sanity-The Impervious Code, leads into a melodic rocker, very similar to The Second Stone, but with a chorus that is very different, plus Jansen growls thrown in for good measure.

The nearly four minute and fifty second Unchained Utopia, could almost be called a psuedo-ballad in parts, due to its mostly slower nature, but I would not. Its another very solid symphonic piece, and I enjoyed it a lot. A short interlude called The Fifth Guardian is next, followed by Chemical Insomnia. Chemical Insomnia and Reverence-Living In The Heart, share dark symphonic overtones, with layers of guitars underneath. Verses feature some very signature heavy guitar playing, and a driving rhythm section. The guitar riff on Reverence causes serious headbanging, and is not drowned out by the layer of strings. I also like the group choral chorus in that song, with Simmon's soprano vocals shining through. The hauntingly beautiful Omen- The Ghoulish Malady is next. Gentle piano and strings open the song up, before the always enchanting and passionate of vocals of Simmons kicks in. Not without its big choruses or symphonic sections, this song is quite a piece of music, for its an entire five minute plus running time. Canvas of Life is the true ballad on the disc, and it definitely does not disappoint. It's a little different than what came before it. It has some beautiful clean guitar leads/embellishments thrown in, which are a nice touch. This is a song to enjoy and not be told what to listen to or for. Natural Corruption takes you back to the melodic mid paced of the earlier songs on the disc. Simmons's does go into her operatic range on this song, and a cool almost folky lead melody in the song that differentiates itself from the other similarly paced songs on the disc. Like the Epica title tracks of the past, this one is no different, being that is the most epic and longest track on the disc. At just under twelve minutes this song is everything an Epica fan could hope for and want, and with a few things, that might come as a surprise(Pleasant they are!).

I am sure I will get flack in the comments of the message boards, but I do believe this to be the MOST complete Epica disc yet. With elements that fans loved about The Phantom Agony or Consign the Oblivion to the last three discs the band have produced, there is something for every Epica fan here. If you strayed away from the band, because this genre is not your favorite, nothing here will change your mind. With solid musicianship, vocal interplay, symphonic arrangements, I believe Epica have definitely created a masterpiece that has been built on all the albums that came before it.

Killing Songs :
ALL
Joel quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Epica that we have reviewed:
Epica - Requiem for the Indifferent reviewed by Khelek and quoted 86 / 100
Epica - Design Your Universe reviewed by Kyle and quoted 89 / 100
Epica - The Divine Conspiracy reviewed by Marty and quoted 85 / 100
Epica - Consign To Oblivion reviewed by Ian and quoted 90 / 100
Epica - We Will Take You With Us reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
To see all 7 reviews click here
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