Rating:
8.0
Epica - The Quantum Enigma
2 May 2014


Disc I
01. Originem
02. The Second Stone
03. The Essence Of Silence
04. Victims Of Contingency
05. Sense Without Sanity - The Impervious Code
06. Unchain Utopia
07. The Fifth Guardian - Interlude
08. 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
14. In All Conscience [Digipack bonus]
15. Dreamscape [Earbook bonus]
16. Memento [Vinyl bonus]
17. Banish Your Illusion [iTunes bonus]
18. Mirage Of Verity [Japanese bonus]

Disc II [Digipack/Earbook bonus]
01. Canvas Of Life [acoustic version]
02. In All Conscience [acoustic version]
03. Dreamscape [acoustic version]
04. Natural Corruption [acoustic version]

Disc III [Earbook bonus]
01. Originem [instrumental version]
02. The Second Stone [instrumental version]
03. The Essence Of Silence [instrumental version]
04. Victims Of Contingency [[instrumental version]
05. Sense Without Sanity [instrumental version]
06. Unchain Utopia [instrumental version]
07. The Fifth Guardian [instrumental version]
08. Chemical Insomnia [instrumental version]
09. Reverence [instrumental version]
10. Omen [instrumental version]
11. Canvas Of Life [instrumental version]
12. Natural Corruption [instrumental version]
13. The Quantum Enigma [instrumental version]


Epica are back with a bang on their sixth studio release, the symphonic metal powerhouse abolishing any doubts that they can maintain their powerful presence within the genre.

The Quantum Enigma is a busy album, both in its role in returning Epica to form after the questionable efforts of Requiem For The Indifferent, as well as in itself. This is a pretty physical kick-start which sees their inspirations working toward clearer aims and more beneficial ends, and in a more rewarding renewal of the style that made the band so successful with their symphonic metal in the first place.

When I say that it's busy, I mean it's a much more driving listen in its entirety than expected of Epica after the previous album, and it contains none of the stagnant clutter that is largely responsible for weighing down so heavily on Requiem For The Indifferent, culminated with its dull guitar tone. The production here is much more polished and the song writing in The Quantum Enigma is very active, the level of dramatic impact turned up more than a notch, as the introductory piece would indicate from the album's very beginning.

This record is focused, clear and linear in its direction with the dominance of guitars carrying the symphonic elements along for the ride, but also spearheading the usual elemental interplay. Piano keys may lead in as well as bridge the lines of guitarists Jansen and Delahaye, choirs and orchestra provide effective backing for the album's movement through frequently forward punches as well as the usual growling contrast. Simons maintains her vocal grace throughout, though not exactly carrying this album with any outstanding performances, but occupying her role to her usual high standard. Things will reach moments of calm and soothing elegance to allow the listener a more intimate connection with the symphonic arrangements, as well with Simon's voice on "Canvas Of Life."

The Quantum Enigma isn't particularly varied in its scope, seeming to rely heavily on its re-established emphasis of punch over complex compositions, which is brought forth by the guitars and rhythms. Symphonically it isn't as neoclassical in its ambitions nor as culturally allusive as efforts such as The Divine Conspiracy, nor is it quite as tightly homogenised by symphony or operatic qualities as Consign To Oblivion, with its more concise nature. Massive swells of orchestra and choir arrangements do press this new album onward, but the rhythm section takes a domineering pride of place more often than not, setting a simpler stride rather than going for anything overtly varied or putting any diverting elements into its frame.

With all the energy in the performance, the album gives us the impression that it's getting to something in particular, which keeps the album moving in strong consistency toward the lengthier final track. Of this one I won't disclose too much, beyond stating that it ties this record in well with Design Your Universe, it being part two of the "Kingdom Of Heaven" sequence. Part one is found on Design Your Universe, which is itself part five of another sequence titled "A New Age Dawns," which links things back to Consign To Oblivion, where parts one through three are housed. A likeness in sound across all those connections is questionable, but it is a conscious effort by Epica to link to past triumphs and get their discography back on track.

Which this album certainly does, as Epica reclaim their strength in an explosive fashion with The Quantum Enigma.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 10


Band profile: Epica
Album: The Quantum Enigma


 



Written on 01.05.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››

Guest review by
AngelofDeth

Rating:
7.5
In many ways, The Quantum Enigma is the obvious successor to 2009's much cherished Design Your Universe. And by that I mean bombastic and over the top symphonics melded with Mark's signature heavy riffing and growls, with Simone's operatic vocals making a surprising, yet welcomed, return. Most praiseworthy of all, while it follows in the footsteps of an obvious predecessor, this album still manages to somehow feel new, as the symphonics explore untamed territories. There is no shortage of original riffs and the vocals are - wait, what? Did Elyze Ryd from Amaranthe replace Simone? No, no she didn't. But she may as well have, meaning that this is also Epica's most 'poppy' effort to date.

Read more ››
published 21.06.2014 | Comments (4)



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R Lewis - 01.05.2014 at 16:40  
Love this album, been listening to it via Spotify.
Nice review btw.
PocketMetal - 01.05.2014 at 17:13  
Nice review, describes the album just as it really is. This is one of the better Epica albums, especially if you're into their Design Your Universe style more than the early albums. I think it needed more catchy keyboard melodies and Simone needs to use her operatic voice more, it suits her better than the rock voice. I would give it 8.5-9, a great come back for Epica.
annodomini - 01.05.2014 at 18:59  
THere is a fifth bonus track in japanesse edition: Mirage of Variety.
It's already on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM0WunXs5wY
AngelofDeth - 01.05.2014 at 21:38  
I was hoping for a higher score but still seems like it should be a very solid album. Need to pick this up asap.
annodomini - 01.05.2014 at 23:03  
Written by AngelofDeth on 01.05.2014 at 21:38

I was hoping for a higher score but still seems like it should be a very solid album. Need to pick this up asap.


Actually, even if the content of the review is very accurate, the score is definitelly to low. This one deserver at least 8.5.

After 3 days of listening here are my score for individual songs:

Originem - 10/10 - I, ussually prefer not to have intros in albums, but these two interludes in TQE are just magnificent and the best Epica have done.

The Second Stone - 9/10 - Unusual chorus melody, great vocal and chorus lines.

The Essence Of Silence - 9/10 - I never was a fan of this kind of Epica openers (neither Resign to Surrender, neither Storm the Sorrow), but this one managed to move me.

Victims Of Contingency - 9/10 - Kind of straightforward Mayan song, but it sounds much better in Epica context.

Sense Without Sanity - The Impervious Code - 11/10 - probably the best song Epica has ever done. After hearing the main melody in teaser I knew this will be special.

Unchain Utopia - 10/10 - Even if it is a very traditional Epica song, the melody and choirs part still makes it amazingly catchy.

The Fifth Guardian (interlude) - 10/10

Chemical Insomnia - 9.5/10 - Close to perfection. Great dark and disturbing symphonical parts and diverse composition. This one kind of reminds me of TDC.

Reverence - Living In The Heart - 9.5/10 - A diverse and very complete song, with both refrain and chorus polished to perfection and being equally catchy. Vocal parts in this song are one of my facorites on this record.

Omen - The Ghoulish Malady - 9.5/10 - Second part of TQE is much more interesting and with slightly better songriting. That's kind of chorus that stucks in your head for long.

Canvas Of Life - 10/10 - Epica always knew how to make a perfect power ballad. Amazingly done. Reminds me of Twin Flames.

Natural Corruption - 10/10 - Amazing throw back ti Consign to Oblivion times. Catchy, melodic and kind of folkish. That's what they ment with "more melody this time".

The Quantum Enigma - Kingdom Of Heaven Part II - 9.5/10 - An constant grower, however I expected a bit more of this. However Simone's parts in refrain are amazing, the mani chorus reminds of Phantom Agony, and the final part is really intense and fun to listen.
Rasa - 02.05.2014 at 03:37  
Can't praise this enough. Not a single weak track on the album. Such an amazing come back!
Loathera - 02.05.2014 at 07:01  
Written by annodomini on 01.05.2014 at 23:03

Written by AngelofDeth on 01.05.2014 at 21:38

I was hoping for a higher score but still seems like it should be a very solid album. Need to pick this up asap.


Actually, even if the content of the review is very accurate, the score is definitelly to low. This one deserver at least 8.5.

After 3 days of listening here are my score for individual songs:

Originem - 10/10 - I, ussually prefer not to have intros in albums, but these two interludes in TQE are just magnificent and the best Epica have done.

The Second Stone - 9/10 - Unusual chorus melody, great vocal and chorus lines.

The Essence Of Silence - 9/10 - I never was a fan of this kind of Epica openers (neither Resign to Surrender, neither Storm the Sorrow), but this one managed to move me.

Victims Of Contingency - 9/10 - Kind of straightforward Mayan song, but it sounds much better in Epica context.

Sense Without Sanity - The Impervious Code - 11/10 - probably the best song Epica has ever done. After hearing the main melody in teaser I knew this will be special.

Unchain Utopia - 10/10 - Even if it is a very traditional Epica song, the melody and choirs part still makes it amazingly catchy.

The Fifth Guardian (interlude) - 10/10

Chemical Insomnia - 9.5/10 - Close to perfection. Great dark and disturbing symphonical parts and diverse composition. This one kind of reminds me of TDC.

Reverence - Living In The Heart - 9.5/10 - A diverse and very complete song, with both refrain and chorus polished to perfection and being equally catchy. Vocal parts in this song are one of my facorites on this record.

Omen - The Ghoulish Malady - 9.5/10 - Second part of TQE is much more interesting and with slightly better songriting. That's kind of chorus that stucks in your head for long.

Canvas Of Life - 10/10 - Epica always knew how to make a perfect power ballad. Amazingly done. Reminds me of Twin Flames.

Natural Corruption - 10/10 - Amazing throw back ti Consign to Oblivion times. Catchy, melodic and kind of folkish. That's what they ment with "more melody this time".

The Quantum Enigma - Kingdom Of Heaven Part II - 9.5/10 - An constant grower, however I expected a bit more of this. However Simone's parts in refrain are amazing, the mani chorus reminds of Phantom Agony, and the final part is really intense and fun to listen.


The beauty of opinions is that we all have one. My guess is that not everyone is going to have the same opinion as you, thus rendering your scoring mute.

Wait the allotted 3 months and do your own review. Sounds like you have listened to it enough.
Firiox - 02.05.2014 at 13:18  
I love classical music, and I love SYMPHONIC METAL, in fact, Symphonic Metal is the only metal that I really love, I enjoy folk too, but not that much, anyway this album is a bad Symphonic metal one.

I'm in love with the first 4 albums of Epica, but, for me, they have lost their symphonic magic, I even find this album kinda pop sometimes and, in general, boring... I'm seriously dissapointed... Maybe I have to keep listening to it, but in the first spin...

I'd save three songs, but that's all... I'll give it another chance, anyway
soroush_s8n - 02.05.2014 at 17:48  
This album sounds kinda pop music to me, I dunno what exactly is wrong with Simone's voice after "Requiem For The Indifferent" but i don't like the way she sings for a METAL band.
I think score 8 is fair enough...
soroush_s8n - 02.05.2014 at 17:52  
Written by Guest on 02.05.2014 at 13:18

I love classical music, and I love SYMPHONIC METAL, in fact, Symphonic Metal is the only metal that I really love, I enjoy folk too, but not that much, anyway this album is a bad Symphonic metal one.

I'm in love with the first 4 albums of Epica, but, for me, they have lost their symphonic magic, I even find this album kinda pop sometimes and, in general, boring... I'm seriously dissapointed... Maybe I have to keep listening to it, but in the first spin...

I'd save three songs, but that's all... I'll give it another chance, anyway


you know I'm not into symphonic stuff as much as you are but i really loved their first 4 albums and dont like the way she sings anymore,sounds like a pop vocal to me.
Firiox - 02.05.2014 at 18:02  
Written by soroush_s8n on 02.05.2014 at 17:52

Written by Guest on 02.05.2014 at 13:18

I love classical music, and I love SYMPHONIC METAL, in fact, Symphonic Metal is the only metal that I really love, I enjoy folk too, but not that much, anyway this album is a bad Symphonic metal one.

I'm in love with the first 4 albums of Epica, but, for me, they have lost their symphonic magic, I even find this album kinda pop sometimes and, in general, boring... I'm seriously dissapointed... Maybe I have to keep listening to it, but in the first spin...

I'd save three songs, but that's all... I'll give it another chance, anyway


you know I'm not into symphonic stuff as much as you are but i really loved their first 4 albums and dont like the way she sings anymore,sounds like a pop vocal to me.



Yep, that's true, and that's one of the things that I don't like about this album, she barely uses her awesome voice, it's a shame, that's what I said it sounds pop to me.
AngelofDeth - 02.05.2014 at 22:30  
Written by Loathera on 02.05.2014 at 07:01

My guess is that not everyone is going to have the same opinion as you, thus rendering your scoring mute.

Everyone has at least a slightly differing opinion so that would mean everyone's score is meaningless. His post was a bit fanboy but that doesn't mean his opinion his worthless just because you don't agree with him.

Upon first listen I can second the criticism of Simone's vox sounding too poppy at times. Typically I don't mind "poppy" but it just doesn't quite mesh with the heavy shredding guitars and bombastic symphonics. Though I can't say the vox are all bad as I am very happy to hear her bringing back the operatic vox! Plus Mark's songwriting sounds better than ever here - will post a full opinion/score after a few more listens.
Loathera - 02.05.2014 at 23:08  
Written by AngelofDeth on 02.05.2014 at 22:30

Written by Loathera on 02.05.2014 at 07:01

My guess is that not everyone is going to have the same opinion as you, thus rendering your scoring mute.

Everyone has at least a slightly differing opinion so that would mean everyone's score is meaningless. His post was a bit fanboy but that doesn't mean his opinion his worthless just because you don't agree with him.

Upon first listen I can second the criticism of Simone's vox sounding too poppy at times. Typically I don't mind "poppy" but it just doesn't quite mesh with the heavy shredding guitars and bombastic symphonics. Though I can't say the vox are all bad as I am very happy to hear her bringing back the operatic vox! Plus Mark's songwriting sounds better than ever here - will post a full opinion/score after a few more listens.

Eh maybe. My point was that posting your own review in the comments of a review seems a bit unnecessary and that if you disagree that strongly that you should write your own review, but perhaps I was being more harsh than I should have been.
annodomini - 03.05.2014 at 10:29  
Written by Loathera on 02.05.2014 at 23:08

Written by AngelofDeth on 02.05.2014 at 22:30

Written by Loathera on 02.05.2014 at 07:01

My guess is that not everyone is going to have the same opinion as you, thus rendering your scoring mute.

Everyone has at least a slightly differing opinion so that would mean everyone's score is meaningless. His post was a bit fanboy but that doesn't mean his opinion his worthless just because you don't agree with him.

Upon first listen I can second the criticism of Simone's vox sounding too poppy at times. Typically I don't mind "poppy" but it just doesn't quite mesh with the heavy shredding guitars and bombastic symphonics. Though I can't say the vox are all bad as I am very happy to hear her bringing back the operatic vox! Plus Mark's songwriting sounds better than ever here - will post a full opinion/score after a few more listens.

Eh maybe. My point was that posting your own review in the comments of a review seems a bit unnecessary and that if you disagree that strongly that you should write your own review, but perhaps I was being more harsh than I should have been.


Actually there wasn't a review, just my opinion of the songs. I love to do songs by song is such cases, because when I write a review I write about the essence not about separate songs, so comment section is best place to shar this kind of oppinion. Yes, it sounds fanboyish, but the irony is that I never was an Epica fanboy until DYU. And I am writing reviews, just in my native language, because my English isn't that good, so I could write a good review here

Nevertheless, I was not misjudging reviewers opinion, maybe you got my tone too harsh too.

Now back to the vocals. Well thats the place, where they are taking a risk (referring to the guy who complained that they stoped doing that). What I love about this band is that they don't care that SImone should sound operatic in all their musical context and make her sing the way they wan,t and not the everyone expects. If you noticed, despite one of the heaviest guitars and drums ever, Epica's songwriting is going much more classical and pop, leaving aside traditional metal sequences and that is a great thinh, imo. By pop I mean a good pop like musicals, a bit jazz and kind of Sting, Pink Floyd style. I am still amazed that all 6 albums are written equally great. Yes, this time there are much more songwriting by Coen and Issac, but it just proves how talented all of them are. What is more, those Simone pop vocals lets her control her vocal much more, and as a result we get very complex vocal line in TQE. I always prefer interesting and original vocal lines.

But here we go back to the point of beauty of opinions. I believe that this will happen with Epica further with now on - they keep searching for new way to express theyr kind of symphonic metal, and metalhead with smaller taste will start dropping from the listeners list with arguments like too much pop vocals, or less grunts, etc. And I say this without any arrogance. Thats a natural thing. I respect all of your opinions and ratings (we except that insomnium(heart) boy, who clearly voted 1 just to keep Insomnium in the first place, haha), but that doesn't mean that I could not state my opinion and give my arguments to disagree with ratings or anything else.

So peace and lets listen to this amazing music!
mariano - 05.05.2014 at 22:23  
Written by R'Vannith on 02.05.2014 at 17:48

...it contains none of the stagnant clutter that is largely responsible for weighing down so heavily on Requiem For The Indifferent, culminated with its dull guitar tone.

Does that mean Mark has finally got over that old-school death metal tone? If that is so, then it was about damn time!
I've never got why he kept such poor sound over the years... same story with MaYan.

Anyway, that's promising
Iced Dog - 07.05.2014 at 07:34  
Written by mariano on 05.05.2014 at 22:23

Does that mean Mark has finally got over that old-school death metal tone? If that is so, then it was about damn time!
I've never got why he kept such poor sound over the years... same story with MaYan.

Anyway, that's promising

It's still there a bit (you can hear it on Essence Of Silence), but for the most part it's been left behind, which is good. Epica is one of my favorite bands, but Requiem For The Indifferent was a disappointment, and the only album as a whole that I don't care for. The Quantum Engima, however, is really quite good, and I agree with the review that it's a return to form. And how about the choral element on this album...Epica choirs have always been very good, but they are absolutely outstanding on TQE.

It's interesting that after Consign to Oblivion, which only had 3 songs that featured Mark's growls (the best songs on the album IMO), I thought Epica would become less heavy and more "accessible"...but the next two albums (The Divine Conspiracy, Design Your Universe) put a giant HELL NO to that notion, and I really respected the band for it. I love symphonic metal, and Epica continues to be one of the best in the biz.
Dark Cornatus - 12.05.2014 at 09:22  
I'm actually quite happy with the album. It's a little repetitive and nothing overly stands out, but nothing was too weak on it. I completely agree though than Simone is weak on vocals compared to the other albums. I really notice it on the Kingdom of Heaven (part 2) track. I remember Simone tearing that one up on Design Your Universe - so catchy. The music was put together quite well though!
the_scarecrow - 01.07.2014 at 10:56  
I don't know what some people are saying; Simone uses her operatic voice numerous times throughout this record, even stronger than in past records. Unless I'm mistaken.
D♫Riddler - 25.07.2014 at 21:13  
Simone sings better now...

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