|Posted on June 1, 2014 at 10:30 PM|
Epica - The Quantum Enigma
Written by Dave Smiles
The past decade has brought a new sub-genre of metal - Symphony metal. A combination of two of the most powerful forms of music in history, with an almost obsessive focus on musicianship, performance, and song-writing. Next to Nightwish, the leaders of this genre are without a doubt Epica. However, where Nightwish draw inspiration from movie scores, Epica take more from the classical school of song writing.
With the unleashing of their sixth studio album the band takes another bold step forward in their musical development. The Quantum Enigma is an uncompromisingly powerful album that fully masters every element of the dynamics within the musical spectrum, by using the full range of all the musicians have to offer. Simone Simons’ vocals blend seamlessly amongst the heavy riffing and the mercifulness of the drumming, while Mark Jensen’s death grunt vocals take the compositions to a whole other level; not to mention the gentle sections where they explore more mellow forms of musical expression. Creating multi levelled musical complexities within the songs can only come from musicians willing to collaborate together as a band.
The guitar solos throughout the album never run over thirty seconds. Instead of the guitarist being the focus of the band, various members get a chance to shine, whether it be a vocal solo, guitar fill or keyboard melody, what is most important is the songs and not a musician’s ego.
The Quantum Enigma is an album you listen to from start to finish and feel you’ve been part of something special. The lyrics were reportedly inspired by a study within quantum physics that suggests what we see in our physical environment is influenced by our consciousness; our minds control reality.
One of the stand out tracks on the album is Reverence – Living in the Heart. It’s one hell of a fine song with Jensen’s brutal vocals trading off perfectly with Simone’s beautiful voice and the musicianship from all members of the band – especially the drums, damn that performance from Ariën van Weesenbeek is impressive. Furthermore, the interesting concept depicted within the albums lyrics brings out some inspiring verses within this song.
Victims of Contingency is another great track with inspirational lyrics and has a killer breakdown mid-section as does The Essence of Silence. If these two songs don’t get you head banging there’s something wrong with you.
The Fifth Guardian – Interlude is a nice mid piece to the album with its calm and mellow oriental feel which progressively builds up and up with new layers being added before it segues into the next track Chemical Insomnia. Canvas of Life sticks mostly to the mellow end and shows how much the band can focus of subtle nuances to evoke the listener’s attention.
As well as being some of the band’s finest work to date, it also reminds us just how much an album is a snapshot of where a band is at a particular point in time.
Categories: Album Reviews