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Epica The Quantum Enigma album cover
3.81 | 93 ratings | 5 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Originem (2:11)
2. The Second Stone (5:00)
3. The Essence Of Silence (4:47)
4. Victims Of Contingency (3:31)
5. Sense Without Sanity - The Impervious Code - (7:42)
6. Unchain Utopia (4:45)
7. The Fifth Guardian - Interlude - (3:04)
8. Chemical Insomnia (5:12)
9. Reverence - Living In The Heart - (5:02)
10. Omen - The Ghoulish Malady - (5:28)
11. Canvas Of Life (5:28)
12. Natural Corruption (5:24)
13. The Quantum Enigma - Kingdom Of Heaven Part II - (11:53)

Total time 69:27

Bonus tracks on 2014 LP edition:
14. Memento (4:12)

Line-up / Musicians

- Simone Simons / vocals
- Mark Jansen / rhythm guitar, grunts vocals
- Isaac Delahaye / lead, acoustic & Classical guitars
- Coen Janssen / synthesizer, piano, choir arranger
- Rob van der Loo/ bass
- AriŽn Van Weesenbeek / drums, grunts & spoken word

- Daniel de Jongh / vocals (13)
- Marcela Bovio / backing vocals
- The PA'Dam Choir / chamber chorus vocals
- Maria van Nieukerken / choir conductor
- String section / 9 violins, 3 violas, 4 celli
- Michael "Miro" Rodenberg / orchestral arrangements
- Joost van den Broek / orchestral arrangements, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: Stefan Heilemann with Tonnie Simons (painting)

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 3222-2 (2014, Europe)

2xLP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 3222-1 (2014, Europe) With a bonus track

Thanks to Second Life Syndrome for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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EPICA The Quantum Enigma ratings distribution

(93 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

EPICA The Quantum Enigma reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars After so many albums and so many wonderful performances, I wasn't sure if Epica could craft still another album that would please me and scratch that female-fronted metal itch I sometimes get. In fact, Epica is the only band that usually satisfies it. I'm happy to say, though, that their new album "The Quantum Enigma" is a worth successor to their legacy of excellence.

I am honestly surprised at the small things that Epica has added, and how these little details enrich an album that is basically by-the-books for the most part. Epica, if you are not familiar, is a female-fronted symphonic/progressive metal band with, well, epic and bombastic orchestral passages. Their music is huge and glorious, as it should be. In fact, Simone Simons, the singer, is pretty much my favorite female singer, and her operatic voice is the standard by which many judge all other female metal vocalists. With deep riffs, ethereal keys, symphonic elements throughout, and drums by "The Beast" himself, Epica's music is all or nothing. If you like it, you'll love it. If you dislike it, you'll hate it.

But, I was talking about small things, wasn't I? There are three things I've noticed on "The Quantum Enigma". First of all, the symphonics are much more integrated into the music. On previous albums, it often felt like the metal and symphonies were separate entities that would occasionally cross paths, but this album showcases a much more focused composition. Secondly, guitar and keyboard solos are present. Now, this isn't new, but there are actually several on this album, which is definitely a departure from previous works. On top of that, the solos are excellent. Lastly, this album seems to be their proggiest yet. With some really odd signatures and song structures, "The Quantum Enigma" really pushes their normally lukewarm progressive status.

Is the album any good, though? Yes, though there are some things that irk me a bit. The album is full of wonderful songs, which do require time to grow on you. The album begins with my favorite intro yet, "Originem", a classical piece that they allow to breathe. The next several tracks (up to and including #7) are the best on the album. Pulse-pounding and intricate at the same time, these songs are full of wonderful vocals from Simone, a rather interesting choice to restrain Mark Jansen's harsh vocals for the most part, and simply incredible interplay between the classical and metal elements of the music.

Specifically, "Victims of Contingency" is one of my favorite tracks of the year, as it opens with "The Beast" doing what he does best, but lets go with a delicate chorus. It's a divine song. Another favorite on this album is actually the interlude, "The Fifth Guardian". This Asian- inspired song is an instrumental treat that I was not expecting to hear on an Epica album. It's really something else.

Now, what did I dislike? First and foremost, I feel there isn't enough Simone. That may sound stupid, but the use of the choir is at an all-time high here, and they drown her out much of time. I was hoping, then, for the delicate ballads that showcased her voice on "Design Your Universe", but I still didn't get another one (the last album didn't either). Sure, this gives a very massive feeling to the album, but I still prefer some of the smaller, personal moments. "Canvas of Life" comes close, but not quite there. I also feel like many of the drum compositions were similar, as the use of the same blast beats is there quite a bit. In fact, my favorite tracks are the ones where the drumming is at a dynamic high. Lastly, and quite unfortunately, the title track, also subtitled "Kingdom of Heaven II", after what may be Epica's best song of all time (located on "Design Your Universe"), is a bit of a disappointment. When I heard the earthy vocal vibrations that introduce both parts, I was psyched. Yet, the song is a bit anti-climactic and drawn out for the sake of being long. It is not even close to the original.

So, then, Epica's "The Quantum Enigma" is a success, though not on par with "Design Your Universe" (still my favorite) or maybe a few others. Yet, it's an album that I expected, though with some extra things thrown in that I didn't expect. It's gigantic, beautiful, and celestial. Yet, there are some things that drag it down, and the band could really consider a radical sound change sometime soon. For now, though, I think fans and newcomers alike will really enjoy this album.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well's been quite sometime that I have not listened to any kind of music with growling vocal style which under local term here in my country I call it as 'muntah kolak' even though Epica is not full with growling vocal. Obviously the clean vocal by Simone Simons (I like her appearance in Kamelot's DVD couple of years ago) in which she sing with power she possibly can, The result is truly an excellent power metal album packed with heavy orchestration from start to end of the album. I am the kind of person whom very easy and happy to enjoy any kind of music which has orchestra in its composition, be it real or just software manipulation like tons of softwares used in the Tangent's latest album. I am not quite sure how the boys in Epica produce the orchestra as part of their composition but for sure I do enjoy all passages of this album.

The opening orchestra Originem really blew me away at first listen as it produces dramatic sound to open this beautifully crafted album. It sets the overall tone of the album, really. It reminds me the first time I felt in love with Kamelot through their Karma album where it started with an orchestra titled as Regalis Apertura. Originem is really as good as Regalis Apertura. The music moves beautifully to the second track The Second Stonewith a full blast of power metal style complete with heavy riffs and double pedal bass drums that is running in full speed. Simone Simons proves herself as one of best metal vocalist with her pure, clear and powerful tones throughout the song backed with heavy music and male choirs. The orchestration still playing dominant role throughout the song.

The Essence Of Silence starts off ambient with a nice combination of violin sound and piano fills. The music then blasts off beautifully with male back vocal in growling style followed with clean vocal of Simone and female choirs. In some way it reminds me to Haggard 'Tales from Itheria' album even though the music is different. Victims Of Contingency kicks off nicely with string arrangements followed with the blast of double pedal bass drums that brings the music into full power metal style with male growling vocal backed with female choirs just before clean female vocal enters. Sense Without Sanity - The Impervious Code changes the mood of the music where now guitar riffs becomes quite dominant and female vocal delivers nice melody.

Unchain Utopia, unlike other tracks, starts with a choir an then followed with music blast that contains string arrangement and heavy riffs followed with toning down style when Simone enters her vocal line. The choirs now seem to dominate the song. The Fifth Guardian (interlude) is a very nice outfit in mellow style that represents a reasonable break after full blast of metal music from prior tracks. It's short in duration with approx 3 minutes containing some blends of eastern music and eerie vocal, backed with powerful violin-like sounds. I can consider this as a nice instrumental that bridges the next track. The nuance of this instrumental is sad in nature. It then shifts smoothly to the next one: Chemical Insomnia with full power of metal.

I love almost all tracks featured by this album including the tracks that follow: Reverence - Living In The Heart, Omen - The Ghoulish Malady. When it reaches Canvas Of Life, the music is tuned down to the fullest as it's basically a mellow song containing mainly vocal and guitar plus string arrangements. It's a very nice melodic mellow track where the drums are not typical double pedal speed tempo as this is a slow track. It's a very nice track. Natural Corruption brings back the power metal style. The album concludes with an epic from the album title: The Quantum Enigma - Kingdom Of Heaven part II which has an excellent composition. The music moves nicely from an ambient opening through wonderfully crafted string arrangement and moves in crescendo as drums come into play. The vocal part enters at about 2 minute after the opening. I like the interlude section which demonstrates simple orchestration with guitar riffs and choirs at the back. It's really nice music!

Musically, I think this band has progressed in the right direction from time to time as I remember vividly I only reviewed their album released in 2007 and I find there is so much progress of I look at this beautifully crafted album in 2014. I highly recommend you to have this album and you won;t regret especially if you like the heavy side of music. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars The two or three members out there who follow my reviews probably already know that progressive metal isn't high on my list these days, but I've read a lot of good reviews for Epica, and my local CD store (yes, there are still a few of those around) was selling the new disk for a price I could not pass up.

So. Epica, true to their reputation, on this album plays a strong classical influenced prog metal, with vocals that blend a female vocalist, Simone Simon, with male death metal throw-up-in-the-back-of-your-throat grunts. And for once, the grunting isn't detracting too much from the music, although still overused, because, unusually, the words are unusually clear.

Musically, the emphasis is on energy. Metal is the prominent feature, with obvious classical influence, that often sounds like an aggressively amped up take on Rick Wakeman's "Journey To The Center Of The Earth". The addition of a choir and string section adds to that comparison.

But there are some flaws. Despite nearly every song having some passages that draw me in, there is far too much reliance on metal cliches used to fill in between the good parts. Especially grating are the drums of AriŽn van Weesenbeek. Technically, the guy is great. His precision licks and fills can be quite astounding. But listening to an entire album quickly shows that while the tricks he knows he knows well, his fills and jackhammer rhythms are all to similar, causing some tedium to these ears.

And while the choral and string arrangements are very impressive, the recording of these sections are not so much. There is a reverb on these sections, probably due to insufficient microphones, that give each group the sound of recording in a canyon. The rock band sounds clear on their own, but when strings and chorus are added in at the same time everything gets mushy.

On the plus side, the track The Essence Of Silence stands out. Delightfully bombastic and dark in it's arrangement, it veers the farthest away from the cliches I mentioned above, and makes me want to hear more. Other tracks, like the title track that closes the album come close to this, but only the one really impresses me.

3.5 stars. Rounded up because I'm in a good mood.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars There is one word to describe this 2014 album that rises clearly above all others, "Intensity". The production on this album seems to have brought everything together at the highest volume possible, so much so that the listener is quite drained by all of it. Singer Simone Simons has a quite stunning voice, but to be honest she is sometimes drained out by the choir and also by the rest of the band so that she actually loses some of the impact. This is a real shame, as the album as a whole is an incredible piece of work, much more metallic than the band to which they are most often compared, Nightwish, with the twin guitars locked in and riffing hard. They are also more downtuned and there is the feeling that this a guitar based-band first and foremost, as opposed to keyboard-based. Of course, Epica have a second singer in Mark Jansen who favours death growls as opposed to the 'proper' singing of Marco Hietala, so there is a very different feel between the two acts.

In many ways I actually prefer Epica, as the intensity is palpable: here is a band that are all firing on all cylinders, rushing to the end, taking no prisoners. Sure, I would have preferred to have Simone's vocals higher in the mix, but perhaps I'm being just a little picky? This is a symphonic metal band who concentrate on the latter more than the former, and that's just fine with me.Yes, they slow it down here and there, but it is when they are at full gallop with the band playing hard and the choir singing their hearts out, and Simone striving to rise above it all, that they are at their very best

Latest members reviews

4 stars While I did enjoy Epica's last album 'Requiem For The Indifferent', I did think that it was the bands weakest albums. I did like the change in direction that the band where attempting, but I did feel that while they did write some brilliant tracks, there was a mad amount of filler. But now the ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#1189789) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, June 9, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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