Translation by: Gerianne
Original Text & Pictures by: Sharik “MCSharQ”
FREE GIVE-AWAY INCLUDED! READ MORE AT THE END OF THIS REVIEW!
Once every two or three years a rare pearl is released in the Female Fronted Metal scene. This appears to be the same frequency with which the band Epica releases their new albums. The band released their first record in 2003 and this year sees the release of number six. The album carries the abbreviation TQE. Unfortunately this doesn’t stand for The Quasimodo Effect, but for the much better title: The Quantum Enigma. The record will be released on the second of May 2014 and will be presented a few days earlier, on April 30 in the 013 in Tilburg.
With this new record the band has partly entered a new road. The very recognizable sound has stayed, but the tones have changed. From the first notes of opening track Originem the listener knows that this will be great! The advantage of all the records of this band is that they have a clear beginning and end. Therefore you easily flow into The Second Stone after the intro. This track is very solid with hard drums from Ariën ‘The Beast’ van Weesenbeek, a nice solo by Isaac Delahaye and the beautiful clean vocals from Simone Simons. It will be a great opener for the new live shows, not messing about, but going full force right away.
The third track on the album The Essence of Silence was previously released by means of a lyric video. The song hit a chord with fans worldwide right away and also created some new fans. The track is hard, starting with grunts and has found a great new balance with regards to how loud the band can go. This is bound to be a fan favorite on the upcoming tour. Victims of Contigency continues this newfound hard sound with a double bass of ‘The Beast’. The song is loud, but the balance is near perfect here as well. With the choirs, strong grunts by Mark Jansen and again some great vocals by Simone this is one of my favorite tracks.
The fifth track on the record is Sense Without Sanity and this is one of the longer tracks. Previous releases had three or four long tracks on the album, this time it’s two. This one makes it to nearly eight minutes and contains all the well-known parts of Epica. It has a quiet part in the middle, a no nonsense part after, nice melodies on keys and guitar and a nice spoken voice.
Unchain Utopia (the new single, available from 4-4) is a track that would do nicely as a single if they made a radio-edit. The song is really catchy, but not in an annoying way. With a choir and a nice rhythm it is easy to go along with the beat. It is even possible to do a happy dance to this! After this song a very special track starts. If you hear this for the first time, you get a sudden craving for Asian food. The sounds are wordly and authentic, but the question remains why this track called The Fifth Guardian is here and during which part of the live show we will hear it. After three minutes this track shows how well it fits together with Chemical Insomnia. This track has a really high level and shows that Epica has outgrown every other band. Who doesn’t believe in this band after this track should be ashamed. It is one of the strongest tracks on the album and will sound great live.
The album seems to get better and better, which shows a great build up. Before some lesser tracks would be near the end, but not with this album. Because number nine Reverence – Living in the Heart is simply a really great song as well. The keyboard playing of Coen ‘F******’ Janssen is fabulous and his best work yet. All through the album his strength is shown and sometimes only after a few spins which makes it that much stronger. The presence of the choir is much stronger as well without it becoming annoying. The bass in this song is more present than before. This might have been the reason for Rob’s injury, because it is fierce!
After this it appears to be time for the ballad of the album, Omen. But, true to form, after a few seconds the track changes and goes full force. The choirs are all around and there is a great balance between hard drums and vocals. This is a real sing a long! The only strange thing is: I keep hearing Simone sing ‘mcsharq’ instead of ‘make sure’. Oh well, some self-promoting can’t hurt.
Now it really is time for the ballad! Canvas of Life is an awesome track that will make the whole audience quiet. It is a quiet moment on the album. Time for Simone and Coen to shine and their collaboration is once again beautiful. However this ballad fades into a soft rock track too. The calm sounds of Isaac’s blue guitar make for a dreamy moment.
Before the end is near, Natural Corruption is not one to miss. This song reminds the listener of pirates and has a great flow. The rhythm is really nice and takes you away on a fast and powerful pace. This is a real build up to the finale.
The final track of The Quantum Enigma is also the title track. Also called Kingdom of Heaven Part II. It has the same feeling as number one and with a length of twelve minutes it is the longest track on the album. The intro of the song lasts near a minute and a half, which makes it a great end track for the new tour. One last blast and then a few minutes to take a breath for the encore. Once more give it all you’ve got. Drums, guitars, bass, synths, vocals and choir, everything gels together for an epic high. The vocal lines of front woman Simone are so catchy you almost forget it really is the last song of the album. Thankfully the repeat button exists!
The Quantum Enigma is one of the strongest Epica albums yet. The balance is great and it could easily become a classic. The number of fans has risen the last few years and after the Retrospect show this is a true new beginning. The old Epica is left behind, the new one is ready for an even bigger future!
The album will be released as several different versions and is on pre-sale in the webshop. Do you want the full album, including the instrumental an acoustic songs? Get your hands on the ear-book version. Congratulations Mark, Simone, Coen, Arien, Rob en Isaac with this great record! May many more follow!
This time MCSharQ will give away 1 free copy of the new Epica album! (when it will be released)
Do you want to win!? Go to http://www.mcsharq.nl and like the page(HOERAY THERE IS A LIKE BUTTON FROM NOW ON!) AND POST A REACTION ON THIS BLOG! That easy!
(the dutch and english version will count as one, so dont react if you already did)
02-04-2014 is the end date of this so react in time and share it with your friends!
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**By populair demand this was the was first english re-write! did you like it!? Let me know! and maybe we will do it more often here on mcsharq.nl! **