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Epica: The Quantum Enigma

The Dutch metallers’ lofty sixth album.

Those who dismiss rock music as shallow should prepare to consume vast quantities of humble pie. The sixth full-length album from these female-fronted Dutch symphonic-metallers is based on “the most mind-bending scientific proof in all of quantum physics; [namely] that our physical environment is directly influenced by our consciousness”. And this from the band who, for their recent 10th anniversary concert, called upon a 70-piece orchestra and full choir.

Musically, The Quantum Enigma juxtaposes speaker-busting cinematic-style bombast (The Second Stone, Victims Of Contingency) with tributaries of serene, introspective relief (The Fifth Guardian, The Canvas Of Life).

Their ace-in-the-pack, the flame haired Simone Simons, remains nothing less than a mezzo-soprano goddess. However – and it’s a sizeable caveat, this – for many prog-minded listeners the growled vocals and screams of guitarist Mark Jansen will represent nothing less than a steaming great turd amid what’s otherwise an exquisitely presented banquet.

For all their lofty aspirations, Epica really are still a gothic heavy metal band with symphonic ambitions, rather than the reverse.