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Epica: The Quantum Enigma

Symphonic metallers embrace the uncertainty principle

The strange world of sub-atomic physics is an unexpected choice of subject matter for these Dutch symphonic metallers to tackle, but this is a band that still know their strengths and stick to them, hence the videogame fight-music instrumental that opens the album (apparently a staple of the genre), and heavy use of beauty-and-the-beast duelling vocals.

Regardless, they balance The Quantum Enigma’s symphonic elements with a pleasingly brutal low end, as on The Essence Of Silence, where Simone Simons’s ascension up the scale is interrupted by a wrecking ball of guttural growls and heavy riffing that are a welcome reprieve from all the orchestral drama.

Victims Of Contingency has an apocalyptic feel, while Chemical Insomnia sees Simone ditch her honey-sweet vocal style for a shatteringly powerful performance, and Reverence has the best chorus on the album.

While it could rely a little less on symphonic metal clichés, this is arguably the band’s most complete-sounding album to date, and will certainly give fans something to reflect on.