Special report: First impressions of Epica’s upcoming album “The Quantum Enigma”
On Saturday the 15th of February Epica held a special listening session for their upcoming album “The Quantum Enigma”. Livereviewer was lucky enough to be among the very few to attend the listening session.
The location for the listening session was the same recording studio that the band used to record the album: Sandlane Recording Facilities. After a nice welcome with the band and some refreshments the Dutch and Belgian members of the press were the first to be allowed into the recording studio. First the band gave a short introduction, telling us how different the creation of the new album had been. The band had said goodbye to their long-time producer Sascha Paeth, though he did help out with some parts, and had joined up with Joost van den Broek. Whereas before the band members created a lot of stuff on their own, this time it was one big group effort. The long break due to Simone’s pregnancy allowed the members to fully recharge and when they entered the studio they continuously worked together on all the parts. Will this make any difference? Oh hell yes, it does!
I came to the listening session expecting to hear a good album, but without being surprised too much. Yet as soon as the album opener “Originem” started I felt that I was listening to something special. I tried to keep a big smile off of my face, yet failed. The intro kicked right off and laid down a very ‘heroic’ sound, almost like a kind of soundtrack to a grand tale, although without it taking over the song. It was all for the benefit of the song itself. And listening to the rest of the album it was the same feeling that often came back to me. The album is bombastic (loads of choirs!) and very powerful, yet never too overwhelming, never feeling like some parts were just there to support other parts. Everything was there to support the song itself, the continuous teamwork of the band paying off.
Despite being in the game for so long and having released so many albums, Epica have managed to make this album sound very ‘refreshing’, exciting and new. Whenever I got too comfortable during a song there would be something that made me raise my eyebrows in surprise. There could be so much more that I could say about the album, but this is just a first impression so I’ll leave it at a few teases.
All I can say is that the fans will completely love the new album. It’s a cliché to say that a new album is a band’s best, so to avoid that I will just say that the new album is very, very special. Epica will not be done for many years to come!
At the same session I was lucky enough to have an interview (or rather a little chat, as I’m too much of a novice in real interviewing 😉 )with Isaac Delahaye where he was kind to give some more information about the album and current events. Check it out soon on http://wp.livereviewer.com/ !
Text by Robert Popovic