Qantice, on the surface, appears to be just another power metal band whose destiny lies in the symphonic exploration of fantasy and science fiction. This is fine, as there is an audience exactly for this niche genre. This French band, however, seems to have gone above and beyond what is expected of a power metal band. Qantice’s first album was complemented by the science fiction novel “Qantice, la Cosmocinésie ou les Remuements des Mondes” in 2012, which continued the story heard in the band’s first album The Cosmocinesy. Yes, this band did what so many people dream about: A fully published novel to sit alongside their record. Full escapist fantasy, engage.
I wish I could tell if The Phantonauts, the band’s second album, is in someway connected with the work of the first novel and debut album. Since everything about the band seems to be in French, I am not certain. Since Qantice’s first novel was co-authored by its guitarist, I am hazarding a guess it may be still related. I only step with caution as the band switched vocalists between the first and second record leading to a noticeable, but not world changing, transformation. The Phantonauts also sees the cast jump from three to five members, leading to a fuller, more distinct sound. Whatever changes the band made from the first to second record has been for the better as Qantice’s sound is even more vibrant than their over the top debut.
To be short, the Phantonauts was undeniably entertaining. With that said, I should say I personally love melodramatic power metal that croons and rocks and belts to the nine moons that encircle this planet. Aside from this melodic fetish is an album that excels in production and concept. The layers and dialogue between the instrumentation and vocals are exquisite and reminiscent to the work of other story obsessed power metal bands like Rhapsody. Additionally, the role of violin within the mix is something that makes The Phanonauts special. For anyone who couldn’t care less about a large backstory, Qantice offers a near pristine and clean power metal record. For those who go bonkers over albums with a complicated narrative, I literally cannot think of more than 3 other equals.
Album: The Phantonauts
Released: March 12th, 2014
Score: 7/9 Hammers