CD Reviews

Enchant - 'The Great Divide' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 24, 2014    
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Made up of eight splendid tracks.

It’s been too long since we last had a new Enchant album; eleven years passing between ‘Tug Of War’ and these new songs. Reading their artist page on their label website, it says the band is working on an album, expected for release in early 2013. Oops! Eighteen months later… Actually I believe part of the delay was attributable to vocalist Ted Leonard joining Spock’s Beard; however the pertinent question is whether the wait has been worth it. I am delighted to say that it’s an emphatic yes!

Made up of eight splendid tracks of which one, ‘Transparent Man’, is a candidate for my “Track Of The Year”; that’s saying something given the strength of the competition.

The band has remained true to the sound we have come to know and love (Melodic Prog Metal) and as such one can expect some staccato, choppy riffs, massive hooks, strong melodies, lovely keyboard accentuations, drumming that doesn’t just keep the beat and a slew of incredible choruses.

‘Circles’ features all of these ingredients and is a terrific opener; the soloing is incisive and far from gratuitous while the change of feel in the middle is inspired.

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‘Within An Inch’ is driven by a circular guitar motif but underneath the growling bass and keyboard wash is wonderful. Like all the tracks here, the chorus has stuck in my head and Bill Jenkins’ synth solo is rather special as is the switch to a quieter, piano led passage; these boys certainly know how to construct and arrange a track. The big finish has drummer Sean Flanegan playing like a man possessed.

The title track isn’t the most immediate of the songs on offer but repeated listens unlocks its delights. ‘All Mixed Up’ is both the heaviest (at its outset and on the chorus at any rate) and shortest of the tracks yet remains melodic, although the outro is a tad repetitive.

The aforementioned ‘Transparent...’ is six minutes of excellence. The vocal arrangement is superb with Leonard’s clean and treated styles answering each other. The chorus is simple but brilliant and the bridge is a delight; Doug Ott’s guitar soloing fits perfectly.

‘Life In A Shadow’ mixes easy going verses with a harder edged chorus very effectively while penultimate track, ‘Deserve To Feel’ has another of those choruses that is unforgettable and the bridge mixes things up nicely. The instrumental interplay at the end tops it all off splendidly. The album closes with ‘Here And Now’ with Ed Platt’s bass setting the scene. Leonard’s restrained vocal delivery on the verse shows his versatility with a hint of Elvis Costello.

Welcome back Enchant, let’s hope it’s not another eleven years.

Gary Marshall

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