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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Enchant

Break

Review by Gary Hill

With Break Enchant have created a concept album that is both personal and universal. Such a dichotomy is appropriate for this band, as they seem to be experts at dual natured concepts. Indeed, few groups can make music that is both mainstream and complicated with the finesse that these guys do. The disc is a truly strong one, although there are some weak points. The only real disappointment, though is the inclusion of an unrelated and unlisted bonus number that serves as an unsatisfying conclusion to the disc. Still, Enchant's way of blending prog and prog metal, coming across as their own sound, but drawing from elements like Rush, Dream Theater and fusion, is very effective on this release. My only recommendation is to program your CD player to either play that final cut first, or skip it altogether.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Break
A dramatic balladic mode begins this, and a slow building based on those themes ensues. Then it explodes into a fast paced metallic segment for the chorus. The verse returns in the earlier style, taking it beyond where it had progressed before, only to be pushed away again by that chorus. If there were wonders as to whether the cut is prog or prog metal, a full-on prog, somewhat Genesisish bridge puts those to rest with style. This runs through and builds up to a crescendo, then the track drops back to the earlier balladic stylings. The metallic chorus eventually returns. It drops off abruptly to the sounds of the recording you get if you leave your phone off the hook. Lyrically, this one is about a break-up that serves as the catalyst for the whole drama of discovery that is this album.
King
This one comes in in a rather trademark Enchant hard prog style, a little DT, a little Rushish. It is fairly straightforward as prog goes, meaning that there are quirky riffs and changes but that the song doesn't stray too far from its opening style. It continues the lyrical story begun by "Break", the narrator calling himself the "king of tragedy". It features a brief instrumental break that is based on one awesome riff.
My Enemy
This one comes in more slow and thoughtful. The cut shifts gear for a time to a prog line that has a great percussive texture. After a time another break heralds in a short fusionish jam, then a new balladic and evocative segment hits. It gets more meaty in a metallic prog jam later. This piece keeps rebuilding and reinventing itself. An exceptionally tasty instrumental break ensues, then the cut shifts to an all new segment. This new movement at first has a texture that is much like a cross between Rush and Dream Theater, then the keyboards start a soaring process, taking it to all new heights. A new verse ensues and this one just keeps cooking. It is a definite standout piece.
Defenseless
A potent, almost soaring flourish begins this cut that touches on the horrors of addiction. It drops to a calmer segment, then begins a building on that theme. This song is testament to the band's ability to take a fairly straightforward song structure and adorn and embellish to create prog elements that increase its interest capacity.
The Lizard
This one could very easily have been done quite mainstream, but Enchant pulls lines from odd angles and in unusual rhythmic structures to shake away any mediocrity. The title refers to a deceptive person.
Surrounded
If there is such a thing as generic new prog, this cut would fit the bill. It is fairly flashy at times, but still concise. It shows strong musicality, but just doesn't rise as high as much of the CD. Still, the instrumental break is quite tasty.
In The Dark
This one starts metallic and slightly off-kilter - a bit like Rush. It drops to a more balladic style, but the chorus brings back that metallic edge. The instrumental segment later takes on fusion-oriented textures. Then the cut shifts gear to a more straightforward rocking section before it returns to the earlier more mainstream, but progish directions.
Mr. Gavel Hand
Starting off as a hard-edged rocker, this one shifts gear quickly to a more metallic prog section. It begins building on that format, It shifts later to an instrumental break that feels rather Dream Theaterish, then drops back to another more balladic movement. After building on that segment it gets more complex and intense, then turns into a killer jam that is the highlight of the number.
The Cross
Percussion begins this one, then a fairly straightforward jam takes it for a time. Next it falls into a more open and interesting rhythmic movement. It starts building from there, moving into more dramatic sections. This one is probably the most dynamic one on the CD, not staying anywhere too long as it continues to redefine itself. The lyrics are also among the strongest on show, and this is the most potent cut on the disc, making it a perfect choice for the album closer, as it ends the concept.
Extra Unlisted Cut
This is a fairly light number that just doesn't do that much. Truly, they should have left this one off to make the album stronger. It is not a bad fairly mellow prog jam, but it just takes away from the dramatic energy and consistency of the album as a whole.
 
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