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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Enid

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Live at Claret Hall Farm & Stonehenge 1984

Review by Gary Hill

This new live set from the Enid is quite good. It includes two different shows on two separate DVDs. Even though there is some shared material, but concerts are actually quite different. I’d say that I tend to prefer the second one, although there is some audio hum during a lot of it. This set also includes a DVD of both shows. They are both shot pretty well, but the video is a little dark on the second one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc: 1

             
Live at Claret Hall Farm
                             
Fand

There is a mysterious, dramatic building tone as this comes in and works forward. It’s powerful and yet melodic and fairly mellow. It is progressive rock, but also quite symphonic in nature. That second part is particularly true as strings and such grow over the top and begin to take control. This gets involved and has quite a few changes. Unfortunately there is an interview around the five minute mark while the music playing deep down in the background. The interview ends around the seven minute mark, and we are back to just music as the piece keeps evolving. The piece has some really symphonic things going on as it continues. Yet, they are also electronic in nature. Leading into the nine minute mark it builds out to some serious rocking music. There are some familiar melodies built into this number. It’s a full on symphonic prog rocker. Around the twelve minute mark it drops to an electronic movement that makes me think of Vangelis. It moves forward slowly and gradually building just a little as it does so. Again, Vangelis is a valid reference and the piece is quite classical in nature. That kind of element holds the piece for the rest of its duration, getting quite powerful at times. It gets downright bombastic, but in a very symphonic way, at the end. The instrumental runs over 19 and a half minutes.

Raindown
Strange keyboard elements start this and build forward. At times it feels like some kind of space age whale song. Around the minute and a half mark it gets more rocking elements into the mix, but it’s still weird. Vocals come in as that pushes forward. This sounds a bit like King Crimson to me. There is a psychedelic rock bit beyond that, though. This is crazy stuff, but somehow quite compelling. It’s really intense and catchy, while being extreme.
Jessica
Starting mellow but getting into more rocking territory, this is classically inspired rock that makes me think of Queen quite a bit. It drops back to a mellower part that has an old world vibe as it continues, but then rises back upward. There are definitely recognizable melodic elements here and even when this rocks, it’s still quite classical in nature. It drops to a mellower, almost psychedelic section in the last quarter that takes the piece to its close. It’s an effective instrumental with enough changes to create variety.
Then There Were None
With weird vocals at the start, this piece has just atmospherics there. It works forward with a theatrical kind of bouncy psychedelic turned prog sound. It’s a bit odd, but quite effective. There are parts here that again make me think of Queen a bit. It drops back for a mellower melodic movement at the end.
Letter from America
This cut is quite theatrical. It’s a bit bouncy. It seems like a more psychedelic and symphonic version of the theatrical side of early Genesis. It’s  odd, but also quite cool.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Trippy electronics serve as the backdrop for a spoken reading. That section ends a little past the one minute mark and a more mainstream symphonic prog jam takes over. To me it feels a bit like Procol Harum as this section works forward. It moves toward more rocking territory from there. Some of the guitar elements in that section are a bit Brian May like. The cut keeps shifting and changing. There are parts that have a bit of a Genesis vibe to me. Overall, though, this is like great symphonic prog rock blended with psychedelia. There is some killer rock guitar built into this beast at times.
Encore
This instrumental is classical and also jazz oriented. It’s still all symphonic prog. It’s more mainstream than some of the rest of the music here.
Disc: 2
                      
Live at Stonehenge 1984
             
Jessica

This instrumental is part prog, part classical and all cool. It is effective, cohesive and rather mainstream.

Then There Were None
Weird spoken stuff with a lot of gibberish starts this thing. It gets the music around the minute mark. In many ways this feels like a cross between Genesis and Queen to me. Still, it has more psychedelia and classical music than that description might convey. There is a long spoken thing at the end of this.
Judgement
As the drums bring this into being, it makes me think of Holst’s “Mars.”  It grows out from to a symphonically tinged prog rock jam. This instrumental is dynamic and ever shifting and changing. It’s also effective throughout.
Flood
The sounds of waves start this. That’s appropriate given the title. Keyboards join after that to start moving the piece forward. They take this instrumental through a number of changes. It’s another that’s electronic and quite potent. It’s symphonic prog for certain, but it has a number of flavors of it. It’s quite classical.
Under the Summer Stars
This is a fairly short (compared to some of the rest) instrumental that is very classical in nature. It’s a powerful piece.
Adieu
A mellow and rather atmospheric piece, for some reason this one makes me think of Genesis just a bit, too. It’s more symphonic than that would indicate. An instrumental, it feels a lot like soundtrack music, really.
Summer
Theatrical and quite symphonic, this little rocker is quite a cool jam. It’s not a big change from the rest here, but just good stuff. It definitely has some psychedelia and even direct references to the Beatles.
Letter from America
Somehow this rocker seems more effective and mainstream here than on the first disc. This is really one of my favorites here.
Wild Thing
Yes, this is a cover of the classic song. They put in a rather normal version, but include a cool space psychedelic bit mid-track to change things.
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