No need to introduce The Enid to readers of this magazine. They have been around since the 1970s, delivered a truckload of releases and have been discussed many a time on these pages.
Even though I love classical music and symphonic progressive rock, I must admit that I have a strained relationship with The Enid's music. I think that it's sometimes brilliant (especially the piece Fand from their second album Aerie Faerie Nonsense), sometimes toe-curling pompous kitsch or even downright crap like the 1995 remix album Sundialer which I reviewed way back in time for Background Magazine. I was also less than favourable about Journey's End (2010, see review) where I noted for myself that it was “Tedious, pretentious and overblown classical-romantic-turned-bad”.
Currently the band comprises of its founder and leader Robert John Godfrey (keyboards) with Jason Ducker (guitars), Joe Payne (vocals, EWI), Max Read (vocals, keyboards, guitars), Dave Storey (drums) and Dom Tofield (orchestral percussion, bass). As far as I understand from various magazines it will be the final album for Godfrey who is about to retire (and work on other projects). I'm wondering if and how the band will continue without him. The latest album, Dust, is the final part of The Enid's latest trilogy of albums following Journey's End and Invicta (2012, see review). Well, I trashed the former and haven't bothered to listen to the latter. Let's see how this one fares.
The new disc opens with symphonic sounds, choirs and an orchestra and within the first minute I get the feeling that I'm listening to the soundtrack of a new Harry Potter movie. Not sure yet if that is a good thing. It does feature all the typical Enid twists for sure in the symphonic instrumental work and fuse this with vocals (lead and harmony) that would very much fit into a Broadway musical like Beauty And The Beast or Phantom Of The Opera.
When I say that I love classical music, I must make some qualifications. I actively loathe operetta, have a strained relationship with opera, dislike waltzes and am sceptical of some overtly romantic classical outings. Which alas is where The Enid often operates and especially on When The World Is Full the band clearly leans towards the way too romantic side with too much pathos (man, is that Ricky Martin or Enrique Iglesias singing?). Still, if you are in for this kind of stuff I presume that you will be enthusiastic about the build up to a climax of Someone Will Rise. The most interesting piece, as far as I'm concerned is Trophy. This song reminds me of Queen or even more Robby Valentine which is cool and unexpected.
Overall this won't win me over as an Enid fan. Like many other albums there are bits that I like a lot, but there are also moments that make me literally cringe. I do recognize the musicianship. They can play, they can compose, they can sing. It's just not my cup of tea, so all the criticism before is entirely me not connecting to this particular kind of music. I think people who love The Enid will enjoy this much more than me and see this as a worthy goodbye for Godfrey.
*** Carsten Busch (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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