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The Enid - In the Region Of The Summer Stars (1984) CD (album) cover

IN THE REGION OF THE SUMMER STARS (1984)

The Enid

 

Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 199 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sheets of Blue
5 stars 1976: Progressive rock was nearing its final stages of life, with the punk scene growing ever larger, taking its firm grasp not only on Britain, but on the music industry as well. Acts such as The Sex Pistols proclaimed their hatred for groups such as Pink Floyd, and the ideas of progressive rock in general. What does The Enid have to do with all of this? Well, The Enid has been said to be a 'marmite' band, you either love them or you hate them. This, along with founder Robert John Godfrey's dismissal of the label 'progressive rock', but rather a group with a heavy classical influence, helped the band avoid being outed as just another progressive rock band.

In The Region of the Summer Stars fully embraces this influence, with hints of Brahms and Rachmaninov all over the album. This influence not only gained them a cult following, but respect from the punk-dominated music scene as well. In the Region of the Summer Stars, a concept album, follows the writings of Charles Stewart and the tarot cards. However, the concept focused on the Major Arcana, or trump cards.

Fool'The Falling Tower, the opening piece, takes several cues from Bartok, introducing the listener with an eerie piano overture, only for guitars to intervene with a Middle Eastern melody building the track up, backed by well-timed piano interludes and impressive percussive work. To great effect is classical music infused with rock elements, helping Godfrey and The Enid stand out amongst their peers.

Death, The Reaper, shows a harsher side to The Enid, with a full blown orchestral sound taking the helm. The Lovers, a romantic piece, showcases Godfrey's skills as a pianist, with great use of harmonics and melody, and also proves just how deserving Godfrey is to be up there with the greats like Vangelis and Rick Wakeman. The Devil showcases the guitarists Francis Lickerish and Stephen Stewart, playing rather frippian parts with many odd effects being used on the track as well.

The Sun begins a suite of sorts, with a relaxing trumpet solo bringing forth the calm before the storm. The Last Judgment creeps in, with a percussive introduction similar to Holst's Mars. One by one, the instruments come in, building up further and further to a massive crescendo, led by the chants of "Dies Irae", the climax of the album. In the Region of the Summer Stars, the finale, creates a sense of peace and joy, with a twin guitar section picks up the theme of the piece, shifting it around various instruments, such as the flutes giving a vibrant feeling to the track. Halfway through the tracks appears a power chord followed by a magnificent solo, before segueing back into the main theme, gently fading out not too long afterwards.

With a challenging concept such as the tarot cards, In The Region of the Summer Stars manages to execute the concept flawlessly, showing that progressive rock still had a place in a punk-dominated scene, even if Godfrey dismissed the progressive labeling, as well as not being that well known group outside Europe. In the Region of the Summer Stars is something worth listening to, not only for its challenging concept, but for its timeless music as well.

Sheets of Blue | 5/5 |

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