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Enchant - Juggling 9 Or Dropping 10 CD (album) cover

JUGGLING 9 OR DROPPING 10

Enchant

 

Heavy Prog

3.67 | 154 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars I bought this album on a whim, knowing nothing of the band whatsoever, judging it solely on the cover art. The drive from the mall to my home then was forty-five minutes, and so I got ample time to sample the offerings presented here. What an excellent and unexpected purchase! All five musicians of the band work together tightly but at the same time stand out as individuals. I especially like Ed Platt's bass playing, which is never ostentatious, but cannot go unnoticed. Ted Leonard's voice goes from soft to prevailing, as it will through the album. I appreciate his voice because it's always clean, allowing the listener to very clearly hear the lyrics. It's sad that Douglas Ott is such an overlooked guitarists, and while he can certainly shred, he does not let a hundred notes a second dominate the album. Paul Craddick's drumming is superb throughout. Mike Geimer, the keyboardist, is the least heard member, I think, but his role in filling out the sound is extremely important.

"Paint the Picture" With a powerful guitar and deep bass, the album gets off to a fantastic and strong start, and that synthesizer is like an exclamation point that runs through the whole introduction until the music pulls back, leaving acoustic guitar and a great bass riff. The singing is pleasant from start to finish, and right from the beginning one can hear how proficient the musicians are together. It's a great opener, and it always makes me eager to hear the rest of the album.

"Rough Draft" One of my favorites on this album, "Rough Draft" has a commanding introduction, adding a ninth to basic power chords to produce an interesting progression. The lyrics are voiced over a clever bass riff played in 5/4. The lyrics are brilliant (as they will often be), this time reflecting on death, and how we should be mindful that how we live today will influence how we are remembered tomorrow.

"What to Say" What to say is right- what can I say about this one without running out of superlatives? I cannot listen to this song without the skin all over my arms standing up in thousands of bumps. The lyrics describe the harrowing prospect of a father passing on and leaving his family behind- what can he say to his son that will stick with the child? The vocal melody changes from line to line almost, which keeps the song fresh. Then the chorus happens- Leonard's voice explodes into some of the most soulful singing these ears have ever heard. Ott delivers a short but impressive guitar solo before Leonard returns to the microphone for a terse bridge and another chilling chorus. In the final moments, the line is repeated: "Don't let the memory fade."

"Bite My Tongue" More of a straightforward rock song, this one is less memorable than the three that came before, but is still a very good song, and with the exception of the Spanish-style music toward the end, it fits the tenor of the rest of the album.

"Colors Fade" My personal favorite from this album, "Colors Fade" starts with acoustic instruments that blend seamlessly into a full, electric version of the same music. The acoustic guitars become electric, the bass, a chunky-sounding solid body, and the piano, a synthesizer. The bass-playing during the chorus is especially good, and Ott delivers a fiery solo. The electric instruments fade out as the song comes to a close, leaving us with the acoustic instruments from before. The lyrics discuss how everything, no matter how beautiful, eventually go away.

"Juggling Knives" What is sort of the title track starts off with funky bass and solid drumming. I don't much care for the guitar interlude, to be honest, but the vocal melody is quite good. The instrumental section contains a layer of sound and a rare synthesizer solo. Like "Bite My Tongue," the song is great, but I don't find it to be among the best here.

"Black Eyes & Broken Glass" After several rockers, Enchant plays something that starts off softer, with basic acoustic guitar and Leonard singing. There is some overpowering electric guitar during the chorus, though, and Ott's solo this time is a little plain.

"Elyse" While I never cared for the loud and raunchy guitar riff the begins this one, I have to say that this is one of my favorites from this album. Everything else about this song is exceptional; now that I am a parent I can savor the lyrics with even greater insight. The words describe a daughter from the perspective of a father, and do so in a most poetic way. The heavy music is a stark contrast to the delicate lyrics; Ott shreds almost throughout his solo and gives his whammy bar a little workout. I especially like the vocal harmonies here.

"Shell of a Man" In all honesty, "Shell of a Man" is a song I could have done without. The riffs and vocal melody don't seem to go together, and Leonard's voice is too low in the mix and grating anyway. The lyrics are subpar, and the music is bland. This time around, Ott's guitar solo is nothing special. It's a hard song to get into, and worse, it drags on for over six minutes.

"Broken Wave" Good, but not stellar, this song does have a good clean guitar riff once again in 5/4, a time signature this band seems very comfortable working in. Overall, the song is satisfying, but some parts stand out more than others, such as the chorus.

"Traces" The band finally slows things down and becomes quiet with this jazz-tinged song. Once more, the melody is very creative and highly enjoyable, particularly that of the chorus. I do believe the middle section takes too long to build, and during that time, Leonard's voice can become unwelcome, but in reality, this segment is great opportunity for Craddick to show what he's made of on the throne, and Ott takes one final chance to let it rip on the electric guitar.

"Know That" I have heard this method on several albums I really enjoy, that of reprising part of an earlier song acoustically and ending the album that way. It's especially effective here, emphasizing the outstanding and emotional song, "What to Say." What beauty in a mere ninety seconds!

Epignosis | 5/5 |

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