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The Enid - The Spell CD (album) cover


The Enid


Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 44 ratings

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The Mentalist
4 stars "The Spell is a musical allegory in which the seasons are used to depict the cyclic nature of all things" That's how Robert John Godfrey sums up the meaning behind this enchanting yet dark album. The first track 'Winter: The Key' opens with a series of fanfares, each one culminating in the "Dresden Amen", a cadence used to great effect in Wagner's finest Opera (and greatest piece of music ever written) 'Parsifal' -- an opera which also touches on the theme of "the cyclic nature of all things". After the fanfares have died away, a broad, romantic melody slowly unfolds. This is classic Enid; full of lush keyboard and guitar sounds combining to create beautiful orchestral string textures that ebb and flow and crash like waves upon the shore. 'Winter' soon gives way to 'Spring' and once again it's classic Enid. Some interesting odd meters on this track which soon develops into one of those strange, mutant, sardonic Viennese waltz- type hybrids that The Enid (and Gustav Mahler) exceled at. 'Summer' is a lengthy track with some interesting vocal harmonies, and a nice guitar solo played over a chord sequence reminiscent of Pink Floyd's 'Great gig in the sky' from 'Dark side of the moon'. 'Autumn' opens with the haunting sound of the great "funeral drum", an obvious allusion to Mahler's unfinished 10th symphony. This track is hauntingly beautiful and, like the opening track, uses an exquisite blend of guitars and keyboards to create rich orchestral textures. The last two tracks take the form of short songs. 'Elephants never die' features the medieval plainchant 'Dies irae' used on the 'Last Judgement' from their first album. The words 'Dies irae' are also sung to an irregular staccato 7/8 rhythm; the very same rhythm Benjamin Britten used for his setting of the 'Dies irae' in his mighty 'War Requiem'. The last song 'The sentimental side of Mrs James' is a song of consolation written for a family who lost their son. The bonus track on this CD is a glorious live version of 'The Song Of Fand' recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London in 1979. The Spell is an excellent album. The reason I'm not going to give it "five" is because I prefer the sound of the old analogue instruments used on their first four albums to some of the digital sounds used on this and subsequent albums. So it's not a criticism of the music; just the sounds. Therefore I give it ****. (but the music's worth *****)
The Mentalist | 4/5 |


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