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

IN THE REGION OF THE SUMMER STARS

The Enid

 

Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 167 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progpositivity
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Mention the description "60's rock band pioneers orchestral rock music" through extensive use of supplementary keyboards" and even the most casual rock music fans might reply "The Moody Blues". But ask which "70's band took orchestral rock to its ultimate and logical conclusion" and they are likely to have no idea what you are talking about. Too bad. They also have no idea what they are missing. They are missing out on "THE ENID". Robert John Godfrey's band here reaches the pinnacle of orchestral rock. Quite literally, this music is more symphonic than 99.9% of everything labeled as "symphonic prog". And it is not hyperbole when I tell you that I'm not sure whether I underestimated that assessment by about one-tenth of a percent!!

Because music of this nature from a drum kit, bass guitar, electric guitar and various keyboard overdubs is so unheard of, reviewers often seek out comparisons such as "film soundtrack" and "classical music". While these reference points are certainly useful and valid, I'd like to take a moment to call to your attention a couple ways in which THE ENID significantly differ from both of the aforementioned.

Film (Soundtrack)

Film soundtrack music is often much more incidental than it is expositional. This is to say that mood is of primary concern, far more than melodic invention or development. Removed from its pictures, much film music is unbearably tiresome. (This is not always true, but it often is.) In contradistinction, THE ENID's pieces are very concerned with melodic motifs and developments of those motifs. At times, counterpoint is employed to "sneak" the motif in again while a new one is introduced. This is high caliber composition that would be somewhat wasted on a soundtrack. (Some soundtrack compositions employ such subtlety, but not many.) This music unabashedly demands the attention of the listener, crashing in with loud guitars, synthesizers and drums whenever and however it wishes. It is "foreground" music, not background music. It was composed with the intention that one would "listen" intently and musically.

Classical

Despite its rich sophistication, this music is generally a little more melodically accessible than most classical music. Its 'payoff' comes to the listener a little faster. Rhythmically speaking, the rock drum kit provides opportunity for a power and immediacy unique to rock music. In my experience, on the rare occasions when orchestras attempt to integrate rock instrumentation, they rarely "mic" the drum-kit adequately, resulting in a very "watered down" presence. Not so with THE ENID. Timpani style drumming is used when appropriate. But when the rock drummer rocks, we get to hear the drum kit. When the guitarist cranks out a powerful lead, we are allowed to feel the power.

Lest I leave the impression that classical music are the only elements here, there are plenty of rock and jazz elements melded to the orchestral throughout the album. Atmospheric chimes and electronic synthesizers give way to a beautifully accessible guitar melody line on "The Reaper". On the final tracks, weepy guitar breezes over a rhythm section that could have been lifted straight from a Steely Dan album. A majestic rock guitar solo ensues. Mild orchestral beauty seems to prevail when suddenly a powerful electric guitar, bass guitar and rock drum combo emerge to make their presence more mightily known. Truth be told, when rock elements emerge like this, they are more compellingly powerful to me than the hyperactive exhibitionism of thrash or speed metal (although admittedly not as sinister) due to their dramatic contrast with the elements that preceded it.

This is a challenging album only in as much as it invites the listener to expand their musical horizons. Some rock fans simply do not want to learn to appreciate truly orchestral and symphonic music from a rock band. Whether one personally enjoys this musical style is secondary, however, to the undeniable fact of how monumental this achievement is for a rock band.

progpositivity | 5/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Share this THE ENID review

>

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.02 seconds