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The Enid - Aerie Faerie Nonsense (1983) CD (album) cover


The Enid


Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 118 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Other reviewers have claimed that this isn't really a progressive rock album at all but rather a modern classical music indulgence, primarily on the part of keyboardist Robert John Godfrey. There is some merit to that argument but the rock elements of this music do come through albeit not all that often or strongly (come to think of it, mostly just on "Childe Roland").

Anyone already familiar with the album has probably already stopped reading at this point unless they are wondering which side of the fence this review will land on. I'll make that clear by saying I like this record and that the band was every bit in the spirit of progressive music when they decided to take this Romantic/theatrical approach to a record that sounds every bit like its being performed live in a cozy and acoustically-balanced hall or pavilion in some tastefully gentrified downtown urban setting on a late autumn Saturday evening. Get the picture?

Like several of the early Enid pieces there are multiple versions of this recording out there, including at least one re-recording and one or more remasters. I'll speak mostly to the original.

"Mayday Galliard" is possibly the most controversial track on the album in terms of its appeal and general 'rock' credibility. And to be fair it isn't a progressive rock song at all; its more like modern classical with more than a hint of Wagner but not quite that level of dramatic panache. I love the work but it hardly belongs in a progressive rock collection. "Ondine" is more of the same although more subdued; here again Godfrey is the main character as he creates virtually an entire orchestra on his keyboards.

Like I mentioned earlier "Childe Roland" has its rock elements, particularly the percussion and rather simple rhythm but once again with more than enough classical elements to blend in well with the rest of the album.

The flagship of the album is the epic "Fand", 'epic' of course meaning that it's a really long song. The original version runs just short of eighteen minutes while a couple of remakes go well over twenty and one approaches a half-hour in length. I haven't heard those so am not sure what they add to the original, but I find it to be an engaging piece of music though certainly not something I would normally associate with prog rock. I've listened to it several times looking for hints of rock or even contemporary music but there really are none to be found. This is classical music to be sure, just done using rock instrumentation.

I'm on the fence with 'Aerie Faerie Nonsense', as are apparently many fans and was the band's record label when it released. The disc was deleted almost immediately from EMI's catalog, and has only now finally been properly re-released from the original masters after numerous and mostly poor quality reissues over the past thirty years (not to mention Godfrey's own re-recording of the songs in 1983).

In the end I have to say I like this record, although it's certainly not something that will ever spend a lot of time in rotation on my stereo. I'm going to say it rates three stars out of five as a solid addition to any collection, and a fairly high three at that ? more like 3.499. If you are a prog rock fan who is also open to classical music you may well find this appealing (Rick Wakeman solo fans take note); otherwise you may want to avoid it in favor of the band's 1980s catalog.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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