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




Heavy Prog

3.67 | 153 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In the tradition of the American Way of progressive rock, Enchant's style is a perfect mix of progressiveness and rock, technique but with restrain, brilliant compositions but within a song-oriented approach; their songs ROCK before they PROG (let's say that's a verb here), their musicians play for the song's sake rather than for showing-off's sake; their tracks are longer than the average rock tunes (at about 7 minutes) but they never reach the "epic" level, nor they pretend to.

If there's something I really like about this band is the lyrics: mostly written by then- drummer Paul Craddick or guitar-player/main composer Doug Ott, (and in latter albums by singer Ted Leonard), they deal about a lot of real-life subjects or real-life-related feelings, like the feeling a monday wakes up in a man, or the feeling that this life is a rogh draft for your epitaph. The good thing about this lyrics is that they speak about this matters but using interesting metaphores, ingenius concepts (like the aforementioned Draft) and actually rhyming verses (not that this matters that much but credit's due where it's due).

So how does this San Fransisco band sound? Well, a would put it in this simple formula: they are 60% Enchant, 30% Kansas and 10%(mostly in this album) Rush. They have their unique sound, a straight-forward rock adorned with usually clean guitars, great bass lines (good knowledge of harmony they show), lush solos. But they owe a lot to the pioneers of the American Way of Prog-rockin: their progressive-yet-song-friendly approach is much reminiscent of that of Kansas; also, they tend to use acoustic guitars in the choruses, much like in Leftoverture; and third, Ted Leonard, the singer: he has a veru good voice, and when he raises it he sound almost like Steve Walsh's clone. As I listened to Enchant before discovering Kansas, when I first heard Leftoverture I really got a confusion in my head, for I thought it was Enchant's vocalist, not Walsh, singing there. Finally, they owe something to Rush, especially in some riffs like that of the first track, Paint The Picture, which sounds very, very close to the one in the Canadian master's Xanadu. But I repeat: those are only the normal influences you can detect in mostly any band, for the main core of their sound is completely, totally their own.

This is a good, very good album, which I'd have rated higher if it didn't have two problems: one, Leonard himself. He's a terrific singer, but at times (the most mellow ones) his voice can get a little annoying, because it sounds too, well, studio-polished, too radio-friendly, and, well, I'll say it, too....boy-band-ish. Yes, only at certain moments, the otherwise fantastic singer annoys me when he reminds me of one of those factory-made singer/dancers. I prefer him at his most Walsh-ish, or better yet, at his own LEONARD. The second problem I have is with the overall song quality: after a brilliant, 5-STAR worthy star (the first 5 songs are truly amazing, and the 6th is the album's best), this record suddenly collapses into 6 really boring, worthless, rushed tracks.

So what could've been a 5 is a 3. But those, like me, who like Enchant, can dig further in their catalog for their latest album (Tug of War) adresses this problems and puts the San Fransisco-ers in the upper status of prog-rock. The album that came before that one and after the one reviewed here (Blink of an Eye) repeats the same flaws as Juggling 9: great start, mediocre ending. But that's matter for other reviews. In the end, a enjoyable album, if deeply flawed.

highlights: 1. Paint The Picture 2. Rough Draft 4. Bite My Tongue 6. Juggling Knives

Recommended for: all lovers of good prog. Specially for lovers of American Way of Prog-rockin, and also for Kansas/Steve Walsh fans. But i general, to every person that wishes to add a very entertaining and quality album to their collection.

Not recommended for: American prog-bashers, and those with problems digesting high- pitched, teen-band-sounding voices.

The T | 3/5 |


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