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

IN THE REGION OF THE SUMMER STARS

The Enid

Symphonic Prog


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simondippie@a
5 stars If you want this album be sure to get the original BUK records release as it is far superior to the cd reissue which has half the album re-recorded without Francis on guitar. As for the music, I can guarantee that this album will keep you silent and attentive throughout!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#25863)
Posted Sunday, January 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars A stunning album that combines orchestral arrangement with heavy rock, it is totally anthemic. Any band that can move from the beautiful piano of The Lovers to the Guitar Heavy The Devil and not lose either your interest or delight is never going to fail. Unfortunately it was a case of wrong place wrong time as punk swept this away, the fact that The Enid had a punk attitude meant little. My brother saw them at reading and turned me on to them whereupon we followed them throughout 78 and 79 climaxing in wonderful gigs at the Marquee to "celebrate" Charles and Dis wedding! But back to this album it is a joy to sit and hear it in one listen and as the album finishes put the buggar back on again!

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Send comments to Chriz (BETA) | Report this review (#25864)
Posted Saturday, February 07, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well this is one of the most surprising albums by The ENID, the most underrated band from the UK, able to create a personal style regarding of the symphonic orchestrations and their theatrical acts as well, which represented an important reference for a lot of progressive bands all over the world, in the late seventies/early eighties. This is the reason for which I like to give this work the maximum score; otherwise it is not the only one!!

Highly recommended!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#25866)
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would like to add my voice to the other reviewers' and without reservation praise this album as a masterpiece of originality, construction and execution, which deserves a place among classics such as Selling England By The Pound, In The Court Of The Crimson King, Brain Salad Surgery, Spectral Mornings or Close To The Edge. This is absolutely quintessential symphonic progressive rock, with very strong influences from the Romantic era of classical music. At times it swells to Wagnerian and Mahlerian proportions, and at times settles into quiet contemplative moods of Rachmaninov. The album features very memorable thematic material, which is restated in a true symphonic manner throughout the album, making it a satisfying listen as a whole. However, this album has a stronger rock element than other Enid albums that were to follow. The CD version that I have just bought features crystal clear production, which despite the complexity of the arrangements, manages to bring out the instruments. The album has a certain playfulness, despite the "seriousness" of the concept, and I have to add that the guitar work is reminiscent of Steve Hackett... Genesis fans will gobble the stuff up and ask for more!

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Send comments to EMinkovitch (BETA) | Report this review (#25867)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The CD reissue of the original Buk Records vinyl LP has limp, lifeless re-recordings of the best tracks (maybe all of the tracks; as soon as I listened to the two tracks I really liked, I didn't bother with the rest). The bonus tracks were uniformly mediocre. Fortunately, I found a copy of the LP at the Austin Record Covention. I've been trying to sell the CD for years, but I still haven't been able to unload it!!!! The two tracks worth hearing are "The Sun", which is marred by an overblown ending, and the title track, which sounds like a great lost Hackett-era Genesis instrumental track. Other than that, you've got some blatant rip-offs of familiar classical themes and pomp-rock cliches. Three stars for the LP.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#25868)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an excellent album by one of the most underrated groups. It's the ultimate symphonic album with very subtle textures, complex compositions and memorable themes. There is a big classical and soundtrack influence in the music. I can hear a lot of similarity to RACHAMNINOF, IVES, BARTOK etc. but I think there are no quotations. There are a few heavier moments but the overall atmosphere is romantic. I have just the re-recorded CD version. I don't find it by any means cold. There's so much dynamics and deep emotions in the music. The LP version is supposed to be even better but the band had to re-record it, because EMI refused to release it or letting the band have the original tapes. They also had to use alternate titles and a new cover.

"Fool" is a misterious intro with piano intro, trumpet solo and atmospheric sounds.

"The Tower of Babel" is an energetic track with a galloping rhythm. Melodies and harmonies are sometimes similar to Bartok's folk explotations.

"The Reaper" is a darker track with a lot of dynamics. It's similar to soundtrack music.

"The Loved Ones" is a gentle romantic piece in the style of Rachmaninof.

"The Demon King" is a darker piece with dissonant but lively melodies. It shows Godfrey as a knowledgeable composer.

"Pre-Dawn/Sunrise" has a sublime trumpet intro. The piece starts dreamy and pastoral and finishes with a majestic finale.

"The Last Day/The Flood" is a piece built on a bolero rhythm. It has a similar aproach as Ravel's "Bolero". The main theme is presented in different instrumentations and variations with increasing dynamics. A great range of moods. At the end we hear the trumpet theme from "Fool" that serves as a link to the next track.

"Under The Summer Stars/Adieu" is a piece based on two main themes. First theme is the danceable flute intro and the second theme is presented with a majestic two-voiced guitar melody. Again we can hear a lot of variations on themes with interesting transitions and good developement.

"Rverbations" is a bonus track. It's in a different style and closer to VANGELIS. A long moody ambient piece. Rather lifeless but it's a bonustrack anyway.

Conclusion: Such a perfect fusion of classical and rock is rarely heard. This is a symphonic prog masterpiece and anyone interested in this genre should check it out!

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Send comments to terramystic (BETA) | Report this review (#25869)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
prog-zilla@ya
5 stars Now here is a masterpiece. Rock music never came closer to classical than this. A perfect blend of rock and classical forms. Grandiose at times, reflective and moody at other times, this album moves through a range of textures and colors. Breathtaking.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#25870)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Reading the many reviews on Prog Archives about this album I noticed that one person concluded that the CD reissue of "In the region of the summer stars" is a lifeless result. Well, I own the original LP and my conclusion is that this CD re-issue is NOT a lifeless effort! The shifting moods between the fragile piano play and the frequent bombastic eruptions are very well re-recorded, the interplay between the fiery electric guitars and the orchestral (Wagner-like) keyboards sounds very well and the instruments like assorted percussion and the new recorded bass work sound clear or warm, the producers have done a great job and justice to one of the most original progrock recordings ever. IF YOU LIKE UNIQUE AND DYNAMIC, CLASSICAL INSPIRED PROGROCK, THIS ONE IS FOR YOU!!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#41270)
Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece of true art, nothing else. This album was in fact released for the first time in 1975 on CBS, only to be re-released in 1976 on a sub-label to EMI, who still, untill this day holds the rights to the original recording, but refuses to release it. The Enid, therefore had to re-record some parts of the album in 1984 to release it on their own label, Mantella, first on vinyl, then in -86 on CD as well. Re-released once again with one bonus-track (Reverbirations) on CD in 1993, only to be, once again, re-released in it's current and final form on Inner Sanctum records in 2001. The original vinyl-version is without any doubt the best, after that I recommend the current Inner Santum version, which has a superior sound- quality. The music has been described in previous reviews, so I can only agree that this is something special.

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Send comments to progrocklover (BETA) | Report this review (#42238)
Posted Tuesday, August 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is one of those few albums that I would say is actually perfect in all respects. Robert John Godfrey turned his back on a career as a concert pianist to pursue a 'rock' career, and I'm glad he did. Since 1976, The Enid have given us a number of excellent albums, but this, their debut, has to be their best. This instrumental album plays out like a classical work, mixing real orchestrations with rock guitar, drums and synth. The lead guitar work of Francis Likerish is second to none, and sits very comfortably alongside the classical influences and references (listen out for variations on Deus Irae & Ravels Bolero) The music builds and subsides, throughout. Some pieces flow into one another and some don't, but overall there is a wonderful sense of continuity and flow which contributes towards this being one of the most atmospheric, melancholic and dramatic prog works I have ever heard.

There are no low points at all IMO, but in pointing out the absolute hi-lights, I would have to say that the opening 'Fool' and 'Tower of Babel' set the scene perfectly; with ambient water sounds and grand piano, giving way to a harder edged and dramatic, yet measured, rock feel for 'Tower of Babel' 'The Loved Ones' is a soft evocative piano dominated piece, leading into the darker half of the album, where the music moves away from the melancholic and more towards the sinister, through tracks like 'The Demon King' and 'Judgement'

The CD is actually a re-make of the original album. Legal problems with their old record label left Godfrey & co having to re-record the drums, and various other parts in the early 80's. I have never heard the original album, and I'm profoundly jealous of anyone who has. This re-make however is superb and highly recommended for all lovers of symphonic prog. I've not heard much better than this to be honest.

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Send comments to Blacksword (BETA) | Report this review (#49238)
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I bought this album on vinyl when it first appeared in the UK after hearing a track on Alan Freeman's show - remember him? Good old "Fluff". Anyway, I was blown away then and it still remains an absolute favorite. The guitar on the original vinyl was awesome and really loses something in the re-recording for the CD version - and what's with the whale noises?

Each track builds from the previous one starting with the quiet and melodic piano intro of "The Fool" - the driving guitar and very melodic riffs interplay with the orchestral percussion. The album crescendos through the "Death...", quietens in "The Lovers" and picks up the pace again in "The Devil". Robert John's classical influence shows through. I have yet to find a band like them frankly, so it is hard to compare them with anyone!

The vinyl version gets 5+ stars for me - the CD 4. This in my view was their best album, but the few following were also quite excellent. Unfortunately, the lineup changed so much it was tough to keep the "sound" intact, particularly after Frances L left - according to the Enid website he had an issue with the bottle.

Bottom line - If you don't have it, get it!!

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Send comments to VDGG (BETA) | Report this review (#50764)
Posted Saturday, October 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
infandous@exc
4 stars Even though I came to this band in the early 2000's, I have oddly enough never heard the "newer" version of this album. I was fortunate to aquire MP3's ripped from an original vinyl copy of the 1976 LP. So I can only offer a review of that record. Incidentally, the person I got it from was a huge Enid fan from their beginning and was involved in their fan club in the late 70's. He felt the rerelease was a terrible reworking of the original. Again, having never heard the newer version I can't comment. As to the original, it was not exactly a revelation for me since I already had purchased the re-recording of Aerie Faerie Nonsense (I also have an MP3 version of the original vinyl LP release of that album as well). But I must say that at first, I was not sure why it had recieved so much praise. Repeated listens helped me to apprciate it more. The compositions are excellent examples of how rock and classical can work very well together, particularly in The Fool... and The Last Judgement/Region. The compositions are quite Romantic, though obviously not as much as the following album would be. I think it is safe to say that anyone who is not a fan of classical (particularly Romantic period) music will not care for this. But fans of Renaissanse and similar classical rock bands should find this satisfying. Just bear in mind that the CD version is NOT what I am reviewing here, and it is my understanding that it is significantly reworked.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#55336)
Posted Tuesday, November 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first work of THE ENID released in 1976 "In The Region Of The Summer Stars".The sound is classical rock to make good use of the synthesizer, the organ, and Merotoron. The idea is variegated from a romantic piano solo to a heavy performance. It a thorough surprisingly is classical tune creation and performance. The last stage of the album is very impressed symphonic.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#60288)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This record was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Punk swept in just as this glorious swathe of prog rock appeared, even though it had been recorded a year earlier. A concept album based on the tarot deck, it features Robert John Godfrey's orchestral keyboards pushing against guitar work that ranges from the sublime to the metallic. Like so many prog bands, the classics raise their heads here, in influence if not in cribs, whether it's the Rachmaninov-style piano of "The Lovers," the Bartók harmonies of "The Fool...the Falling Tower," or the epic "The Last Judgement," where a rhythm based on Ravel's "Bolero" builds into a theme from a Latin mass before soaring to a climax. The title cut, on the other hand, is lazily pastoral and lilting, reflective until the heavier middle section, then slowly fading away. Really, the closest this band comes to rock as we know it is on "The Devil," where heads get down, but never quite bang. It's well worth noting that the CD version is different from the original vinyl, not only in tracks but even down to re-recording some tracks without some of the original members, which offers a different perspective. Comparing the two, it has to be admitted that the original version comes off better in its delicacy and freshness, although the newer recordings do make better use of the available technology.

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Send comments to JackBH (BETA) | Report this review (#75265)
Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This one is way to orchestral for my tastes. Even my wife upon hearing this suggested if I like this we should go see Phantom of the Opera. I immediately changed the cd (haha). It sounds like soundtrack music at times and it is all instrumental.

The first song "Fool" opens with ominous piano and features trumpet and sampling. "The Tower Of Babel" is a good uptempo, bombastic song with guitar and drums leading the way. "The Reaper" is a relaxed, mellow song with strings for two minutes before the volume increases and it sounds like a movie soundtrack. It gets calm and loud again before it's over. "The Loved Ones" is serene and pastoral with piano and strings and it builds towards the end. "The Demon King" has prominate drums throughout, and the main melody is really good.

"Pre Dawn" is a short trumpet tune. "Sunrise" features trumpet, strings and cymbals. "The Last Day" is quite pastoral until 3 minutes in when heavy drums with orchestration come in. Again it sounds like a movie soundtrack. "The Flood" opens with samples of water and trumpet sounds. "Under The Summer Stars" is a song I actually like a lot, it's spacey at times,and features some good guitar and drums. It blends into the next song "Adieu" that has a lot of piano melodies. "Judgement" is another good one that is dramatic at times with guitar and mellotron coming in before the 4 minute mark. "In The Region Of The Summer Stars" sounds like a reprise of "Under The Summer Stars" with a spacey FLOYD feel to the synths. Then 3 1/2 minutes in the guitar and drums sounds great.

I know most people love this record, and as much as I can appreciate parts of it there's no way I could give it even a 4 star rating. It's good but not essential.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#107064)
Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is THE Classical/Rock fusion masterpiece. It is supremely well composed and orchestrated, or arranged if you will, containing beautiful and aweful (i mean that as in full of awe) passages of music ranging from blazing rock guitars to gorgeous Romantic piano. The falling tower is probably the most accessible track to rock fans, as it has some great guitar riffing and breathless builds. My favorite track on the album has to be the title track though, because it has the best mix of rock and Classical, starting off with haunting synth passages that segue into a terrific, theoretically perfect guitar solo (just listen to the chord progression) by the underrated Lickerish.

With that said, I must give a warning to the uninitiated. In order to appreciate the less rocky tracks on this album, it is recommended that you at least have a healthy tolerance for Romantic and Post-Romantic music - i.e. Liszt, Mahler, Borodin... But, of course, its not necessary, just highly recommended; of course if you enjoy some of the more classical moments of Renaissance or other classically influenced bands, you'll be more likely to get into this, but if you get this album and dont like it, dont discard it, just give it a rest and come back later with a better Classical frame of reference.

A final warning, dont buy the 80's remastered version, because many of the tracks were rerecorded with cheesy synth sounds, but its still enjoyable, just not nearly as ethereal. For those who prefer a more classical sound than this album, you can try their Aerie Faerie Nonsense, as it is more Classical than this is even.

Sorry if I babbled a bit, but this is well-worth checking out!

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Send comments to Atomic_Rooster (BETA) | Report this review (#114864)
Posted Sunday, March 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars (This review is of the release which contains re-mixed and moved tracks, from 1984)

PREAMBLE

This collection is one of the greatest outbursts of beauty and glorious music in the history of the art form. In the Region of The Summer Stars fuses so many disparate styles and ideas into a cohesive album that it transcends notions of genre and classification. Beyond the guitars, floating synthesizers, percussive mastery, and orchestral imitation sits a world where Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Liszt, and Medieval Plainchant mix in an unprecedented array of colours. What is collected for redistribution in this album may have been intended ironically, but in reality it flows above and beyond what can be expected of human beings; it is the great music of our time.

Note:

I am not satisfied with comparing each piece on an album to what came before or after it; this review takes the form of a criticism of an entire whole, which this album certainly is. What many listeners may not realize is that the entire album takes on the form of a gigantic sonata. Sonata form was used extensively from 1760-1920, in many musical compositions by so-called Classical composers. It contains an exposition where all the themes and melodies are shown off, which moves to a development that mixes these themes together, and then a recapitulation of the original themes in their pristine forms. It usually ends in a glorious display of finality, an ending called a coda, which is Italian for tail (the tail-end of the piece!). I consider this note important because the inner meaning of this music is not apparent, due to the lack of singing. It is important to know the ideas which formed this music, and how it plays out in time. It is supremely ingenious in construction, and that alone should earn it great respect.

EXPOSITION

I. Fool: The influence of Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) is obviously apparent in John Godfrey's pianistic explosion which opens this seminal album. Not only does Mr. Godfrey perfectly imitate (or parody?) the crescendo from soft to loud which opens the aforementioned composer's second piano concerto (1902), but he adds even more climactic drama to it than parts of the original contained. After this exposition of power, bizarre swirls of synthesizer pads and effects fade into an ethereal background, filling the pure lonely space which the piano now falls into. The accompaniment alone adds an interestingly modern tinge to an album that might be considered a keyboard concerto in scope. Beyond even Rachmaninov, the slow piano part which comes between the two outbursts sounds as if it comes from Kaikhosru Sorabji (an eminent Parsi composer for piano, 1892-1988), whose dark explorations of philosophy and psychology in music are a testament to human ingenuity. Fool (or The Fool in the original) serves as an exposition of all the themes and instruments in this music: it is the first part, the opening, the entry of components so crucial to an extended sonata form, which this album takes. A solo horn enters over a world of water and screaming sea animals, lapping themselves against the ocean shore on what must be a sunny summer morning. It segues into an energetic piece called...

II. The Tower of Bable*: Spaghetti westerns and Mozart operas mix together in this very interesting explosion of piano, guitars, drums, synthesizer effects, and sheer power. There is a supreme confidence of intent and knowledge in the playing of this music, and it sounds as if it takes from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and foreshadows Dream Theater's keyboard runs. Mozart's more explicitly 'oriental' music (such as Abduction from the Seraglio) finds hidden references in this piece (it's very subtle and well-done!) There is nothing calm or mediocre in this sound, as it drives forward in its own condensed sonata form, the themes taking each other for a ride across distant lands and right back again, our imagination made all that more rich by the experience. An eerie tinge marks the centre of this piece, with distant bells chiming, echoing into eternity, but eventually giving way to the glorious recapitulation of the opening themes. A cacophony of drums, piano chords, string pads, and melodious guitar lines - which seem to be on fire from the sheer intensity - crash into each other in a passage which recalls Beethoven and remembers Yes (especially that band's 1974 release). After the crashing cadences and cascades of sound abruptly end, the music falls away into nothingness, introducing...

III. The Reaper: As is typical of music representing death or fate, there are chiming bells, other-worldly string pads, and treated guitar noises which fall together in the right order to create an Impressionistic snap-shot of how we humans see the end. There are no words in this music, but the music, the glorious music, sends out its own message regardless. After a passage where everything falls away into the peace of natural death, the drums and guitars make their entrance in full force, heralded on their way by a Hammond organ. Some of the music sounds very up-beat and it brims with life in many respects, but the undercurrent throws the listener aside and grotesque, deviant shadows fill the sky. Everything falls apart, a theme introduced in the previous track, leading into the most tender and beautiful piece of music composed in the late twentieth century.

IV. The Lovers/The Loved Ones: How can a person describe this music? The softness of touch and Romantic breadth of the piano playing which introduces this extra-ordinary piece is beyond capture, when using only our feeble words. From the darkness that ends the previous piece, this calm and wise piano seems to float straight out of the abyss, out of the darkness formed by the falling tower and death come to wreak havoc. A sheen of white light, the sun in summer, the meadows and fields of Elysium, and pure love come together in one of our greatest human achievements. Franz Liszt (1811-1886) himself could not have created a more tender expression of beauty and love than this. Much is owed to that composer's nocturnes which, along with Chopin, heralded such a revolution in piano playing in the early 19th century. The shimmering light hovers in unknowable areas of ecstasy and perfection for several minutes, while a synthesized orchestra moves in to accompany it. The aforementioned second piano concerto of Rachmaninov is a precedent for this, with its slow, moonlit slow second movement. As the music swells and becomes louder (a thing lost on much modern music), the orchestra explodes with Mellotron horns and flutes, and many string pads form together in a stroke of musical greatness. After the crescendo and climax, everything falls away, back to those muted strings and the lone piano, now expressing a supreme melancholy after the exertion of the previous minute. It fades away into the oblivion from whence it came, never to be heard again, but once more, in a distant land and in a different time. This is surely what it means to be human.

DEVELOPMENT:

V. The Demon King. The first four movements of this true sonata suite encompassed the classical exposition of themes, and now, after the love of eternity has faded, the music moves into the development of themes. It is here that the grandeur of the introduction, the energy of the second and third pieces, and the tumultuous ground of love in the fourth piece find their mixing ground, their place of combat to decide which theme takes the foreground. A sinister piano opens this second part, seeming to spiral up and down in a chaos of some sort of over-the-top musical theatre. The energy of the middle of the exposition is here dominant, with the piano of previous piece transformed into a flash of bizarre inspiration. It is more sarcastic than anything else, and the music takes an almost humorous turn with the marimba-inspired keyboards and whirling guitars. Everything is a mess of Bacchanalian fantasies and drunken revelry, as might befit a king! This is definitely the ground of The Tower of Babel and The Reaper, a Totentanz (dance of death) that even dares to poke fun at The Loved Ones. It is a great example of musical humor and imitation of one's very own music, taken from the great Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). It ends, like its ancestors in the second and third tracks, quickly and jokingly.

VI. Dawn: Here, a reversal of fortunes comes into play, and sinister notions fall away, giving in to the pre-dawn world where dust motes float in the early morning sky, and nothing seems to move but the clouds. All his silent and peaceful once more, as the perfect trumpet playing comes in over the hills, heralding the coming of day, which arrives after a huge ascent by the trumpet.

VII. Sunrise: A utopian world of small villages, rolling hills, green fields, lush forests, and, of course, the rising sun all coalesce into one bright and vibrant picture. Everything comes to life again after the rush of death in The Demon King. I do not speak here of individual instruments, because each and every member of this ensemble proved himself completely up to the task of creating a great symphony (that is, 'sounds together') of ideas and music, with tender spots, powerful spots, and quiet spots. The music seems surprisingly long (in a very good way!), despite coming in at only three-and-a-half minutes. It ends in a luscious array of synthesizers and keyboards.

VIII. The Last Day*: The music of death and fate returns again, marking a departure from the jesting death of earlier parts. Everything has become solemn and dramatic, for the world is falling apart in time for the final judgment. Drums introduce the music, which is much more than a reference to Maurice Ravel's infamous Bolero of 1928, but a very dark and sarcastic parody of the militarism that always unites death with humanity. There is no political message, assuredly, but the music seems half-serious and half-jeering at huge columns of Romans and Spartans marching to battle. This is the end-time, and it is portrayed with stark brutality and a Shostakovich-like grotesque atmosphere. The music eventually reaches a full climax of crescendos and awe-inspiring statements of militaristic power and the Imperial domain of death over all things. Even as the trumpets pound out a gigantic hymn of power and control, there is an elegiac sadness to it all, and out of this great march comes... the opening theme! The development ends and falls away to a tender flute and floating harp-like arpeggios at the end of this piece. The journey is over, and yet there is still much more to say, for we must return home.

RECAPITULATION

IX. The Flood: Like all great stories, even in wordless music, it begins where it ends: the sea-shore, the lonely trumpet of Fool and Dawn telling us that it is time to come back. It fades away, as it always does, breathing life into...

X. Under The Summer Stars*: Here is one of the great achievements of progressive music. The familiar string pads of all the other pieces come back, but the great and varied keyboard playing on Mellotron and various other synthesizers adds a finality that did not show itself in the exposition. This is ending music, a purely ecstatic finale of all the themes. After the break-down and destruction of everything in the development (central) section, it all returns and is put right. Pads, guitars, arpeggios of flowing synthesizers, and an ethereal atmosphere pervades this whole world, a world purely of the imagination. It is a reflection of all that came before; it is the stars, and it is the moon. Its qualities of ghostly floating sounds add the greatest feeling that we have come to the end of something, and it works up to a grand, golden coda that sweeps away all tension and brings us, ever-forward, into a world where a light is shining down upon each and every listener. Whether it brings a sense of drama, beauty, serenity, or power, it is a great ending to a revolutionary work. All that has been said and done here is extra-ordinary and new, and it falls away into what must be one of the greatest endings conceived...

XI. Adieu. Harking back to what seemed to be lost in the tidal wave of death and glory, this epilogue gives a voice to those shadowy ones, The Lovers, who appeared but once, and then were never heard from again except for humorous imitation in The Demon King. This piece comes right out of the previous one, acting as the ending, the consummation of the journey as a thing to be remembered. It is a tender and beautiful recapitulation of a theme from The Loved Ones, gently falling away from piano to guitar to strings, and eventually all that remains is a singular harp, swirling slowly and softly away into the distance, with nothing else to care about but the peace it leaves in its aftermath.

CODA

Not only is this one of the great achievements of rock music, or of classical style and form, but it is an achievement for all time. It is a testament to the greatness of ideation and imagination that is at the centre of the human experience. Not only does this altogether seminal assembly of musicians perfectly assemble a classical sonata tinged with Romantic and Modernist turns, but they execute the music itself with such potent virtuosity (as far as virtuosity extends to rock music) that it goes beyond ordinary prog. It is a thing of the past and the future, and it will live on thanks to musicians and artists such as The Enid. This is what it means to be human. 5/5 all-round; it is a must-have for anyone who enjoys music. Period!

* These three tracks are mixed into two bonus tracks, called Judgement and In The Region Of The Summer Stars, which are merely re-workings of previous material in different ways. They are not central to the overall arch of this structure.

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Send comments to TheGloryofMusic (BETA) | Report this review (#179628)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Majestic orchestrations and sweeping crescendos become an emotional soundtrack

My first listen to The Enid began with this album and I was quite surprised at the musicianship and the structure of the songs. There is a full on orchestral feel to these tracks and essentially you may be mistaken for an actual movie soundtrack such is the orchestration and mood swings of the music.

'Fool' begins with a staccato hammering piano chord and then some gentle piano follows, though it has a threatening edge, an ominous looming shape, as if something is creeping up from behind. This is soon joined by the effects of water and a perhaps a porpoise. The trumpets resound adding a majesty and there is a low droning. Welcome to the world of The Enid. It is unlike any symphonic I have heard in a long time and this may take some getting used to. The instrumentation is designed to evoke specific moods.

When 'The Tower of Babel' chimes in there is a foreign sound, perhaps Eastern and even a galloping guitar motif, reminding me of someone galloping on horseback through a steaming desert. The Egyptian style music helps to enhance this imaginary scene. There is a lot of musicianship here and this band is obviously virtuoso when it comes to structure and control of instruments that fade in and out at appropriate times. When it is inspired like this track, it is complex and magical. I would rate this as a highlight of the album.

The inventive music continues on 'The Reaper' that begins with a church pipe organ and a violin style pad. A melodic clean guitar picks a nice tune. It is very much like the music found in a melancholy moment in a romance movie. The chiming bell is an ethereal sound, tolling in death, as a crazed bass drum echoes thunderously and a crescendo of strings rises up. An intriguing track with many mood swings and emotional resonances. The overall feel of mystery and intrigue is essential to the music.

'The Loved Ones' begins with minimalist gentle piano and soft strings. Romantic, sweeping and emotive piano and strings follow and draw in a listener if they are prepared to immerse themselves. It is like the style of composer Rachmaninov.

'The Demon King' begins with a flight of eerie piano and a chilling heavy motif. The guitars are great on this and the heavier treatment is welcome after the lulling previous song. This has some shimmering Hammond and wah wah guitar to create the sense of impending dread. Perhaps reminded me more of Therion in a sense though there is no metal. There are some cheeky melodies adding a humorous edge but this is darker than previous material on the album. A definitive highlight.

'Pre-Dawn' and 'Sunrise' begins with a lone pastoral trumpet presenting the theme of dawn approaching is heard. This is joined by gentle music that is sleepy and dreamlike. The flute shrills and runs are well executed, as are the sweeping violins.

'The Last Day' features an estranged Bolero rhythm similar to Ravel in a sense. The tune is recognisable to those familiar with classical music. It begins slowly and softly building to the crescendo of trumpets and drums that crash fortissimo. It segues into 'The Flood' where there are musical shapes of allegro and adagio, light and shade throughout, and it builds to a rousing finale where a synthesizer and guitar are accompanied by flute, trickling harp and waves crashing on a beach. The balletic Bolero style of these pieces are music of mounting intensity, an orchestrated crescendo, a wonderful piece of music.

'Under the Summer Stars' begins with a zither twanging and a flute, joined by an off beat drum rhythm and swells of guitar. A very different piece to previous tracks. The guitar dominates with violining and picking expertise. The flute is a mystical sound, the mellotron is strong and the melody is infectious when it locks in. It is a bit like Pink Floyd and has a spacey guitar to give it the serrated edge of dark prog. Another highlight that draws this album to a close.

'Adieu' blends seamlessly from the previous track and is a farewell piece. The piano is played with nimble fingered dexterous flourishes. A synthesiser echoes the tune and a harp brings a majestic touch. And so it ends on a quiet lulling note, like the denouement of a movie.

Final words are to steer clear if you are not a classical music fan as this is genuine classical music with very little rock. The Enid had not introduced singing at this early stage but it was the beginning of great things to come. It is a nice piece of music on the whole but I can see how this will not appeal to everyone. There are moments on this that are fantastic but overall it is not something I would return to often in the same way as I have with Pink Floyd or Rush or Dream Theater, but The Enid deserve at least 4 stars for musicianship and innovation on this album.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#279886)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to progpositivity (BETA) | Report this review (#281271)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Enid = the Bachs of Rock?

Probably not, but they may be the closest I have heard as of yet.

I have mixed feelings about this album. On one hand, I love this kind of music, and I certainly appreciate the guts it takes to make it, because there are a lot of ways for it to end up sounding cheesy or even incoherent. On the other hand, it seems that the Enid aren't sure which type of music they are going for: classically-inspired rock or classical music that rocks. I happen to think they are much more successful with the latter, most of which can be found on the second side of the album.

Side 1. These songs are more like singles, as in short impressions of a theme or idea. Aside from the soothing, Rachmaninoff-inspired Lovers, the other three songs could easily have been found on Hackett's Heirophant. There are plenty of good musical ideas here--and well-played too--but the songs don't really hang together well, as there seems a constant shift between relatively straight-forward rocking and more classical structures.

Side 2. This is where the Enid really shine and create something unique and majestic to my ears. The Sun includes a beautiful build-up to a tympani-slamming finale, with a wonderful lilting theme in between. This is just a teaser for final 15 minutes, which for me includes some of the very best classically-influenced music with rock instruments that I've heard. In addition, you can hear bits that refer to their influences, such as the 1812 Overture and Mars (great effect with the tympani!). If you're going to be inspired by something, it might as well be some of the best (or at least most popular)! I love the variety of instrumentation, guitar effects, and awesome, sweeping crescendos to be found throughout these pieces.

In short, the A side is largely 3-star material, and the B side is certainly 5-star stuff for me. That reasonably averages to a 4-start album. If you like instrumental, classically influenced rock--as I do--you can't do much better!

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#283283)
Posted Monday, May 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is an album which inspires a lot of "Ifs" from me. If it had just been released a few years earlier... if the Enid and their mastermind Robert John Godfrey hadn't had such a turbulent career... if they hadn't been forced to re-record the album for CD reissue for ridiculous legal reasons... if any of these factors had been different, I have no doubt that we'd regard the Enid as one of the top-flight prog bands of the 1970s. They are one of a select group of bands - such as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, or Gentle Giant - who could say that they carved out a style in the 1970s which was uniquely their own and could be instantly recognised as such.

Quite simply, no other band quite managed to bring together a combination of classical music techniques and styles, high-calibre technical proficiency and musicianship, and emotional breadth and depth as the Enid - and it's the emotional aspects of the music which are given priority. From the playfulness of the Fool, to the fear evoked by The Last Judgement or Death, to the warmth of The Lovers and The Sun, the compositions never fail to evoke an incredible depth of feeling that other bands of the time sometimes struggle to convey - and all without saying a word.

I highly recommend seeking out the original version of the album - I first heard the rerecording, which left me cold, but the original opened my eyes to what the Enid could do. Supposedly, Godfrey intends to do another rerecording, as part of a project to produce final, definitive editions of all the Enid albums; I'd be interested to hear how that turns out, though for now I will enjoy the 1975 version, vinyl hiss and all.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#298146)
Posted Thursday, September 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars One has to wonder what might have come of the Enid, and of symphonic progressive music in general, had this album been released around 1972 instead of 1976.

By 1976 of course symphonic rock had been largely banished to the vinyl collections of stoners and the dusty shelves of used record stores (God bless those old shops!). Many believe (myself included) that the overly grandiose and self-indulgent excesses of Yes and ELP earlier in the decade were largely to blame for at least some of the waning popularity. The Enid by comparison demonstrate all that is truly wonderful about symphonic rock in an album that is both beautiful and quite accessible, even to the neophyte or undiscerning listener. The compositions on this album are well-developed, beautifully and logically sequenced, and most importantly not excessively pompous ala 'Tales from Topographic Oceans' or even 'Brain Salad Surgery' for that matter. Not that those aren't wonderful albums ? they are, but Lickerish, Godfrey and company manage to deliver their version of classic prog in a way that invites both rock and classical fans alike to share in its magic. It's kind of like pop-symph-prog, if that's in fact a genre.

I guess there were a couple of CD reissues of this record that are less than stellar; I don't know much about those but have read enough to steer clear even though copies can be had quite cheaply today. The new EMI remastered release (which you can listen to on the band's website while waiting for your preorder) is apparently a reissue from the original master tapes though, and for my money well worth the time and expense of adding to your collection.

Robert John Godfrey's keyboard work is stellar throughout, crisp and well-articulated while seamlessly gliding through the entire seven-track instrumental epic in perfect synch with Lickerish and Stewart's guitar forays and Tollet's understated bass. The shifting of high energy on "The Devil" to the sweeping and intricate "The Sun" is a feat of classical/rock melding that itself alone makes the entire album work. And the closing title track sets the stage for what would follow in terms of variety and sound exploration.

The only thing that keeps me from naming this a five-star masterpiece is the lengthy but nonetheless somewhat underdeveloped "The Last Judgement", which for me seems to make a bit too much of a shift from the mood of the rest of the album to aurally fit comfortably on the record. Perhaps the percussion could have been a bit more muted, or maybe the crescendo toward the end of bit less brash; not sure exactly but it doesn't quite live up to the expectation set by the rest of the album.

Still, this is a lost classic of sorts given the relative lack of lasting popularity of the band and their music. And that's too bad, because as the seventies wore on we could have used more of this sort of beautiful music to drown out the new-age and disco salmon droppings that were dominating the airwaves and record shops. Find this one if you can (the original vinyl or the EMI remaster), and enjoy an respite to ponder what sort of creative genius infected these guys at a time when the art of progressive rock was in sore need of heroes. Four stars for sure and highly recommended.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#299553)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This band have somewhat passed me buy. I recently acquired their latest release Jouney's End almost out of desperation at the lack of any decent modern symphonic prog releases. Being somewhat pleasantly surprised how good that is I quickly decided to pick up the remasters of this and Aerie Faerie Nonsense.

Certainly this is rock solid symph prog that has all the familiar ingredients on the instrumentation side of things. I suspect the reason The Enid never became that popular (other than timing,being up against punk etc) is the fact there are no vocals. I do like prog rock to have a bit of narrative and perhaps to have that human involvement.This to me gets itself mixed up between 2 very different genres not containing enough texture and layers to be Vangelis type electronic prog and not heavy or dynamic enough to threaten the likes of ELP and Yes in all their pomp and glory.The peices don't flow into each other as much as I would like either. I'm not convinced that this is their peak. Better was to come in my opinion.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#300514)
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
2 stars After reviewing all the new released The Enid albums I have a different idea about the band. Their latest album Invicta (2012) is really good. And was sad to hear about the Robert John Godfrey disease.

But truth be told, In The Region Of The Summer Stars (1976), The Enid first album, is a 'love or hate' case. Probably because is soaked in Classical Music, and then we can see that was always the band intentions since the very beginning,

But, on the other hand, for some people, like myself, the 'too much classical music' feeling is bigger than the 'Prog Rock' feeling, and this kills my enjoyment. I like band that do a crossover of sound in the Symphonic area. but I like the middle term, not just one side of the coin. And despite the fact that we have many nice moments in the album, the overall feeling is that something went wrong. Is way to orchestral for my taste.

I can see why so many 5 stars the album receives, but I just can't cope with them.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1001083)
Posted Friday, July 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars First let me state that I am reviewing the 2012 remaster of the original 1976 album and not the 80's re-recording.

I am always excited to read about other symphonic rock bands of the 70s and when I read about the Enid in Stephen Lambe's book "Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock" I was eager to give them a listen. After some sneak peeks (or sneaks listens) to samples of songs on Amazon, I ordered the album and I was not disappointed.

Most surprisingly is that while Yes and some other bands were recording rock music in a symphonic vein, the Enid appear to have been recording symphonic music in a rock vein. All tracks except for "The Lovers" (a piano solo) feature symphonic instruments with drums, bass, and electric guitar being just instruments in the symphony and not comprising a rock band that is playing with a symphony. For a debut album, the music is remarkably bold and complex. From the beginning, Robert Godfrey wanted this band to do things differently from other rock bands.

Aside from "The Lovers" which is beautiful but a little dull to me, the album is very enjoyable to listen to from start to finish. I normally have great impatience when listening to a new album as I want to find the songs I like the most and listen to them a lot. However, with "In the Region of the Summer Stars" I had a difficult time whittling down the number of songs to three or four favourites. I can now say that I enjoy "Fool / The Falling Tower", "The Devil", "The Last Judgement", and the title track best, but mention should go to "The Sun" and "Death, the Reaper" which I also enjoy still.

This is not an album for everyone and I am surprised that I like it as much as I do. But this is one of those albums that really illustrate just how far progressive rock bands could go even in 1976 when prog is said to have been on its way out of fashion.

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Send comments to FragileKings (BETA) | Report this review (#1078932)
Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
5 stars Not an album for everyone, not an album for any time, an artistic expression unlike many others. A sound so vivid and epic at the same time, conceived in these often rainy and gloomy parts of the world, though still expressing a melancholia and optimism at the same time, round about the region of the summer stars...

An unconventional soundtrack for summer and winter, the first album under the The Enid moniker bears more resemblance to the music of Ennio Morricone, rather than "typical" progressive rock of the 70's. Classical music re-invented? Possibly. In fact, listening through its (sadly, only) 39 minutes, sceneries and movie excerpts come in mind, via pompous orchestration, sliding guitar phrases, dreamy piano and flute parts. The mood shifts quite often from the epic/grandiose/scary (yes, that too) to total tranquility and back again to complete the dance of emotions. If I had to look for references in prog rock, then those would be early Genesis and Renaissance.

The "vintage" feeling is portrayed in "The Lovers" and "The Sun", the adventure in "Fool/The Falling Tower" and "The Devil" in haunting atmospheres, and the climax is reached (intentionally?) in the closing two compositions, unraveling the quality and inspiration behind this record.

Beware: I find myself listening to this on repeat for numerous times and the same effect might have on you. You have been warned.

5 (rainy) summer stars

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#1131618)
Posted Friday, February 14, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1976: Progressive rock was nearing its final stages of life, with the punk scene growing ever larger, taking its firm grasp not only on Britain, but on the music industry as well. Acts such as The Sex Pistols proclaimed their hatred for groups such as Pink Floyd, and the ideas of progressive rock in general. What does The Enid have to do with all of this? Well, The Enid has been said to be a 'marmite' band, you either love them or you hate them. This, along with founder Robert John Godfrey's dismissal of the label 'progressive rock', but rather a group with a heavy classical influence, helped the band avoid being outed as just another progressive rock band.

In The Region of the Summer Stars fully embraces this influence, with hints of Brahms and Rachmaninov all over the album. This influence not only gained them a cult following, but respect from the punk-dominated music scene as well. In the Region of the Summer Stars, a concept album, follows the writings of Charles Stewart and the tarot cards. However, the concept focused on the Major Arcana, or trump cards.

Fool'The Falling Tower, the opening piece, takes several cues from Bartok, introducing the listener with an eerie piano overture, only for guitars to intervene with a Middle Eastern melody building the track up, backed by well-timed piano interludes and impressive percussive work. To great effect is classical music infused with rock elements, helping Godfrey and The Enid stand out amongst their peers.

Death, The Reaper, shows a harsher side to The Enid, with a full blown orchestral sound taking the helm. The Lovers, a romantic piece, showcases Godfrey's skills as a pianist, with great use of harmonics and melody, and also proves just how deserving Godfrey is to be up there with the greats like Vangelis and Rick Wakeman. The Devil showcases the guitarists Francis Lickerish and Stephen Stewart, playing rather frippian parts with many odd effects being used on the track as well.

The Sun begins a suite of sorts, with a relaxing trumpet solo bringing forth the calm before the storm. The Last Judgment creeps in, with a percussive introduction similar to Holst's Mars. One by one, the instruments come in, building up further and further to a massive crescendo, led by the chants of "Dies Irae", the climax of the album. In the Region of the Summer Stars, the finale, creates a sense of peace and joy, with a twin guitar section picks up the theme of the piece, shifting it around various instruments, such as the flutes giving a vibrant feeling to the track. Halfway through the tracks appears a power chord followed by a magnificent solo, before segueing back into the main theme, gently fading out not too long afterwards.

With a challenging concept such as the tarot cards, In The Region of the Summer Stars manages to execute the concept flawlessly, showing that progressive rock still had a place in a punk-dominated scene, even if Godfrey dismissed the progressive labeling, as well as not being that well known group outside Europe. In the Region of the Summer Stars is something worth listening to, not only for its challenging concept, but for its timeless music as well.

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Send comments to Sheets of Blue (BETA) | Report this review (#1132017)
Posted Saturday, February 15, 2014 | Review Permalink

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