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The Enid - Something Wicked This Way Comes CD (album) cover


The Enid

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars Without a question England's ENID are an acquired taste. Although predominantly an instrumental band, this was their first recording to feature vocals. This was another concept album written during and about the world of nuclear weapon and the potential effects and the destruction of the world. The ENID are Robert John Godfrey - keyboards, Stephen Stewart - guitar, Chris North - drums, percussion and Francis Lickerish - bass. The ENID are known for their Symphonic song orientated orchestal music and that is exactly what "Something Wicked This Way Comes" delivers. The vocals and instumentation actually take on a 60's layered feel and seems to blend in complete contrast to the music. Without a question while this album plays to the popular side of music lovers it also will please the more "listening" crowd. A very creative album from start to finish.

Report this review (#25892)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Enid effectively disintegrated after Pye records went bankrupt. This is the first album they made after the disintegration which saw the band shrink from a six-piece right down to a three piece --Robert John Godfrey; Stephen Stewart and Chris North . They also recruited Kevin Godley and Lol Creme of 10cc to help with production. The album, The Enid's first to include vocals, features a strange and unique massed vocal effect which, I believe, was pioneered by Godley and Creme. Although the music still sounds like The Enid, it's slightly less symphonic-sounding and more prog-ish in nature. The opening track actually has shades of early Sid Barret era Pink Floyd about it believe it or not. The second track is more traditional Enid: a sort of renaissance dance/Viennese waltz, resplendent with the rich guitar textures of Stephen Stewart. (excellent as the guitar playing is, I still miss Francis Lickerish on this and all subsequent Enid albums.) Highlight of the album is two segued tracks, 'Evensong' and 'Bight Star'; the first is a beautiful and stately melody, very elegiac in nature, that builds to a impassioned climax then gently sinks back to where it began. The second is a lovely pastiche of Americana with a melody that combines 'Singing in the rain' with a decidedly Gershwinesque turn of phrase. Damn, The Enid were so cool. It might not be their greatest work, but SWTWC has a lot going for it.

P.S. In my review of The Enid's 'Six Pieces album, I attributed the drumming to David Storey, of course I was wrong, I should have attributed the drumming to Robbie Dobson.

Report this review (#25893)
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this album. It's the first The Enid record I can honestly say hasn't needed time to grow on me. Maybe that's why thus far it's gotten such mixed ratings? It seems a tradition among prog elitists to give catchy, sensible music a low score, whole praising and drooling over some of the most boring dribble the genre has to offer. Though I suppose I'm not being very fair; 4 ratings is hardly enough to get a realistic average. Nevertheless, I was floored when I realized that as of this writing, ''Something Wicked'' is the lowest-rated Studio album from this band. It seems much easier to digest musically than much of its peers, but that doesn't detract from its quality or 'worthiness'.

Frankly, I think having a more traditional take to the presentation and songwriting is a good thing, especially where this band is concerned. when you talk about The Enid, you either get a lot of love or a lot of hate; not much middle-ground is present when it comes to people's opinions of these guys, from what I've experienced. I suppose that's due to the music itself: powerful, profound and not afraid of being a little pompous now and again. There isn't much debate on what this band is about musically, so anybody who doesn't like classically-influenced pop music should definitely stay away.

However, in this album's case, there seems to be much more 'pop' than 'classical' present in the music itself, which makes it a rarity in The Enid's catalogue. A rarity, as well as one of the few records non-fans might be able to half-stand. This makes a kind of 'middle-ground' for us divided Prog listeners. Fans and non-fans a like will most likely find something to enjoy in here, and I see nothing wrong with that. perhaps the 'catchy' qualities to some of the songs on this outing make some more die-hard The Enid listeners uncomfortable, though it really shouldn't. If anything, this album may serve as a gateway for those who wish to expand their horizons, but need a little familiarity in order to truly take the plunge. Plenty of traditional, ballad-like electric guitar can be heard here, and the melodies featured are truly remarkable and beautiful.

The biggest difference this time around is that, as far as I know, this wad the first The Enid album to feature vocals. Once again, some may find this break from tradition a poor move, but I myself find that the addition of vocal melody and lyrics add even more depth to this undoubtedly complex and heavy-handed music. It adds complexity, yet with a flare of the familiar so as to not scare off the newcomers. Honestly, as I mentioned earlier, this is the perfect marriage of elements that should appeal to all corners of the prog community. I would say my personal favorite tracks on this recording are 'Raindown', 'Jessica', 'Bright Star', and the title track, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'.

The album is light despite its complexity, lyrically deep despite its poppy flavoring, and so short, it'll be over before you think it's barely begun. So taking all that into account, you should give this one a chance, even if you have tried to get into The Enid before with no luck. As for you long-time fans, show some love and give this album more positive reviews. It seems to not be very well- known on here as of right now, and that should honestly change. It's really quite good.

A solid 4. Happy Listening.

Report this review (#265822)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars The Enid's album "Something Wicked This Way Comes" begins with ethereal musical arrangements on 'Rain Down', a majestic build up of brass, and ghostly effects. The guitars and synthesizers add a layer of atmospherics. The real surprise, in fact delight, are the vocals. After listening to their "Aerie faire Nonsense" instrumental opus, and not enjoying their full blown classical music, I was pleasantly taken in by this new approach to the music. The vocals definitely add a depth that was missing on AFN. This feels more like a progressive album due to the mix of orchestra, vocals and guitars. The atmosphere is darker than previous albums; haunting refrains and smoky synthesizer washes are dreamlike but never dull. The vocals are very strange, almost Magma like if I may be so bold, there are backwards sweep ups and tribal drums, a rain dance if you will. The drums are fantastic on this. I adore this track, it may be my favourite The Enid track. It certainly buries most of the stuff on their 2nd and 3rd albums.

'Jessica' is a quiet melodic piece with shrilly pipes and beautiful piano. The acoustic flourishes and flute add a lovely element. The music gets louder with well executed lead guitars and there is a mystical medieval feel to the melodies. A solid instrumental. 'And Then There Were None' has some innovative passages of music. The vocals return, sung well and with feeling, the style reminding me of Genesis, or The Moody Blues. The tune is whimsical and hard to grasp, an odd time signature, very proggy. There are some loud staccato crashes on guitar on this too, blended win with soft flute; quite innovative music.

'Evensong' has a creepy string intro with a portentous atmosphere. It builds to a sensitive brass solo and some nice guitar tones. Beautiful instrumental, but I was hoping the next track would not be more of the same as I feel the music suffers when it becomes predictable.

'Bright Star' has some sweeping synthesizer sounds to intro it. Then a strange pitchy motif locks in, with spacey effects and lead guitar solos. The brass is precariously layered over this. It is very intricate creative music, but I missed the vocals at this stage that were such a nice touch at the beginning of the album.

'Song For Europe' is much louder and has multi layers of brass and very strong guitars, Mike Oldfield style. It settle into a very quiet passage of flute and pipes, before the drums crash in again and the piercing guitars return. The drums are once again aggressively pounded in a tribal manner. A great instrumental.

'Something Wicked....' ends the album on a lengthy note. The piano and gentle guitar kick things off. Hallelujah! The vocals return, and they were needed I can tell you as I was beginning to be lulled off to sleep. The vocals are really a key feature of the album giving you something to grasp onto; "something wicked this way, and singing songs of war, arm yourselves, arm yourselves, no need to fear, your dying mother is here... oh, wonderful world, a passing dream, oh wonderful world..." The harmonies are nice, the lyrics are surreal, but this is powerful stuff. The blend of orchestral arrangements and synth are compelling. Once the vocals disappear, the instrumental passage dominates with a strong beat. There is a spacey guitar solo at 7 minutes in, that I am fond of. The chorus section returns until a woodwind section takes precedence. At 8:30 a haunting harmonious vocal echoes over the piano phrases, and then the piano takes over beautifully as synth pads come over like waves of sound. The sound of water splashing adds to the mood and fades out. A very unusual but inspiring piece of music.

This may be the best album of The Enid, though classical music fans may want to turn to "Aerie Faerie Nonsense", which is not my taste. "Something Wicked..." is certainly one of the strongest albums from the band and I can recommend this along with "In The Region of the Summer Stars".

Report this review (#283381)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Contrary to popular belief Pye Records didn't fold in 1980, it simply changed names to PRT (and I believe changed ownership or at least management as well). But they weren't doing particularly well financially and probably wouldn't have promoted The Enid well anyway so the two departed ways following the release of 'Six Pieces'. This would be the first studio release on the band's own ENID label (the two Hammersmith live albums predated it just slightly).

The band also lost Francis Lickerish and William Gilmour, followed several months later by drummer Chris North and Martin Russell who had provided the third set of keyboard hands on 'Six Pieces'. That left Robert John Godfrey and Stephen Stewart (plus occasional friends) as all that remained of The Enid. Lickerish and Gilmour would resurface together years later as core members of the neo-symphonic/folk group Secret Green. North and Russell would form Craft. Original member David Storey (who left prior to 'Six Pieces') would reappear with the band on occasion in later years, but to the best of my knowledge none of the members from the first four album ever showed up on an Enid album or tour after 'Something Wicked?'.

This was the first album to feature vocals, written I believe by North with contributions by Godfrey. The story is not particularly original (post-apocalyptic mankind), especially given the times as punk and anger were in high fashion and the Cold War was coming to a head. And in fact the lyrics tend to be a bit Pollyanna at times, but the album was fairly well received and I believe became their biggest commercial success along with the supporting tour that followed.

The songs here are characterized by a rather noticeable 80s feel including a rather more polyphonic and at times almost glam sheen than anything the band had done prior. Godfrey's vocals smack of Bowie circa the Berlin years with a bit of Freddie Mercury's stage presence, no small feat considering Godfrey wasn't really known as a gregarious showman. It's an interesting stylistic change for what was left of the group, although I can't say always a welcome one. The opening track is misleading as what follows settles into more of the contemporary classical feel of prior Enid albums, though nowhere near the orchestral magnificence of the first two albums. While the vocals weren't particularly well received by older fans they did help the band acquire some new ones, and these tended to be just as rabidly loyal as those who caught onto the band in their early years. I suppose there wouldn't have been many more Enid albums had this one not been the financial windfall for Godfrey and Stewart that it was.

That said, this certainly isn't my favorite The Enid album, but it isn't the least favorite either. It's a decent record though not nearly as unique as their first four. A solid three stars as far as I'm concerned but certainly no more than that, and not recommended as a gateway album to the band since it isn't a true representation of what most of their music sounds like. Worth picking up but if you really want to learn about the band start with the first two records before listening to this one.


Report this review (#301579)
Posted Saturday, October 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars With the dawn of the eighties came more turmoil for The Enid. Most of the band members would end up departing for other musical ventures. By 1982, only two would be left to go on. Left to carry the burden were Robert John Godfrey (keyboardist) and Stephen Stewart (guitarist), who both would relocate to Clare, Suffolk, setting up a new recording studio, known as 'The Lodge'. Following years of legal battles, the duo set their sights on recording their first album as an independent band, now free of label interference. Rejoining the band was Chris North, who'd participate as a session drummer for the recording. New to an Enid record would be two things: the use of vocals, and the introduction of Stephen Stewart at lead guitar. With the pieces in place, The Enid would put out their highest selling LP yet.

Something Wicked This Way Comes continues the (unofficial) tradition of the concept album, this time being loosely based on nuclear war, and attempts to unmask the reality behind the situation and its potential impact on life as we know it. Album opener Raindown takes hold of said concept, and manages to capture the paranoia and fears of society over a six minute interval; Godfrey's vocals serve shroud doom-laden descriptions of the destruction brought forth by the bombs, and the subsequent fallout that comes with it. Jessica moves away from the frightening concept, to present a tribute the birth of friend's child, hence the title. Here, Stewart is given the spotlight, putting a joyous guitar track on tape. However, from then on, the nuclear war concept takes an absolute and firm grip on the album, and onto the listener. Then There Were None describes the raindown of the bombs, and the impact it has on a person, portraying a gruesome reality; while it seems like any of this wouldn't pan out well, it is able to work quite well.

On Something Wicked This Way Comes, something happens to be missing, and that particular thing is the prominent classical influence. Yes, while present on Jessica, it is hardly present, being discarded for a more pop-oriented sound, while staying true to the classic Enidian sound. Evensong continues in a mournful direction, while foreshadowing the motif of the title track. Bright Star and Song for Europe serve as the calm before the storm, the former being a reprise of sorts, as well being a rather serene track. The latter however, is much louder in dynamics, and builds up over time. Aggressive in theme, the overdubbed brass and woodwinds are very similar to Mike Oldfield's music; With the tribal pounding slowly fading out, the grand finale is only on the horizon. Something Wicked This Way Comes ends the album on a lengthy note, with there being a heavy focus on the trio. Gentle in introducing the epic, it only builds up to an emotional climax that puts each individual member in the spotlight, one by one. The comedown from said climax calmly ends the album, ending the beautiful piece in true Enid fashion.

Following the release of Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Enid would go on what would be their most successful tour yet. The 156 tour dates over Europe would prove essential to the band's success, allowing for Something Wicked This Way Comes to become their best-selling record yet, despite only being available at shows and by mail order. The success of the new LP would introduce The Enid to new audiences, attracting many due to its accessibility music-wise. Whereas previous albums focused both on individual aspects of the band, this album showcases the band's first group effort, with each member carrying the heavy load. The three year hiatus may have been what the band really needed to come back stronger than ever, and to release an album of this magnitude surely supports the claim. The one burning question however: could they keep the hot streak going?

Report this review (#1132027)
Posted Saturday, February 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Finally I have sunk my teeth into the beast known as The Enid. I must confess that I have stayed away and in mind dismissed this band as being the equivalent to Enya, which obviously is misguided. I do not care for Enya and my subconscious led me to stray further and further from The Enid as time went by. I was wrong and fooled by my own doing.

When I decided to explore The Enid my Eyes (and ears) fell on this one. Loved and discarded, depending on who you'd ask, I could not do anything but be enthused. The cover was the first thing that grabbed me and the theme, the Cold War and nuclear bombs, the reason for me to go all in on this one.

Being a mere child when this album was released I do remember the times, the early 80's and the Power struggle between the West and the East. Two super Powers dominating the globe whilst I felt the chilling breeze from the threat of nuclear doom and gloom. So, I have become sort of obsessed with albums of this thematic kind. I am also obsessed with the novel "1984" and somehow it all comes together here, on "Something wicked this way comes".

It all starts rather eerily (in "Raindown") with sweeping, disharmonic sounds just prior to head into classical territory. And then the song continues with a ELO-ish, operatic, musical themed sound. It may sound strange, and it is, but it is gloriously brilliant. The synthesized, nigh on 20's sounding, "Jessica" leads into "And then there were none". Quite artificial in sound it is scary and happy at the same time. "Evensong" is like a somber march for a world troubled with nuclear threats. "Bright star" seems like an interlude to "Song for Europé", a brilliant piece of bombastic prog. I get the feeling a some intro to the Olympic games during this era and maybe one could view the politics at the time as a Sporting event, though deadly serious. The title track is the best piece on this albuw. Beautiful, melancholic, light, sinister and floating. I love this track.

While the album holds vocal contributions it is mainly instrumental. I tend to be wary of instrumental music, for reasons I cannot account for. However, this album balances perfectly between instrumental music and vocals.

All in all, one might say that this album very accurately describes the feeling of the early 80's. It is chilly, artificial and eerie but all in a good way. The warmth is there but the freezing winds of high politics makes it all the scarier and cold.

I think this is a brilliant album, well worth exploring if you are interested in The Enid or just want some great, classically infused, symphonic musical-ish progressive rock. It i really something. I happen to own the deluxe edition, which comes with a lot of bonus material, and do recommend you to t´get a hold of that one, if you can.

Report this review (#1425836)
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | Review Permalink

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