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The Enid - Salome CD (album) cover


The Enid

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars Enid or the by far the most fantastic prog band you/ i can name..they are diverse and unpredictable...still can ALWAYS expect interesting music...with lots of weird (read:Wonderfully strange)musical interludes and moment they´re pop..the next..extremely beautiful orchestrated (grand) music....keyboard is the..ahem.. keyword master arranger/composer/keyboardplayer Robert John godfrey is the main actor...and i promise you (who havent heard these wonderful guys/records) are in for a surprise...this is as close to heaven...progmusic can come!!! Take.. one blend of classical music...toss it in with a bit soundtrack...mix it with well written music..add some guitar de luxe.....and top it with supreme layers of keyboard fantastique!! Then you have: E N I D...this is their "Salome" and its are their other albums. These guys are unique !!! I promise havent heard anything like it !!! I totally enjoy their special brand of progmusic !! Everytime i hear them (i got 9 cd´s ) im stunned...its dreamy..its fantastic..its fabulous..its out of this world....its different.. ..well quite frankly..its....E N I D !!! Im so happy to know them !!!
Report this review (#25897)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Damn you Tony Larz, you beat me to this one :) Never mind, two positive reviews is always better than one, so here goes. . .

Salome is the Enid's third release after scaling down to a three-piece (not counting any of the remakes of older material) and is definitely one of their strangest and darkest creations. Apparently it's about Salome and John the Baptist, however, the lyrical connection is oblique to say the least. The thematic thread that runs through all of The Enid's albums is very much to the fore on this one.

The first track, 'O Salome' is a strange affair featuring Stephen Stewart singing in a distinctly moody 1980s-style voice. The ethereal keyboard sounds of Robert John Godfrey drift in and out creating beautiful and unusual textures above a repeated drum pattern taken from the 'Touch Me' album. For those of you who like to play "spot the thematic reference" have you notice the theme from 'Summer" from 'The Spell' , just before the chorus?

Track two opens with an impressionistic wash of keyboard textures and arpeggios that conjures up the worlds of Ravel and Satie. Apart from a typical Enid/Elgarian march , much of the music on this track is very suave and languid indeed, and just before the end there's a quote from 'Something wicked this way comes'.

The last three tracks form a continuous whole. The first section, called 'The Change' is really just the first track on the album stripped of its keyboard orchestrations so all that's left is the bare rhythm part, which gets more and more elaborate as the track develops. The album ends with one of the most beautiful things Robert John Godfrey's ever written, 'The Flames of Power'. This is highly developed and rarefied music; completely orchestral in timber --Godfrey's expertise in creating orchestral timers and dynamics from electronic keyboards is still unsurpassed. The music inhabits the twilight world of Mahler's unfinished 10th symphony. Indeed, the main theme has been lifted from it. Not only does this track show Godfrey's deep understanding of Mahler's music, it also shows his understanding of advanced harmony. This track alone justifies buying the album.

Report this review (#25898)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Well there's no question Robert John Godfrey is an odd guy, and on this album he really stretches to come up with both a theme and a musical style befitting the times (and keeping in mind this released in the eighties). There seems to be little attempt to sound anything like any previous incarnation of the Enid on this record, Godfrey instead preferring to sound a bit like a cross between Bryan Ferry and the Psychedelic Furs' Richard Butler while crooning about the lust-filled thoughts of Christianity icon John the Baptist on the eve of his beheading. Got your head wrapped around that word picture?

I'm not sure what the heck Godfrey and Stephen Stewart were thinking, except that given the time period in which this was recorded progressive and symphonic rock were pretty much dead. Music on the airwaves consisted mostly of Robert Palmer's schmaltzy cock-soul and acts like Bananarama and Tiffany trying to pass off late sixties psych-pop covers as synthed-up dance numbers. So maybe he got caught up in the moment and, like Alan Parsons ('Vulture Culture', 'Stereotomy'), Jeff Lynne ('Balance of Power') and Manfred Mann ('Criminal Tango') decided to leverage his considerable keyboard skill to create almost completely synthesized, rather sterile music that might actually be palatable beyond their core audience.

Well on a technical scale this is decent music, but like everything else I just mentioned it lacks any real sort of creative fire and in the end is one of, if not the, most forgettable albums the Enid ever released.

The opening track is pretty much all synthesized music with insipidly repetitive lyrics "If I was the king of pleasure, you the queen of pain? your love is killing me...", I suspect meant more for shock than for artistic value. Any attention is good attention if you're an artist I suppose, but in this case I think Godfrey and Stewart could have taken a higher road.

"Sheets of Blue" features Stewart on guitar only after almost a third of the album has already unwound, really odd since he collaborated on the opening track but Godfrey wrote this one. And the song opens with promise, featuring a slow and mildly orchestral- sounding lead-in, but mid-stream Godfrey shifts back into Alan Parsons ultra-synthetic studio sheen mode with the rest of the song saved only by Stewart's very decent guitar work (which come to think of it Ian Bairnson did for Alan Parsons on his last few albums as well).

The closing "Dance Music" is separated into subtitled parts but is meant to be a single composition, and it's rather a jumbled mess of percussion, chanting and haphazard keyboard work until the "Flames of Power" part toward the end when Godfrey finally reverts back to the classically-inspired sound the Enid was known for. But really it's too late and too somber to save this album.

I love the Enid, but this is easily my least favorite album. The only real excuses are that both Godfrey and Stewart were spending an awful lot of time working on other projects, Godfrey was in ill health, and it was the latter eighties. I can't quite go to three stars this time, so two it is (out of five), and not particularly recommended, even to fans of the band.


Report this review (#303014)
Posted Saturday, October 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Shortly after the tour for the spiritually-themed double album "The Spell", Robert John Godfrey and Stephen Stewart returned to the studio once more to record The Enid's seventh album, "Salome". Like the several albums before it, "Salome" was a concept album based on the biblical tale of Salome, the temptress, and John the Baptist, a holy man. The release of the album led to astounding controversy and protest against the band. "We've managed to offend both feminists and the God squad" Godfrey doted at the time of the album's release. The controversy did little to ebb the support of the album and its subsequent tour, which included an ambitious ballet scored to the album, and was performed at the annual Hammersmith show that year to great success. If anything, the band was at its peak in popularity.

Despite the history of Salome and John the Baptist, "Salome" doesn't stray too far from its source material, essentially making the album a contemporary interpretation of the tryst between the lovers. The title track, sung by guitarist Stephen Stewart, gives a new-wavish feel to the band's usual sound ? oddly dominant in synthesizers, and lacking in guitars, which are replaced with light percussion and lush backing vocals ? a major departure from The Enid of past times. The track story-wise, is a lamentation by John towards the titular character proclaiming of how "your love is killing me" and how "you and I shall bow before the mystery of suffering". Salome is shown to have seduced John, and his reaction shows great despair over what could happen to him. "Sheets of Blue" and "Dance Music" showcase the duo's individual skill while telling the story of Salome. While the former is a guitar-oriented effort, an interlude of sorts to the story of Salome ? mostly written by Godfrey; the latter is a three-part epic depicting the imprisonment of John, his beheading, and the aftermath of his execution. The album doesn't fully explain just how John got into this fatal event, one must read the writing that this album is fully based on: the New Testament's interpretation of the dance Salome gave for her step-father King Herod. At this event, Herod promised Salome anything she wanted if she danced for him. Her mother, Herodias, convinced the girl to ask for John's head. The reason for this being that Herodias held great hatred for John ever since he stated that Herodias' marriage was unlawful. Now, the point where all that information is placed in the story that The Enid put to tape is unfortunately confusing. "Dance Music" showcases Godfrey's compositional skill yet again, showing efficiency on his array of keyboards and synthesizers. The final part, "Flames of Power" is a mournful, but romantic piece that goes up there with the other great Godfrey compositions such as "Chaldean Crossing" and "The Lovers" ? the use of Godfrey's falsetto range is put to the test, and adds an air of finality to the piece.

For all it did right, the album had quite a few flaws, mostly in its sound. It can be said the band took a steep right turn in sound, and took to "updating" their sound ? making the album sound dated and a capsule of the decade long gone. Another criticism is the track lengths. Containing only three tracks, all of which go over ten minutes in length, and contain some repetition that can be exhausting to some. "Salome" is a natural ? albeit, odd ? progression for the band known to stray from being labelled "progressive rock" exclusively.

Following the release of the album, the band went on tour ? some shows featuring the aforementioned ballet. Considered the band's most ambitious tour (up until the upcoming "The Bridge" tour in 2015) yet, the tour was a smash hit. Trouble, unfortunately was waiting to rear its face to greet Godfrey and Stewart yet again.

To be continued?

Report this review (#1132029)
Posted Saturday, February 15, 2014 | Review Permalink

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