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THE ENID

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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The Enid biography
British group THE ENID were formed around the founder/keyboardist Robert John GODFREY (BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST) and his fellow founder-members, guitarists Stephen STEWART and Francis LICKERISH in 1974. Almost like a combination of classical and rock, the band combined vast orchestral movements, exclusively classical instrumentation, rigourous construction completely well-written and romantic rock music led by composer Robert John GODFREY. For the most part the albums have some orchestrated sound, all created using the standard guitars, basses, keyboards and drums. THE ENID are probably the TOP of the symphonic tradition.

"THE ORB MEETS PINK FLOYD MEETS THE BERLIN PHILARMONIC"

Time Out

The only band on the planet to have successfully fused rock based music with the power, dynamics and scale of symphonic classical music. They are the absolute masters of their art and their achievements over more than twenty years of creative work set them apart from everything else which calls itself progressive.

THE ENID - In the beginning Part I (1972 - 1980)
In 1969 Robert John GODFREY (RJG for short) became of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST (BJH) and it was he who developed the orchestra and co-wrote some of the music for which BJH are now so famous. He remained with BJH until 1971. At the end of 1972 he recorded a solo album on the Charisma label "The Fall of Hyperion" showed the musical foundations on which his future music with THE ENID would be built on. In 1974 he became friends with Steve STEWART and together with others they found the highly individual and now very respected rock band known as THE ENID.

They released their first album in 1976. "In the Region of the Summer Stars" is one of those epic symphonic progressive rock albums for the seventies that are a must for every serious collector of progressive rock. Two years later the group followed that release with "Aerie Faerie Nonsense". Fans of the "heavier" or jazzier side of progressive rock might find this album somewhat too classical. However for all those who love to hear majestic with broad classical ovetones, this album is a MUST. The group's third album was called "Touch Me" and was released in 1979. Once again there is the return of an amount of response between various rock and classical modalities, though the classical features are much more prominent. The last album in the first part of THE ENID's history, "Six Pieces" was released in 1980 with next to no promotion...
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In The Region Of The Summer StarsIn The Region Of The Summer Stars
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Operation Seraphim 2013
Audio CD$6.27
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SpellSpell
101 DISTRIBUTION 2008
Audio CD$12.83
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THE ENID shows & tickets


  • The Enid at Union Chapel, London on 31 Mar 2015
  • Progdreams IV on 4 Apr 2015
  • Progdreams IV on 4 Apr 2015
  • Night of the Prog X on 17 Jul 2015

THE ENID discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE ENID top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 31 ratings
Fall Of Hyperion - Robert John Godfrey
1974
4.15 | 174 ratings
In the Region Of The Summer Stars
1976
3.60 | 89 ratings
Aerie Faerie Nonsense
1977
3.59 | 58 ratings
Touch Me
1979
3.84 | 48 ratings
Six Pieces
1980
3.62 | 31 ratings
Something Wicked This Way Comes
1983
3.26 | 32 ratings
The Spell
1985
3.09 | 23 ratings
Salome
1986
3.44 | 25 ratings
The Seed And The Sower
1988
3.80 | 27 ratings
Tripping The Light Fantastic
1994
3.95 | 14 ratings
Sundialer
1995
3.89 | 40 ratings
White Goddess
1998
3.85 | 24 ratings
Tears Of The Sun
1999
3.85 | 18 ratings
Arise and Shine
2009
3.64 | 28 ratings
Journey's End
2010
3.78 | 27 ratings
Risen
2011
3.28 | 13 ratings
Shining
2012
4.03 | 117 ratings
Invicta
2012
3.60 | 15 ratings
First Light
2014

THE ENID Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 18 ratings
The Enid - Live At Hammersmith (Volumes I & II)
1983
3.80 | 10 ratings
The Stand (1984)
1984
3.14 | 5 ratings
Liverpool Live
1986
3.32 | 12 ratings
Final Noise
1989
4.38 | 8 ratings
Live at Town Hall, Birmingham
2011
4.07 | 8 ratings
Live with The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & The Warickshire County Youth Choirs
2012

THE ENID Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.33 | 6 ratings
Something Wicked This Way Comes
2004
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live at Hammersmith Odeon
2009
4.08 | 5 ratings
Live at Town Hall, Birmingham
2010
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Enid en Concert Crescendo
2014

THE ENID Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 5 ratings
The Stand (1985)
1985
3.75 | 4 ratings
Lovers And Fools
1986
3.60 | 5 ratings
Anarchy On 45 (Complete Singles Collection)
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Healing Hearts
1996
3.00 | 2 ratings
An Alternative History Volume 1
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
An Alternative History Volume 2
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
An Alternative History Volume 3
1998
2.67 | 3 ratings
Sheets Of Blue. An Anthology 1975 - 2004
2006

THE ENID Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 4 ratings
Fand
1985
3.67 | 3 ratings
Members One of Another
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at King George's Hall Blackburn 2010
2011

THE ENID Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Final Noise  by ENID, THE album cover Live, 1989
3.32 | 12 ratings

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Final Noise
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album is a collection of highlights from a couple of sold out shows that were recorded in the London Dominion Theatre. It was released in 1989 and was to be the final concert of the partnership between Robert Godfrey (originally from Barclay James Harvest) and Stephen Stewart. There is quite a variety of symphonic music here and most of it is instrumental with a lot of flourish, but there are some vocal passages on here, which have a dramatic feel to them, more like from a play than from an opera. The music itself is a rock/classical fusion, but the classical elements are from the Romantic era specifically, so it is very emotional and dynamic.

There are a mix of symphonic and rock instruments, but the music tends to lean heavily towards the symphonic side of things. That is where it is consistently different from most classical fusion music, typically the sound in symphonic prog leans toward the rock sound. As such, it is a nice original sound, but it is accessible and easy to listen to. At times, it tends to sound dated, especially when the synths are heavy. The music is beautiful and does venture into some heavier guitar sounds a few times, but, is mostly orchestral sounding.

I have hear a few live albums by The Enid, and both times I have the complaint that they are not mixed very well in the softer passages and it can be hard to pick out a melody or theme thus making the songs sound under-developed. From the sound of the audience, especially at the end of the album, the performance is quite satisfying and it makes one wish they could see the concert. I would imagine it is quite a show. The mix doesn't suffer quite as badly as it does on "Live at the Hammersmith" and so it is better on this album. But there still are places that you wish you could hear the sounds clearer.

There are some places where the music just takes too long to develop also, and the music just kind of meanders along like on "Sheets of Blue" and "Chaldean Crossing". But other tracks are quite well done and exciting like "Jerusalem", "Childe Roland" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes". The inconsistency of the tracks and the music weakens the album. I don't know if that is always an issue with The Enid or not since I have only heard a few of their albums, but knowing that there are some good tracks here makes me want to explore their music some more. It is rather hard to find it though, so when I run across an album like this one, I have to take what I can get. Until then, I have to average this one out to a 3 star because half of the tracks are great and half are not.

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 Six Pieces by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.84 | 48 ratings

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Six Pieces
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Despite the problems with their label, The Enid were in a creative mood at the end of the 70's and less than a year after the release of ''Touch me'' they reentered their studio to work on a new album.''Six pieces'' was recorded between August and September 1979, Terry Pack was no more among the members (although he occasionally helped the Enid as a session member) and he was replaced by Martin Russell.Now, there is an interesting rumour that the front cover, with the six members on a chess, was refering to the PYE label and the fact they were used as pawns than a proper signing.Anyway the album was released eventually in 1980.

The opening ''The punch and judy man'' was a huge suprise, it's quite complex keyboard-driven Symphonic Rock with many similarities to the sound of GENESIS with all these Moog synth effects and solos and the propelled rhythm section, althought the Classical and cinematic atmospheres are still present, but much more pronounced on the ethereal follower ''Once she was...''.''The Ringmaster'' finds The Enid in their familiar style of fairytale Symphonic/Classical Rock with the powerful orchestrations showered by the guitars of Steve Stewart and Francis Lickerish, I especially like the naughty flute parts and the interplays with the guitar and keyboards.''Sanctus'' is again closer to cinematic Classical Music, featuring some brilliant atmospheres based on the synth parts and the discreet electric guitars, but as with many of The Enid's offerings, this comes more into music arranged for orchestra than a Rock band.More of the same with ''The hall of mirrors'', excellent music for a Soundtrack and a guiding light for Classical Rock lovers, but somewhat losing the true progressive spirit.The 9-min. ''The dreamer'' is the longest track on the album.Half of the track is dedicated to a soft atmosphere exhibited on piano and light electric soloing, before turning into more bombastic orchestral music towards a grand finale, again this is contemporary Classical Music with minor rock elements than the fascinating Prog/Symphonic Rock The Enid played in their previous releases.

I am impressed by the extremely high artistic value of the album, we are talking about 1980 here, and the band still insists on creating technically flawless cinematic music.The rockin' vibes are somewhat reduced, but the bombastic atmosphere of the album will please fans of majestic, symphonic arrangements.Recommended.

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 Live at Town Hall, Birmingham by ENID, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2010
4.08 | 5 ratings

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Live at Town Hall, Birmingham
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There are some things that should need no introduction, such as Robert John Godfrey and his band the Enid. The fact that their fans paid for the filming and production of their new DVD, Live at Town Hall, Birmingham, says it all. Although they have been producing opuses where classical meets progressive rock since the 70's, this live performance shows no signs of weariness or slowing down. The Enid produce a stellar performance with Live at Town Hall, Birmingham.

Basically, what we get is an amazing journey in 2 parts. The first half of the concert is most of The Enid's latest album, Journey's End. Whether you're in it for the classic rock or an epic orchestral feast, this one's got both. I will tell you right now that "Malacandra" will absolutely knock your socks off. It's got everything from classical and film-score-ish-Elfman-Batman- esque (is that an adjective or what?) to huge vocal harmonies to will absolutely make you grin from ear to ear. They close this part off with the second to last track, "Shiva," an uplifting epic that takes you through several twists and turns and ultimately leaves you feeling great. I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed when Robert Godrey lets the audience know that they would hear the final piece of the album on their way out of the venue that night. I wanted it right then and there in my living room. Oh well.

Please allow me to briefly comment on the very intimate and personal feel of the concert, due to band taking advantage of a number of moments to talk about songs and band history. They are very interesting people to listen to, something that I had previously realized from hearing Mr. Godfrey talk about composing the piece "Fool" from Region of the Summer Stars. Furthermore, the speaking parts lend the show an almost sort of a "reunion" feel, due to the inclusion of former band members during the second half of the set. At any rate, nostalgia never leads to tears of boredom, as the discussion and insights into the band's history and compositions adds great depth to the performance.

Just as the first half of the set was truly enjoyable, the second half did not leave me disappointed. I was most pleased to see the inclusion and phenomenal execution of "Judgement," the song that converted me to the Enid. There are a number of pleasant surprises during the second half of the show, including the participation of the Chandos Symphony Orchestra (which makes the Enid's already large sound go from gargantuan to colossal), Francis Lickerish's performance of "Childe Roland" and "Ondine" (lute!!!), and a divinely sensible solo of melancholy and joy by Mr. Godfrey himself, playing (you guessed it) "The Lovers."

Just so that I don't go on for too long, this concert and its accompanying interviews produce high levels of satisfaction. As Robert John Godfrey states in his interview, there were some people that wanted something radical and different but didn't want punk. I am glad that he gave us the Enid.

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 Sundialer  by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.95 | 14 ratings

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Sundialer
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by FXM

4 stars Sundialer is a bit of an oddity in The Enid's catalogue. It contains five tracks, four of there are reworkings/remixes of previous compositions, only the title track is a new piece. They have introduced a dance/electronic element to the music. When it was released in 2005 there was a mixed reaction from Enid fans and it is commonly regarded as one of their weaker works. However, I quite like it and it remains one of my favourite Enid albums.

Sundialer the title track and the only new composition starts off as a typical classical sounding Enid track then evolves into a more modern sounding piece with a dance beat - Enid music you almost could dance to if so inclined!!!! Although interspersed with some bursts of lead guitar and more classical passages.

Track two is Chaldean Crossing originally appeared on The Seed and The Sower from 1988. A nice mellow track.

This is followed by Dark Hydraulic one of my all time favourite Enid tracks. This was original on their previous album Tripping the Light Fantastic from 1994 (another superb album) I saw them play this live last year and they performed a blistering version of it - it was outstanding. The version on this album is a bit more subdued again with a bit of a dance beat but nevertheless it is a fine piece of music.

Track 4 is Ultra Violet Cat which was also from Tripping the Light Fantastic. This is a more of an electronic composition and is a mellow dreamy piece.

The final track is Salome 95 from of course the 1986 album Salome. This has some vocals but more as a sound effect than as song based lyrics and again has the dance beat in the background. Some may find this off-putting if they know the original well but it gives the track a different feel.

Overall it quite a relaxing mellow album.

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 Salome by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.09 | 23 ratings

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Salome
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Sheets of Blue

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?

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 Something Wicked This Way Comes  by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.62 | 31 ratings

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Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Sheets of Blue

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?

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 Six Pieces by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.84 | 48 ratings

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Six Pieces
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Sheets of Blue

4 stars Less than a year after the release of Touch Me, The Enid were once again in the studio, recording their fourth album, Six Pieces. In fact recordings took place with the band knowing that they would not have any financial backing from the label to promote the album, this become the band's first self-funded album. This would become the standard for the band, and still is to this day. Furthermore, the album was a departure from the lengthy pieces, with short, independent works taking its place. Once again, The Enid put forth a concept album (loosely speaking), this time about the band members themselves.

Opening the album is Punch and Judy Man, a schizoid piece of music, features the band at their rockiest, and is as close as the band would come to being actual progressive rock. A notable feature is the odd prominence of drums, supplied by newcomer Robbie Dobson. Once She Was, the band's interpretation of Scarborough Fayre (a traditional Yorkshire ballad), is marred by bland synthesizers, though it manages to pick up in the second half of the track. The Ring Master, while playful in melody, plods along for six minutes. The circus- themed track simply fails in capturing the interest of the listener, something rare for The Enid.

Sanctus, a religiously themed piece, has a heavy Vangelis influence to it, rather than the usual classical inspiration that is commonplace on The Enid's albums. Hall of Mirrors, the climatic piece of the album, hints at the use of an orchestra, though the piece is dominated by lush guitar work. The Dreamer, opens with layered effects akin to Albion Fair, though it is more percussive this time around. The main theme however, is what the title suggests, with everything moving at a languid and mellow pace. Nowhere to be found is the heavy percussion and the clashing of instruments, but only the marriage of the solemn keyboards and mournful guitars. It is the apex of not only the album, but of the original incarnation of The Enid.

As it was during the recording of Touch Me, Six Pieces was a rushed recording, even more than it was last time. It would be the last album the band would record for Pye Records, as they'd be dropped soon after the release of Six Pieces. Not long after that, guitarist Francis Lickerish would unsuccessfully try to take artistic control of the band. This would result in his departure, taking keyboardist William Gilmour with him in the process. For the time being, the loss of two vital band members would signal the end of The Enid.

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 Touch Me by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.59 | 58 ratings

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Touch Me
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Sheets of Blue

4 stars With ever-growing fame in their homeland, The Enid was gathering quite the fanbase since the cult hits In The Region of the Summer Stars, and Aerie Faerie Nonsense. The Enid's growing popularity would gain them a spot on the roster of Pye Records, being one of the most expensive signings by the label. The band was even promised to have its own studio to work in. But financial problems would cripple the label, and was taken over by new management, rushing the band to record a new album. Over two months in 1978, Touch Me was recorded, and was released the following year.

Touch Me, another ambitious album by the band, consisted of two side-long suites, the first being the 22-minute long Charades, cut into four movements. Among the suite were intensive preludes, orchestral interludes, and well done melodic instrumentation. Immediately, the medieval influence heard on Aerie Faerie Nonsense returns once more on Humouresque, the first movement. Cortege, a funeral march, picks up the oboe melody hinted at in the previous movement, added with Renaissance-like drumming. Elegy, a more laid back piece, is more of a solo piece akin to The Lovers from the debut album. Gallavant, the final movement, brings back the upbeat feel of Humouresque, with a dramatic twist added in for good measure. The theme seems to be taken from Bruckner, though the arrangements are as lush one can imagine an Enid arrangement could be.

Albion Fair, a single 16 minute long piece takes up the entire second half of the album. The first part of the suite shows a rather different aspect to The Enid, with the usual lush orchestrations being ditched for a series of soundscapes and overdubs, giving the music a psychedelic touch. Comparisons to Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh can be made here rather than classical composers such as Mahler or Bartok. The second part is by far the most complex of the musical arrangements that one finds on the album, if not throughout the band's history. Once again we get the polyphonic classical structures as rock band and classical orchestra clash together, at times bonded by the same theme. However one of the main features of this track is the variety of moods that it is able to convey.

Touch Me, a rushed affair by The Enid, managed to expand upon the themes displayed on its predecessors. However, the fact it was recorded in only two months and in their own home studio showed an obvious drop in quality compared to the albums before it. Problems with the sound quality, as well as the two suites being a tad bit too ambitious put a crutch on the album in general. In the situation the band was in, they put in a respectable effort. The tour for the album would do it justice though; similar to Genesis' And Then There Were Three. Unfortunately, the aforementioned financial problems would cause further problems for The Enid. And even touring wouldn't get them out of the inevitable.

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 Aerie Faerie Nonsense by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.60 | 89 ratings

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Aerie Faerie Nonsense
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Sheets of Blue

5 stars A year after In the Region of the Summer Stars, came what was considered by critics and fans alike to be the group's masterpiece. Enter Aerie Faerie Nonsense. Ever-growing in popularity, The Enid stunned many with another concept album, this time based on the medieval legend of Roland, and his quests across Europe, as well as the Irish myth of Fand, a sea goddess known to be Queen of the Fairies; she also the inspiration for the well-liked cover art as well.

Opening with Mayday Galliard, a fanfare heralds the commencement of the album, before heading off into an elegantly uplifting theme, with Godfrey's keys leading the band as if he were a maestro, with a cluster of instruments being the orchestra, playing the joyful and rather playful piece. Ondine, a more acoustic piece, moves away from the brass arrangements, with soft strings and light wood sections coming in, giving a medieval touch to it. Childe Roland, comes crashing in with music well suited for a prelude to a battle, with the accentuation of the guitars and percussion and the stupendous string section, making for one of the band's more energetic tracks.

The sixteen-minute, side-long epic, Fand, is based on Sir Arnold Bax's The Garden of Fand, a symphonic poem. Fand tells the tale of Fand and her lover, Cuchulainn. This love, however, is short-lived, when Emer grows jealous and attacks the couple. Fand sees that Emer is worthy of Cuchulainn, and upset by their affair, so Fand chooses to leave him, never to meet Cuchulainn again.

The track, separated into two movements, reflects well on the myth, with the first movement portraying the meeting of the lovers and the growing jealousy of Emer, chockfull of romantic strings and the latter movement depicting the separation of the couple, giving a melodramatic finale to the suite, and the album as well.

Aerie Faerie Nonsense gives the listener what they want with a twist: progressive music with heavy classical overtones, from the grand Mayday Galliard, to the epic Fand. The Enid not only managed to dish out another classical masterpiece, but also made it about as good, if not better, than In the Region of the Summer Stars. Unfortunately, just as good times came to The Enid, something horrible arose, throwing the band into financial despair.

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 In the Region Of The Summer Stars by ENID, THE album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.15 | 174 ratings

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In the Region Of The Summer Stars
The Enid Symphonic Prog

Review by Sheets of Blue

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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