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The Enid - Aerie Faerie Nonsense (1983) CD (album) cover


The Enid


Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 118 ratings

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3 stars From the title of this album and the write-ups it tends to get, one's expectations can be mixed... this reviewer's certainly were. Grand masterpiece or pompous nightmare? I was afraid, very afraid. Add to that a reissue with an apparently rearranged tracklist, two different versions of their 'Fand' opus, and a string of record company horror stories and bad luck I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. It was a bit much to digest all at once. Thankfully, the music is good. A pompous nightmare to be sure, but good.

After trying his hand as a classical pianist, Robert Godfrey was a Barclay James Harvester till 1971. While working on a theatrical production with guitarists Stephen Stewart and Francis Lickerish, they formed The Enid in '73 and began work on a concept album (ultimately rejected by Charisma) which, according to them, Steve Hackett later used for inspiration on his Voyage of the Acolyte. This went on to be released as their debut In the Region of the Summer Stars. After a rocky few years and several member changes they finally recorded this material, some of which originated before the first release. Godfrey's talents are clear if a bit Liberace-like and this stuff does go over the top more than once. On the other hand, I can see Keith Emerson brimming with envy upon hearing this, Wakeman too. 'A Hero's Life' is more romance than reality and 'Ondine' is rather pretty pastoral rock that echoes the butchered Beethoven themes in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. But 'Bridal Dance' can easily nauseate. Godfrey imitates the acoustic orchestration masterfully on his keys and this is no better heard than on centerpiece 'Fand' from 1985, a thirty minute syn-phonic voyage based on Parsifal's myth originally put to music by Wagner.

There is perhaps too much here, some of it highly successful but drowned in the size of this project. Eventually one begins to feel like they're ten years old at the symphony with their parents, squirming and constantly asking if it's over yet. Impressive but only partly listenable. Which part is up to you.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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